The Swiss logistics company Panalpina is introducing new technology to better monitor temperature-controlled air freight.
Panalpina says one-fifth of the air cargo moved on some routes within its own controlled air freight network, for example its Luxembourg-Huntsville, Ala. route, is temperature-sensitive.
Most of that cargo is health care-related, though the company said temperature-controlled cargo can include chemicals, dangerous and hazardous substances, semiconductor wafers and even printing machines and test or prototype automobiles.
If desired, each temperature-controlled shipment is equipped with radio-frequency identification (RFID) sensors, from the moment of pickup to final delivery if desired so cargo temperature can be monitored not only in the air, but at transit warehouses and while being transported by road.
Temperature is recorded every 15 minutes, and in case of temperature deviations, Panalpina can intervene to fix the problem. Other parameters such as relative humidity, shock, light exposure, air pressure and location can also be recorded.
Panalpina is extending its cool chain network with SmartView, a Web application provided by Antaris, which it says provides “seamless monitoring, control and documentation.” The company has made 3,000 shipments using SmartView. The data will be made available to customers via Panalpina’s own computer system.
Panalpina first introduced the SmartView technology at its air freight hub in Luxembourg in November 2009 and has added six other airports.
Panalpina has wet-leased two new Boeing 747-8 freighters to help build a global cool-chain network. It has dubbed these “cool planes” and says they can maintain cargo at different temperature ranges at the same time, for example, cold-chain cargo at 2 to 8 degrees Celsius and controlled room temperature cargo at 15 to 25 degrees Celsius.
Under its “PanCool” initiative, which began in 2009, Panalpina plans to increase visibility of both temperature sensitive and other sensitive cargo. While the program is focused on Panalpina’s own contolled air freight network, the firm said it will gradually be expanded to commercial air and ocean freight and other logistics services.
“In the near future, our customers will be able to access this information directly via our track and trace tool ‘PanTrace’ This way, our customers get live end-to-end visibility for their temperature-controlled shipments – anytime, anywhere,” said Matthias Frey, who heads Panalpina’s own controlled air freight network. - Chris Dupin