Delivering inflammatory relief within 10 degrees - American Airlines Cargo & DHL
How DHL & American Airlines Cargo delivered inflammatory relief within 10 degrees
Pain so bad in your joints that you can hardly cross the room. A stomach so sensitive that you don’t dare to venture far from home or a skin rash that hurts so badly it causes migraines and forces you to miss work. Millions of people worldwide suffer from inflammatory disease. 

Thankfully, relief exists in the form of Humira, a popular anti-inflammatory drug. 

But Humira requires strict temperature control between 36°F to 46°F (2°C to 8°C) for the medicine to be effective. To ensure sensitive medications like this are delivered to patients in a viable form, the logistics must be uniform, transparent and timely.

DHL and American Airlines Cargo partnered together to bring a critical shipment of Humira from Guatemala to the Grand Cayman Islands.

Ready to go

A Humira manufacturer in Guatemala needed to find reliable supply chain partners to ship its medicine in easy-to-use injectable pens to customers in the Caribbean, specifically to the small island nations of Barbados and Grand Cayman Islands. To protect this precious cargo from the average yearly temperatures in the area that hover in the 70s and 80s – and only drop into the 50s at night – the right logistical partner was essential.

These gorgeous island nations with their warm climates, sandy beaches, unique mom-and-pop shops, and cozy family-owned restaurants attract visitors from around the globe. Beneath this laid-back lifestyle lies inconsistent infrastructure that creates challenges for shipping medicines and medical devices that need strict temperature controls.
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Mapping out success

Designing a standard operating procedure was essential to managing the shipment from manufacturer to patient. The traditional concept of finding the fastest point-to-point shipping options would not work for this high-value medicine. So, the manufacturer turned to its shipping partners, DHL and American Airlines Cargo, to help map out a solution.

Ivan Aguilera, design and implementation manager for DHL’s LifeConEx service, led the charge. He tapped into a team of representatives from all stakeholders from Guatemala to Barbados and Grand Cayman. Together, they listed all possible routes, identified cold chain facility availability, and calculated the time each route would take.

Aguilera decided that Miami, American Airlines Cargo’s largest hub, had the right infrastructure in place. Along with nearly 10,000 square feet of temperature-controlled and refrigeration space, American’s Miami terminal is also uniquely positioned to provide the flight capacity to the Caribbean.
With the temperature-controlled coolers at American’s Miami facility ready for the shipment, Aguilera created process contingencies for the other stations in the route. Because Barbados or the Grand Cayman Islands don’t have cold chain storage facilities, consignees were told they were responsible for customs clearance and being present at the warehouse to take the goods the last mile. 

DHL’s service, LifeConEx, enabled this customized, white-glove transportation solution. LifeConEx ensures that once the airline arrival flight is verified, the consignee is immediately informed so that they are at the airport once the aircraft touches down. A 24/7 monitoring team works with local brokers to inform the consignee of any changes, so the Humira is never unattended or out of cold storage. 

Arriving at results

The role of Aguilera and his team goes beyond merely adhering to terms. It’s a commitment to delivering medicines in the right condition at the right time to the right people. While sometimes the simplest requirements can be the most challenging, he’ll never hesitate to take it on.

“Looking back, I just think, ‘Wow.’ It feels good that we made a difference with patient lives in this part of the world,” he said. “It was a true partnership between American Airlines Cargo and DHL.”

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