Pharma Logistics Masterclass for Pharma Industry and Academics held in Antwerp, Belgium Concluded with Great Success
Pharma Logistics Masterclass for Pharma Industry and
Academics held in Antwerp, Belgium Concluded with Great
Between 7 to 11 September 2021, 75 business executives and academics gathered in
the historic building of the University of Antwerp (physically and virtually) for a five-day
intensive Masterclass on pharma supply chain.
A joint initiative by Pharma.Aero, University of Antwerp and the Metrans
Transportation Consortium, the Pharma Logistics Masterclass consisted of a series of
presentations, debates, practical workshops and site visits, highlighting and addressing
current challenges of pharma logistics and supply chains.
Professor Dr. Roel Gevaers, Co-chair of the Masterclass commented: "The inaugural
Pharma Logistics Masterclass covered several current critical aspects of pharma logistics.
It created an excellent opportunity for seasoned business professionals to gain more indepth
knowledge and for academics to obtain advanced insights into how pharma supply
chains are organized in practice.”
Frank Van Gelder, Co-chair of the Masterclass and Secretary-General of Pharma.Aero
added: "The unique knowledge-sharing and networking between business professionals
and academics during the Masterclass had built a bridge between the two communities in
the pharma logistics area. From the industry’s perspectives, the participants learned what
and how scientific methods could be applied to optimise logistics processes for the pharma
and life sciences sector. The participants also had an insightful crash course on vaccinology
and the importance of just-in-time and reliable supply chains, from raw materials to the
final products delivery."
The Masterclass concluded with nine strategic takeaways:
1. The pharma logistics market will continue to grow horizontally and vertically at
an accelerated pace. Not only would the market expands alongside with population
and disposable income, but also broadens with the next generation pharma such
as the Advanced Therapy Medicial Product (ATMP).
2. "PIL1 becomes VAL2'! Pharma goods are increasingly becoming valuable, which
require special security handling protocols, in addition to full trace-and-track
capabilities. The supply chain requirements of COVID-19 vaccines and an increasing
number of high-value pharmaceuticals in the market could already attest to this.
3. The pharma supply chain needs to become more sustainable. The pharma industry is paying more attention to sustainability throughout the supply chain, giving
pressure to the logistics industry to make more efforts to cater for this demand.
4. Air vs ocean freight. While pharma traditionally has a larger share of air transport
in terms of value, it was observed that the maritime industry is also stepping up
their offerings for the pharma industry.
5. Effectiveness is often more important than efficiency. Supply chains often focus
on cost efficiency. However, reliability, transparency, sustainability and security are
also critical parameters for pharma logistics.
6. Changes in business models (B2B to B2B2C) create last-mile challenges. Pharma
distribution models are changing rapidly with e-commerce distribution platforms
disrupting the classic distribution model. Pharma logistics companies need to adapt
to this fast-evolving environment.
7. COVID-19 is not the last disruptive event. While COVID-19 presents pronounced
logistics challenges, the Masterclass revealed the importance of collaboration and
building resilience in the pharma supply chain. The lessons learned during this
period should be integrated into future supply chains for better preparedness for
other major events in the following decades.
8. Big Data and new technologies will make significant inroads into Supply Chain
Management. Artificial intelligence and advanced analytics would steer future
decision-making in a blink of an eye. Such applications will become integral in the
9. Lastly, there is a need for increased coordination and collaboration between all
players in the supply chain. Participants of the Masterclass unanimously concluded
that there is a need for enhanced collaboration and exchange of information to
upgrade current supply chain to the next level.
The above key insights generated from the Masterclass demonstrated the need for
enhanced and continued knowledge-sharing between academics and the industry.
Following the success of the first Pharma Logistics Masterclass, the organizing committee
has decided to hold a second edition from 5-9 September 2022. The key transversal themes
of the second edition will be based on the main issues raised at the first Masterclass:
Sustainability, Big Data, Crisis management and Disruptive Technologies.
For more information, contact:
- Frank Van Gelder, SecGen@pharma.aero, +32 477 95 05 21
1 PIL is the IATA code for ‘Pharmaceutical cargo’
2 VAL is the IATA code for ‘Valuable cargo’
- PW Editor