Making the Switch: Changing from active to hybrid shipment solution with SkyCell – A Success Story

SkyCell won one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies as a client. Offering a broad range of temperature-sensitive drugs and vaccines, their products need particularly safe and reliable protection against temperature excursions.
The challenge: reduce total cost, decrease temperature excursions and reduce CO2 emissions.

In need for a new solution
As the demand for vaccines is growing all around the world, the pharma company was struggling with the increasing complexity of its cold chain transport and therefore decided to break new ground with regards to quality and sustainability.
Within only 9 months, SkyCell and its client managed to implement SkyCell container solutions into their global vaccines supply chain. As one of their cold chain experts put it “This was the fastest solution change that our company ever implemented”. 

Onboarding all stakeholders
When introducing a new solution, it’s important to first think about the people affected by the change and to get everyone on board. As part of a kick-off meeting, SkyCell introduced its container solutions to the whole team involved and gave them the possibility to feasibly see and test their containers.

1639A_Carla_Venuti_SkyCell_cBBF2018_PR6052_K1We really allowed the client to become familiar with the equipment”, said Chiara Venuti, Business Development Director at SkyCell. There was tremendous skepticism on the side of the client, as they have had their share of bad experiences and broken promises in the industry. Thus, the clients handling team conducted loading tests and learned how to take advantage of the new technology and loading the container in the most efficient way.

User-friendly technology
One of the biggest challenges when introducing a new packaging solution is to get employees used to the new system and the new processes. With this challenge in mind, SkyCell created an easy to handle container solution that is failsafe and doesn’t require any manual intervention. All parts are fixed and the container is delivered preconditioned and ready to use. All they need to do is open, load, close and ship it. This enables all involved persons to perform daily tasks simpler, safer and faster.

Improve process efficiency
Efficient processes are the be-all and end-all in every supply chain. SkyCell’s dedicated customer integration team worked with the customer to analyze and redesign all container-related processes. This involved time-frames, responsibilities and the container flow. As a result, the pharma company was able to realize considerable cost and time savings.

State-of-the-art technology
Cutting-edge software, such as the SkyCell Transport Planner (SCTP), enabled the client to take a risk-based approach and simulate shipments to high-risk routes before conducting an actual test shipment. Furthermore, all containers are equipped with IoT sensors, which measure the internal and ambient temperature of the container and are connected to the data cloud.
First shipments of SkyCell containers were shipped to Singapore, Australia, USA and Brazil, covering different climate zones as well as different levels of the infrastructure. After the successful test shipments, SkyCell containers were integrated into the day-to-day operations of five lanes with a gradual roll-out planned for the upcoming months.


We were extremely surprised by the data, showing that SkyCell containers absolutely exceeded our expectations, said the client’s quality manager. SkyCell met all previously agreed upon KPIs with tailwind. The protection given by the SkyCell containers to the vaccines also gave the client the peace of mind and the possibility to consider different airfreight routes without fear of the tarmac time.  In addition, the partnership with SkyCell helps to achieve the client’s sustainability goals by reducing CO2 emission by up to 50% per container shipment, resulting in a more sustainable and efficient supply chain.

Shipment of the month: Safe delivery of $2 million worth of vaccines to Argentina

As part of the global rollout, 16x 2500C containers were shipped from Rome to Buenos Aires in January. The temperature-sensitive meningococcal vaccines were airlifted from the moderate Winter temperatures in Italy with 10°C to the Argentinian summer with its relatively warm weather between 25 to 30°C.


Take a look at the SkyCell Temperature Tracking System: the temperature inside the container stays at a constant 5°C (blue line) meanwhile the ambient temperature (red line) varies between +2° and +28°C. The appropriate storage and proper preparation of the customs documents enabled accelerated processes thanks to the selected SkyCell local partner. Consequently the delivery was carried out within 8 days instead of the previous 24 days, which saved more than US$70’000.

The triple bottom line:[1]

  • Vaccines worth $2 million shipped safely for vaccination
  • More than $70’000 total cost savings
  • CO2 savings of 50% compared to previous solution

SkyCell_Airport_SoftwareSkyCell in the News

“SkyCell has developed passive containers that outperform active containers in duration on every lane. .” Read the entire STAT Times article on how innovation drives pharma air cargo growth here.

SNAG-10245Upcoming events

Cold Chain Global Forum Canada, 24th – 26th February, Toronto
Bio Logistics World Asia, 26th – 28th February, Singapore
Temperature Controlled Logistics in Biopharma, 13th & 14th March, Milan
HPCLC, 25th – 27th March, Philadelphia
LogiPharma, 9th – 11th April, Montreux