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for Pharmaceutical Shipping

An increasing number of companies are opting to ship pharmaceuticals to ensure the quick and safe delivery of medicines and other essential goods. Ensuring optimal shipping of pharmaceutical products is crucial since the products themselves are highly sensitive in terms of time and quality assurance.

Pharmaceutical logistics require adherence to strict regulation codes to ensure that all products, including medication and vaccines, are delivered on time and undamaged. At MSC we pride ourselves on following GDP compliant practices and providing reliable, cost-effective deliveries to any destination.

Shipping with MSC also means you’ll benefit from having access to our vast global network, which connects all the world’s major trading centres and enables you to deliver pharmaceutical support wherever it is required.

  • Global coverage

  • GDP Compliant

  • Cutting-edge
    reefer technology

  • Wide range of equipment and transport methods

How are Pharmaceutical Products Transported?

Pharmaceutical cargo is transported in temperature-controlled reefer containers which allow the consistent management of conditions throughout transportation. At MSC our reefer containers use the most advanced cooling systems, including:

  • Primeline®
  • Naturaline® 
  • Star Cool SA

These systems ensure that pharmaceutical products are kept at the required temperature during transit, while dehumidification systems prevent damage or degradation. We also use the latest green technology in our fleet to help minimise your supply chain’s carbon footprint.

GDP Compliant Practices

Because of the sensitive nature of the cargo, the shipping of pharmaceuticals needs to be well organised, and best practices adhered to.

Our GDP certification ensures that our processes are aligned with the strict regulations required by the pharma industry. With MSC, your cargo is in the hands of dedicated experts who are trained to offer the right support, advice and documentation whenever and wherever it is needed.

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Local Experts Around the World

Work with local experts around the world, all of whom have a deep knowledge of the pharmaceutical industry. Not only do we have more than five decades of experience carrying sensitive and hazardous cargo, but our global contacts will be on hand to help throughout your cargo’s journey, with the ability to support container preparation and packing if necessary.


Door-to-door Security

Safety is paramount for the transportation of pharma cargo, which is often highly valuable. Our containers are sealed and locked from pick-up to delivery, and our door-to-door services minimise touchpoints – helping to improve product quality and integrity, and reduce the risk of theft or damage.

We follow highly standardised control procedures to guarantee optimal transport conditions. 

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Healthcare Logistics

On land and at sea, we have everything you need to prepare your pharma logistics and supply chain securely from A to Z. 


To ensure vaccines and medications are delivered without spoilage, pharma, and healthcare logistics require complete legislative adherence. As well as providing a temperature-monitored pharma supplied chain, at MSC we can also provide support for other healthcare logistics throughout your supply chain by acting as 2PL, 3PL, or 4PL as required.

  • MSC Cargo Insurance

  • Customs clearance support

  • End-to-end solutions

  • Documentation Support

Questions about our Pharma Logistics Solutions?

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Important aspects to consider in pharmaceutical shipping

Along with following best practices within the pharmaceutical industry throughout the entire shipping process, there are several important regulations to follow during the transportation process. These include:

• Ensuring all pharma products are properly packaged and labelled. This mitigates the risk of any cargo breaking or becoming damaged during transit. Having clear labels on products also means that correct temperatures can be monitored and maintained during shipping.
• Licensing regulations. As there are certain licensing requirements needed to ship pharmaceuticals, it is crucial to work with a company like MSC that holds all the necessary licenses.
• The hygiene of shipping facilities. As well as being kept to the required temperate, all containers and storage facilities involved in transporting pharmaceuticals must be large enough in order to allow proper cleaning and airflow to take place shape.

At MSC we work hard to consider all aspects of pharmaceutical transportation, from the industry regulations we follow to our reefer container systems and shipping processes.

How are you usually audited to be GDP compliant (Goods Distribution Practice)?

Our GDP certification is supported by mandatory internal and external audits. We go through an intense 1st, 2nd and 3rd party audit program, where we audit ourselves (1st party), our vendors and suppliers (2nd party) and we have an external certified body auditing our system (3rd party).

Each audit checks the following elements of our suppliers’ processes and systems:

- Documents are verified – documental verification of our GDP system.
- On-site inspections are carried out.
- Calibrations are verified.
- Traceability testing is checked.
- The CAPA (Corrective Action and Preventative Actions) Management process is reviewed.
- Overall system performance is reviewed and improvements are planned.

How is quality measured?

Performance metrics for our GDP practices are overseen by several departments within MSC to ensure quality, including:

- Customer Services (Agencies level).
- Reefer Management (SSC Antwerp).
- Claims Dept MSC HQ (Geneva).
- Under Penalty Cargo (SSC Greece).

Do you carry out CAPA (Corrective Action and Preventative Actions) procedures?

Yes. In order to be GDP compliant, we have an internal CAPA management process. CAPA management is internally shared, and its performances are periodically reviewed.

Where can I find documentation?

All relevant documents are available from your local pharma expert, contact your local MSC office for more information.

Are MSC staff GDP Trained?

MSC staff involved in GDP / FSMS undergo in-person or online training relevant to their roles, including reefer handling and maintenance, alarms and incident management and CAPA management.

Attendance to these training programs is both mandatory and verified.

How are containers cleaned in order to be GDP compliant?

This is overseen by our Reefer department in Geneva and Antwerp.

They also oversee training practices for cleaning and adherence to high cleaning standards, according to the container and cargo needs.
Specific audits are planned and carried out globally to verify the adherence of our vendors to our GDP standards.

Is the container temperature controlled?

Yes! All these procedures are part of our ISO 22000 audit and part of our general GDP practices.

We have departments dedicated to handling temperature-controlled units, both in Geneva and in our main facilities. All agencies have departments dedicated to temperature-controlled containers, with professionals available in each facility trained in pre-trip, and handling alarms etc.

Each vessel is equipped with essential spare parts in line with the type of equipment loaded.

How is temperature monitored?

The temperature monitoring is regulated by the Service Contract Agreement with Vessels/Ports and Facilities and includes a minimum of two controls per day. Alerts are raised if a unit is out of an acceptable range.

For GDP units, the range of acceptance is ‘Zero Deviation’ from requirements. For specific cargo-loading plan-routing, temperature mapping is agreed with the shipper.

Are MSC containers’ temperature sensors calibrated?

Calibration of thermal sensors is ensured by the certification of the constructor and suppliers of spare parts.

In addition, MSC tests has a specific procedure to verify the calibration of the units and a specific audit program to verify that unit probes are correctly calibrated.

Is my cargo safe?

MSC’s security divisions maintain and audit cargo according to the highest standards and requirement of the US Customs and Border Patrol (USCBP). A Seal Management plan runs through the organization and involves all offices and depots across the company.

Our safe cargo checks are in line with ISO 28000:2007 certification.

Do you work with certified suppliers?

With all our main vendors handling temperature-controlled containers, like ports and depot facilities, we have specific clauses in place for handling special cargo, including pharmaceuticals.

Audit operations are performed and verified by our Procurement department and are in line with our ISO 28000:2017 certification, our GDP 2013 and GDP 2015 certification and with ISO 22000: 2018.