DHL Global Forwarding, the air and ocean freight specialist within Deutsche Post DHL, has launched DHL Thermonet, a new air freight product tailored to the life sciences and healthcare sector. This global service offers a transparent and a regulatory-compliant platform, enabling users to manage temperature-sensitive shipments of pharmaceutical products and medical devices.

“The global market for pharmaceuticals has reached a total volume of over US $1 trillion in sales, with the United States, Japan, and China being the largest markets,” said Roger Crook, chief executive officer of DHL Global Forwarding, Freight and executive board sponsor for the Life Sciences and Healthcare sector. “The life sciences and healthcare industry is a key sector for DHL, and we are heavily investing in new products and services to provide comprehensive solutions to the needs of our customers.”

DHL Thermonet provides higher visibility as a standard offering in the temperature-controlled shipping arena by integrating proactive monitoring and intervention 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, with SmartSensor RFID technology, an in-house development from DHL’s Solutions & Innovation division. The SmartSensor monitors ambient temperature of the shipment while in transit. As an optional service, near-product temperature of goods during transport can be recorded using the SmartSensor XP technology, enabling more targeted intervention.

Data collected by the SmartSensors uploads automatically to the LifeTrack IT platform via a web portal. Developed specifically for the life sciences and healthcare sector by LifeConEx, a subsidiary of DHL Global Forwarding, LifeTrack is the integrated operational tool for all logistical and temperature data for DHL Thermonet. In addition, LifeTrack simplifies and automates document control and change management.

Temperature-sensitive products currently make up a quarter of global pharmaceutical sales. Due to the industry’s increasing shift of new products from chemical-based to biotech and specialty drugs, growth of this segment is expected to accelerate, generating 50% of sales within the next five years. Consequently, temperature-controlled supply chains will become even more important than today.

DHL Global Forwarding’s network of Life Sciences Competence Centers will be certified through an internal audit process based on global Good Distribution Practices and upgraded to DHL life science-certified stations. A revitalized life sciences-specific training program has been launched to ensure a global knowledge standard of DHL Global Forwarding’s dedicated life sciences staff.

DHL Global Forwarding is focusing on its base of more than 30 Life Sciences Competence Centers worldwide, where it is implementing the DHL Thermonet standard. The service will continue to be rolled out in 2014, targeting 60 stations by the end of that year.