Discover how Maersk's proactive cold chain solutions helped a leading pharmaceutical company reduce dependence on air transport and lower GHG emissions in their cargo journey.

The customer: A pioneer in the sustainability shift

As governments worldwide tighten regulations on ESG standards, the pharmaceutical industry is swiftly reimagining its value chain for sustainability. Leading pharma and life sciences firms are not just ticking boxes for compliance; they're embracing sustainability as a core value, benefiting patients and the planet. Among them is our customer, a leading global pharmaceutical company focused on developing and supplying innovative medicines and vaccines worldwide. Committed to the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTI), they're on a mission to achieve net-zero emissions by 2040, aligning with the ambitious goals of the Paris Agreement. Their strategic roadmap includes targeted efforts to slash greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions throughout their value chain (Scope 3), driving transformative change at every level of their operations.

getting sustainable logistics solutions on time

The challenge: Getting sustainable logistics solutions on time

In an era where quality healthcare is paramount, especially with an aging global population, the pharmaceutical sector faces intense global competition. The demand for high-value pharma services to uphold a seamless cold chain has never been greater. Traditionally reliant on intermediaries, pharmaceutical freight predominantly relies on air transportation. However, with sustainability in sharp focus, organisations are compelled to explore low GHG emission alternatives.

The urgency shift towards lower emission GHG transportation modes is underscored by our customer's ambitious net-zero ambitions. According to Global Logistics Emissions Council (GLEC), emissions intensity varies significantly across different transport modes, but reducing air transport emissions emerges as a pivotal decarbonisation strategy. This suggested a shift in logistics strategy – from air freight to the lower emission lanes of ocean transportation.
A proactive approach to sustainability

The solution: A proactive approach to sustainability

To meet the customer’s challenges, Maersk set up groundbreaking Pharma Cold Chain Management (PCCM) solution. This comprehensive offering not only manages full booking intricacies but also meets all Good Distribution Practice (GDP) standards with ease. Through a dedicated team stationed at both origin and destination, alongside a vigilant 24/7 control tower, Maersk ensured seamless real-time monitoring and swift intervention in the rare event of a cold container malfunction during the journey.

Employing proficient corrective and preventive action (CAPA) management alongside rigorous onboarding audits, Maersk was able to offer unwavering confidence in product quality protection. Through our cold chain visibility platform, Captain Peter, the client had full visibility into container conditions, while data seamlessly integrates with their systems via an application programming interface (API).

Our unwavering commitment to quality, coupled with transparent GHG calculation methods, persuaded the customer to transition freight from air transport to ocean. To further slash emissions, the customer also chose Maersk ECO Delivery for their ocean-based freight with Maersk. ECO Delivery Ocean offers lower GHG emissions shipping based on biofuels, enabling immediate and externally verified GHG savings for customers.

Driving savings and more decarbonised logistics

The result: Driving savings and more decarbonised logistics

Switching from air to sea freight has not just lowered costs dramatically, but it's also made a significant cut in the customer’s greenhouse gas footprint. Despite air freight offering a better speed to market, the customer is boldly aiming for a 50% ocean freight share by 2025. Maersk handles roughly 70% of their ocean freight, with all shipments routed through ECO Delivery Ocean since mid-2023, underscoring both parties’ commitment to sustainability.

We are very pleased that leading pharmaceutical companies see the benefits in converting from air to sea. Our P-CCM solution and ECO Delivery Ocean Product can help the industry reduce cost, but more importantly significantly reduce their Scope 3 emissions while still safeguarding product integrity and adhering to all quality standards.

Gaetan Van Exem
Head of Pharma & Healthcare Vertical, A.P. Moller - Maersk

We are very satisfied with the services. Container bookings are now always confirmed very quickly, and Maersk is always ready to support. We know that there is a team of people in the background making all this happen and we would like to let you know that we really appreciate your efforts. Thank you for making our shipment arrive to the patients efficiently and timely.

The Global Logistics Operations Manager for the customer
Through the adoption of ECO Delivery Ocean, the customer has saved* 4,578 metric tons of CO2 equivalent emissions compared to traditional fossil ocean fuels. To put this into perspective, it's equal to taking more than 1,000 gasoline-powered passenger vehicles off the road for an entire year, as per the Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies Calculator provided by the US Environment Protection Agency (EPA). The savings stemming from the shift from convention fuel ocean freight to ECO Delivery Ocean freight are in addition to the already significant reductions achieved through the shift from air to sea transport.

Discover a more sustainable way to move your cargo.


*Emissions savings calculated on the basis of the volume (FFEs) moved on ECO Delivery Ocean product, instead of conventional HFO,
 presented on a Well-to-Wake (WTW) basis.

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