Jan 13, 2021

Why controlling and maintaining product temperature is crucial

The development of mass-market medicines in recent decades has sparked a growing need for temperature-controlled transport and logistics solutions across the pharmaceutical sector. The global COVID-19 vaccination production is currently driving huge demand on this worldwide, and with the foreseeable trend towards personalised medicines in the future, the need to transport and store medications at specific temperatures will only increase in the years ahead.

In recent decades, pharmaceutical companies have increasingly invested significant time and money in developing medicines for the mass market; these medications are identified as ‘blockbuster’ medicines and used to treat large populations, fuelling the need to transport pharmaceuticals globally at specific temperatures. The new COVID-19 vaccines are a prime example of this, the current versions require transportation in the -70 ⁰C, -20⁰C and 2-8 ⁰C ranges.

The biopharma sector may well be on the threshold of developing hyper-tailored therapies to cure or prevent diseases rather than treat symptoms with a prescription of standard medicines. Patients could receive personalised medicine based on the wide range of their characteristics including; genomics, metabolome, microbiome and other clinical information. These medicines will probably be manufactured or compounded ‘just-in-time’ through additive manufacturing. This personalised approach will further intensify the need for temperature-controlled transportation and storage of pharma products.

What is the manufacturer’s responsibility in maintaining the temperature of their products? 

When a medicine is stored at a temperature that is too high or too low, its chemical stability will likely be impacted, which means that the medicine may degrade and form impurities. While these impurities may not be visually noticeable, the product deterioration could cause serious problems if the medicine is administered to a patient.

Spoiled medicines can have serious consequences for patient health and well-being, and severely damage manufacturer’s credibility. As a result, temperature-controlled logistics is imperative for many pharmaceutical products to ensure optimal delivery on time, in full and in the right conditions. This includes the current and future COVID-19 vaccines. The margin of error varies from one product to another, and there are strict industry regulations to ensure that the cold chain logistics process maintains the integrity of the medicines during the supply chain.

While the logistics service provider is responsible for maintaining the temperature of the cargo during storage and transit, it is the manufacturer’s responsibility to ensure that all parties involved are aware of the product requirements and optimal conditions required, as the manufacturer is in the end responsible for the integrity of the medicine. For manufacturers, it is therefore crucial they appoint a logistics provider who can meet all their requirements, particularly but not limited to;  

  • Maintaining product temperature and humidity requirements
  • Proactively identifying and managing all the associated risk points in the supply chain
  • With a proven experience in the complex handling of their product type


At Yusen Logistics, we are aware of the importance of maintaining temperature requirements for pharmaceutical products, even prior to the current pandemic. As we have invested and committed to provide temperature-controlled services, Yusen is particularly well-placed to support existing and new customers around the world in maintaining low to ultra-low temperature ranges.

Yusen Logistics provides quality-driven solutions which will control and maintain product conditions and integrity:

GDP Compliance – Yusen facilities, people and systems, including qualified and audited 3rd party suppliers and partners

Packaging Project – Yusen selection of preferred packaging providers; qualified and audited.

Validaide – A digital tool to create Route Risk Assessments (RRAs) which enables manufacturers and logistics providers to manage potential risks upfront

VisionI – Real-time GPS and temperature tracking for road freight

Controlant – Real-time GPS and temperature tracking for air and sea freight

Yusen Vantage – Full end-to-end order management

Control Tower – Single point of contact and management


At Yusen, we are continuing to invest in facilities and systems  on a global basis to support our current and future customers, also identifying potential partners to support the supply chain and contingency planning to ensure we are ready to adapt to our customers’ dynamic needs, particularly around final distribution.

‘‘Why controlling and maintaining product temperature is crucial’’We believe that the most important part of the pharmaceutical value chain is to safeguard patient health.  This is only possible when the pharmaceutical product is transported and stored within the supply chain, under optimal temperature conditions.


Contact us to discuss how Yusen can help you!

For more information or to request a quote, please contact Marloes Seesing, Global Head of Healthcare Industry Vertical.


Read more about COVID-19 vaccine approach here.

Read more about Challenge I: High-stakes supply chain here