Africa in Sight as Yusen Enhances its Contract Distribution Footprint

By Dan Stanton

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Pharmaceutical industry

Africa in Sight as Yusen Enhances its Contract Distribution Footprint
Yusen Logistics says Africa is “a major target area” as it develops its healthcare distribution services.

The contract logistics company, who told it is contracted to manage over 1 million pallets of healthcare products across Europe this year and is now expanding its coverage to emerging markets, with Africa in its sights.

“With significant potential growth forecast over the coming 5-10 years due to the forecast of a very strong rise in disposable income,”​ Africa is a major area of interest, according to Business Development Manager of Yusen Logistics, Clive Lester.

He continued, adding Yusen was developing services “in cooperation with a major sub-Saharan pharma distribution group who provide GDP warehousing and final mile distribution.”

Yusen hopes to follow the trend of many healthcare companies and expand its services to emerging markets. Major pharma player Sanofi announced​ in its 2012 end of year results that sales in emerging markets had overtaken the traditional areas of Europe and the US, with the African and Middle Eastern market​ generating over $2bn of revenue with a growth of over 10% from the year prior.

The Japanese firm already has a strong foothold in Europe. Its European secure-pallet road network (which it refers to as its ‘Super Highway’) is controlled exclusively from the company’s ‘Control Tower’ based in Milton Keynes, UK, which, according to Lester, “has the overview of every pallet being shipped across Europe and thereby facilitates the consolidation/load-sharing operation by our planners.”

Demand and Strategy

Over 200,000 pallets of temperature-controlled products are distributed in traditional markets per year for AstraZeneca, which last month renewed its contract​ with Yusen.

But while Big Pharma customers are important Lester said demand for services came “from all sectors of the Pharma industry,”​ including global and generic manufacturers, as well as the smaller biotech companies.

“We believe our development programme is unique as we are looking to establish dedicated Pharma consolidation pallet services by reefer container”​ which costs considerably less (up to 80%) than airfreight. From Yusen’s GDP (good distribution practice) port in Antwerp, Belgium, weekly sailings “will allow at least replenishment stock to travel by sea – providing better control on temperature and security.

“We are not a ‘one size fits all’ operation and have the time and experience to work with clients on challenging routes. On reefer sea freight we again are working with clients to assist their ‘air to sea’ programmes taking cost out of supply chains."

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