The new depot provides 850m2 of GMP-compliant space for temperature controlled storage, as well as distribution, and is positioned next to the logistics company’s branch office in Beijing, China in order to offer a fully integrated service, focusing especially on the clinical trials market.
“There are not a lot of solutions at present and there’s a lot of demand,” said Senior VP Commercial Operations at Marken, Ariette Van Strien, speaking to Outsourcing-Pharma.com. “China’s an area which we see growing quickly” and with “more and more clinical trials” there is the need for a fully encompassing distribution service.
Marken has had a presence in China for over ten years yet recent shifts in strategy are leading the company to form a complete network for supporting its Asian clients. Van Strien explained that the company was recently granted a 12 year logistics license by the Chinese State Food and Drug Administration (SFDA) meaning Marken could consolidate its network for long-term operations.
She admitted there was some local competition in the distribution industry in China and that “World Courrier has always been [the] main rival” but overall the “goal is not to just compete but we are developing this whole new network within China to provide the best infrastructure.”
The Beijing depot had initially been scheduled to open in the second quarter of 2012 but Van Strien told us that Marken’s priorities changed as the company opted to first open the doors to depots in Argentina, New York, Frankfurt and New Mexico.
She said: “Our plan is driven by our strategic customers and their needs, so our plan is very flexible. The set-up was finally on plan, only our priorities changed.”
This supports comments by CEO Wes Wheeler last February: The Company “is in the process of shifting its strategy to expand services and geographies. We plan to transform from a premium courier to a full service supply chain services company.”
In the last year, Marken’s global footprint spread not only to the sites listed above but saw the announcement of plans to set up offices in India. Marken are also working on plans to set up depots in other key emerging markets, namely Brazil, Chile, Columbia and Russia.