Ask the expert – Thermo King

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Thermo King

ITM catches up with Muge Suner, Pharma Key-Strategic Accounts Manager, Thermo King EMEA to discuss Thermo King’s cold chain solutions and the vaccine roll out muge suner

Of course, the scale, criticality and urgency underpinning the global Covid-19 vaccine roll out presents a unique challenge.

Maintaining the cold chain requires precise temperature-control, tracking technology and redundancies for added protection.

We offer active temperature control, as well as telematics and data monitoring needed to guarantee integrity of different variants of the vaccine. 

Thermo King is a worldwide leader in sustainable transport temperature control solutions. Thermo King has been providing transport temperature control solutions for a variety of applications, including trailers, truck bodies, buses, air, shipboard containers, and railway cars since 1938. Since inventing transport temperature control 80 years ago, Thermo King has continued innovating and remains a world leader in the industry. They are dedicated to improving the quality of life. Most noticeably recently, Thermo King have been integral to the global distribution and rollout of the Covid-19 vaccine during one the 21st Century’s biggest global pandemic in history. 

International Trade Magazine Editor, Rebecca Spayne catches up with Muge Suner, Pharma Key-Strategic Accounts Manager from Thermo King EMEA to find out the challenges and intricacies of temperature-controlled transportation of goods.  

How has the cold chain industry tackled the challenge of the vaccine rollout? 

Of course, the scale, criticality and urgency underpinning the global Covid-19 vaccine roll out presents a unique challenge. The pandemic has brought many new challenges together with demanding requirements to the cold chain logistics industry such as: 

  • Ultra-Low Temperatures required for storage and transport of the MRNA vaccines   
  • Importance of Last Mile Delivery. Getting medication to patients safely by shipping directly to vaccination centers, pharmacies, and patients’ homes, while ensuring that products are being delivered at the right time and maintaining the right temperature   
  • Increased demand on dry ice. 
  • Increased demand on Road Transportation in the European Union.  Due to the fact that the COVID-19 vaccines have required a specific range of temperatures for storage and transport, together with the demand on dry ice applications, limited capacity in air cargo, end-to-end visibility requirements, across the European Union, almost 90% of COVID-19 vaccines are delivered by road freight. 

Still, supporting dynamic rollouts and delivering confidence in the integrity of each vaccine are the primary goals. Regardless of a vaccine’s required temperature, pharmaceutical companies must rely on partners that can offer the end-to-end solutions to ensure it arrives safely at inoculation sites – traveling  across all modes of cold chain transport (air, ocean and road), and storage set points (distribution centers, research labs, clinics and more) along the way.  

Maintaining the cold chain requires precise temperature-control, tracking technology and redundancies for added protection. Each point in the cold chain presents risk, and it is the mission of us all to reduce that risk as much as possible. 

What are Thermo King doing to ensure safe transportation of the vaccine globally? 

The ability to demonstrate how each shipment – from production to patient – is managed with precise temperature controls is crucial. A precision that needs to be maintained over the entire cold chain, from the long haul to the last mile, across land, sea, and air. 

TK Pharma Solutions has the expertise and solutions that support pharmaceutical products distribution through the entire cold chain – from long-haul road transport and last-mile delivery, to air, marine, intermodal and cold storage solutions.  

Responding to the changing market requirements and Ultra Low Temperature needs, we have expanded our range and developed our new SUPEFREEZER Cold Storage Solution technology to deliver complete coverage for vaccine storage, which can also be used with a Genset to make it suitable for vaccine transit. 

ColdCube active, refrigerated containers, can provide a safe transport not only for vaccines but also biomedical products and even clinical trials, in the most demanding environmental conditions. They are ideal for distribution to pharmacies and directly to patients. Cold Cube refrigerated containers are portable offering a -20°C to + 25°C temperature range, they are fully electric powered, and highly mobile, available in 5 sizes and 16 standard configurations, with full Bluetooth connectivity. They make smaller load refrigeration optimization possible even in non-isolated vans together with non-refrigerated products. 

In summary, we offer active temperature control, as well as telematics and data monitoring needed to guarantee integrity of different variants of the vaccine. Regardless of a vaccine’s required temperature (with solution options from -70°C to +30°C), we offer end-to-end solutions to ensure it arrives safely to destination, and storage set points along the way.  

On top of that, supporting our vaccine distribution technologies is an award-winning international dealer network, that customers can always rely on for immediate, experienced, and specialist support. We have highly trained technicians from more than 500 service points in 75 countries to service their equipment according to GDP standards.   

How do you ensure continued temperature control throughout the supply chain (marine/air/road)? 

All TK Pharma Solutions equipment has been tested in line with GDP guidelines in ISO and ATP certification authorized Independent Testing Technology Centres. We have developed A GDP Protocol in 4 stages aligned with the European Union directives for road, marine, intermodal transport, at temperature ranges +15°C to +25°C; +2°C to +8°C; and below -20°C, as low as -70°C for the SuperFreezer. 

Test are performed under extreme ambient temperatures from -70°C to +40°C with door openings, failure mode as a reference for customer’s risk management analysis to ensure the units are providing requested temperatures throughout the supply chain. 

To maintain confidence in the integrity of every vaccine shipment, Thermo King Connected Solutions provide real-time visibility into the location, set point, and ambient temperature associated with each individual load.  

With Thermo King Connected Solutions, vaccine manufacturers and distributors can access the real-time data they need to plan, run, and manage smarter rollouts. Utilizing GPS technology, users can track and trace a variety of factors that impact vaccine integrity – from door openings and ambient temperatures to fuel levels and the condition of individual loads – and respond fast to any emerging problem. 


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Media contact

Rebecca Morpeth Spayne,
Editor, International Trade Magazine

Tel: +44 (0) 1622 823 922

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