Turkish Airlines Cargo - Pristine delivery

Capitalising on its strategic location and global network, Turkish Airlines Cargo has invested extensively in facilities, reporting technology and certification, plus the in-depth training of its specialist staff. Seref Kazanci, vice-president of commercial cargo, explains how it ensures that delicate electronic or temperature-sensitive cargo reaches its destination in excellent condition.


What investment has been made to improve the pharmaceutical services offered by Turkish Cargo?

Seref Kazanci: As Turkish Cargo, we have redefined our standard operating procedure (SOP) for pharmaceuticals. We have also inaugurated a new 3,000m² special cargo storage area and 39 special cargo rooms, including climate-controlled storage units designated for medical supply, drug, and vaccine shipments. With temperature-senstive shipments in mind, we have signed agreements with active providers of temperature-controlled containers, and with all these improvements, we are planning to launch new products for our pharmaceuticals shipments in 2016.

The IATA CEIV pharma certification is recognised as an important indicator of the process for pharmaceutical shipments, and we have now successfully achieved this. In meeting this standard, we revised each step of the process to ensure a high level of reliability and security throughout a shipment. With this certification, our Istanbul cargo hub is fully compliant with applicable pharmaceutical standards.

How extensively do you train your operators to ensure essential standards are met throughout storage and transportation?

Expertise has been a focus for us, including building on our handling knowledge with our local handlers and training our employees in developing a 'pharma mindset' in line with the IATA handling manual. All Turkish Cargo staff involved in transportation participate in international and in-house training and certification programmes, carried out in accordance with the regulations established by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation.

How do you ensure medical and pharmaceutical cargo is kept safe and secure during its entire journey, including maintaining the required temperatures at all times?

Turkish Cargo's cold-chain logistics are designed to protect the contents and prevent them from deterioration, and the transportation of medical supplies is always executed in accordance with IATA regulations. We offer our customers temperature-controlled active and passive systems. The 39 special cargo rooms in our new cargo terminal offer high-quality standards, including temperature-controlled storage units designated for drug, vaccine and medical supply shipments.

Thanks to agreements with international container suppliers Envirotainer and CSafe, we are able to achieve shipments of -20°C-+25°C at the demanded capacity. In containers that hold sensitive cargo, such as medical supplies, vaccines, insulin and cancer drugs, we can ensure the desired temperatures are maintained even during long-distance flights. All of our climate-controlled storage units are monitored for temperature and humidity levels via an online tracking system and, with our data entry log, we also report to our customers the changes in temperature of their shipments during the whole transportation process.

Could you walk us through the medical-supply side of your operation?

All medical-supply cargo requests made to Turkish Airlines are handled by our offices, foreign agencies and the cargo-reservation department. In the acceptance stage, cargoes are examined and categorised by our cargo and document acceptance unit according to their destination, type, weight, amount and size. At the acceptance stage, all transportation of drugs and medical supplies is executed in accordance with the IATA acceptance checklist.

At the reservation stage, the shipments are assessed for safety, portability and packaging in accordance with aircraft type, country regulations, Turkish Airlines embargoes, international regulations, IATA regulations and the IATA airport handbook. Later, the cargo that passes these assessments is accepted through special delivery doors dedicated to medical-supply shipments and located close to X-ray scanners.

In addition to the IATA airport handling training, we also provide regular refresher training. This includes SOP checks on the correct use of IATA pharma labels, use of the IATA pharma acceptance checklist, service providers implementing pharma-specific SOPs and dedicated pharma handling.

What developments can we expect to see from Turkish Cargo in the near future?

Turkish Cargo will continue to provide technology-driven logistics solutions to individual customers and major corporations alike. We will work to make Istanbul one of the biggest players in the air cargo trade between East
and West, benefitting from its strategic location at the centre of world trade routes.

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