Bengaluru airport cargo wing introduces new cold chain facility

Bangalore International Airport Ltd, which manages Kempegowda International Airport, Bengaluru (BLR Airport), has started functions of cold chain dedicated services centre, Coolport, in the airport, premises. BIAL has partnered with its cargo custodians, Air India SATS Airport Services Private Limited (AISATS) and Menzies Aviation Bobba Bangalore Private Limited (MABB).

According to a press release issued by BIAL, pharma exports accounts for more than seven per cent of total exports from BLR, of which two per cent is temperature controlled pharmaceutical. Also, pharma exports have been growing at a steady growth of 25 per cent.

Kempegowda International Airport, Bengaluru is also the first airport in South India to house a fully operational Drug Control Lab, which incidentally is only the second and the largest such facility in the country. Testing of all export and import of pharmaceuticals that is required by customs, is therefore done at the airport itself. Coolport has also been awarded the Group Distribution Practices Certification for WHO mandated standards. It has the capacity to handle 50,000 MT pa.

“From an IATA perspective, cold chain pharma is expected to be worth around $415 billion annually. According to them, 20 per cent to 25 per cent of products shipped are degraded due to incorrect shipping process and flawed cold chain. The biggest value-add we provide our customers at Kempegowda International Airport, Bengaluru is that there is no temperature deviation in our Coolport facility. This essentially means that the required temperature for certain pharmaceutical vaccines and medicines is maintained not only in storage, but also in the pre-loading area, right up to the time the cargo is loaded onto the aircraft. Of late, we have had exporters from the pharmaceutical industry in Goa and Vishakapatnam use our facilities, besides several other places from South India. We are seeing a growth on the biotech front. Though the volumes are small, that segment is seeing a steady growth rate,” said Satyaki Raghunath, Chief Strategy and Development Officer, BIAL.

Our Drug Control Lab is now fully operational and our clients need not go to a city laboratory for the testing required by customs. This has enabled shippers considerable savings in transportation cost and time. Historically, raw material used to be imported to Mumbai and then ferried by road to Bengaluru. We are witnessing a 100 percent growth in import volumes with cargo now being sent directly to Bengaluru as it saves importers a huge amount of transaction cost,” he added.