Pharmaceutical Cold Chain Logistics Resource Center

Descartes Enables Real-time, End-to-End Pharmaceutical Cold Chain Visibility

Descartes Provides Real-time Air Cargo Shipment Location and Condition Monitoring through:

Air freight has always been the best choice for high velocity, high-value, or environment sensitive shipments across pharmaceutical logistics and cold chain logistics.

Recent technology advancements enable the air cargo logistics community to provide a higher level of visibility to goods. Descartes can provide real-time information on ambient conditions of the cargo, location-based tracking, mobile-based access, and continuous communication to all parties on the location and status of goods.

Thought Leadership Resources

Josh Smith, host of the AviationPros Podcast, speaks to Descartes’ Scott Sangster about how the air cargo industry can use BLE technology to help combat the global shortage of ULDs and pallets.
Event Roundup: FreightWaves Health & Pharma Supply Chain Summit
Freight Waves speaks to Descartes’ Scott Sangster about the importance of real-time visibility of the location and condition of critical air cargo shipments, like COVID-19 vaccines, as they move through the pharmaceutical supply chain.

Media Alert: Descartes Announces its Open Network Initiative for Air Cargo Tracking
Descartes’ Open Network Initiative expands the value of the Descartes CORE BLE network to air cargo industry participants by allowing third party, BLE-compatible devices to communicate over the network.

COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution: The Air Cargo Industry’s Greatest Challenge
Contract Pharma analysis on how the air cargo logistics community is embracing technology to close critical gaps in the cold chain.

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White Paper: The Future of Pharmaceutical Shipment Tracking
Our latest white paper covers the anticipated need to transport large volumes of COVID-19 vaccines and how to track them using the right technology.

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Infographic: Enabling Complete Visibility Across the Pharmaceutical Logistics Chain
The right technology can provide shipment condition and location monitoring for cold cargo in the airport and on the ground.

AJOT: Pandemic developments will drive future supply-chain improvements
Descartes is working on an IATA pilot program that will provide greater visibility and monitoring of sensitive cargo.

Talking Logistics: Five Technological Advances That Will Transform Pharmaceutical Supply Chain Visibility
Descartes' Chris Jones explains that because of the multiparty nature of air cargo shipments, tracking technology must be supply chain-centric as opposed to company-centric in this blog post on

Media Alert: Leading Ground Handling Agents Deploy Descartes Real-time Air Cargo Tracking Solution
Four of the world’s largest ground handling agents are deploying Descartes Core Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE)™ readers across their global cargo operations.

AJOT: Digital Technologies Key to COVID Vaccine Distribution
The logistics of COVID-19 vaccine distribution present newer challenges; digital technology can help drive automation, but may pose increased cybersecurity risk.

The STAT Trade Times: How Innovation Led Digitalization Revitalized the Air Cargo Industry
Read how technology, including innovations from Descartes, are adding real-time visibility into shipment status and location for airport-to-airport moves of high-value goods including pharmaceuticals.

How We're Helping Customers

"Descartes’ Bluetooth readers automate the tracking of freight shipments and offer real-time status reports such as precise temperature, movement, shock, light and humidity. This is especially important for high-value and temperature-controlled types of cargo, which provide premium revenue for our customers.”


– John Batten, Executive Vice President Cargo, EMEA, WFS

“With the Descartes system, we now have a digital solution to identify the exact location of an air freight container and the status of its load at any given moment. The ability to continuously and automatically track air freight is a powerful boost to customer service and helps to significantly reduce the costs of air cargo operations.”


– Jonathon Dale, Manager Commercial, Cargo Cmcl and Ventures, Air New Zealand

"A significant percentage of air cargo coming from Asia today is PPE to fight COVID-19. Combined with an imbalance of ULDs, air carriers are challenged to move critical freight. “The combination of our ULDs and the Descartes CORE ULD Tracking solution allows air carriers to track shipments and assets more effectively.”


– Kenneth Poon, General Manager, innoAviation

“Our cooperation with Descartes and the introduction of global ULD tracking at our cargo warehouses creates added value for our customers and drives the digital transformation of the cargo supply chain and the industry.”  


– Hendrik Leyssens, Vice President, Global Cargo Operations, Swissport International

“The innovative Descartes solution is expected to help us further improve service efficiency as we move customers’ cargo smoothly from one destination to another, tracking its progress in real-time the entire way.”


– Guillaume Crozier, Divisional Vice President Operations & Product Development, dnata

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“By introducing ULD tracking with the Descartes solution, we can offer customers a higher standard of service when it comes to air shipment visibility and ULD fleet management.”


– Robert Fordree, Executive Vice President of Cargo, Menzies Aviation

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