Port of Antwerp-Bruges sets world’s first maritime GDP port certificate for pharma goods

Flanders’ Port of Antwerp-Bruges is the first seaport worldwide to translate pharmaceutical products specific handling needs within a maritime context to follow the European Good Distribution Practice (GDP) rules throughout the entire logistics chain.

Europe’s second-largest seaport explains that the quality of pharmaceutical and life sciences products passing through the port –from medicines to vaccines and medical materials– is maintained throughout the entire distribution process. Moreover, the Belgian port announced that these guidelines have now also been consolidated in an official certificate.

"The fact that the logistics chain for pharma products faces challenges became clearer than ever during COVID," says Jacques Vandermeiren, Port of Antwerp-Bruges CEO. "As the first port worldwide with this new GDP certificate, we prove our commitment to the pharma industry’s specific needs," he adds.

The basis of the certificate is provided by the guidelines that were previously issued by the Port of Antwerp-Bruges for deep-sea cargo and port logistics of temperature-sensitive products.

The guidelines are based on the global WHO standards, with focusing on Europe and maritime activities. The certificate is issued by SGS, an internationally renowned certification organization for the pharma sector. "Operational companies, like terminal operators and shipping firms, can apply for the certification to demonstrate their commitment to quality in every aspect of their services," details the port.

Reefer container

Flanders is a major hub for life sciences & health: one out of six medicines exported from the EU to the world starts its global journey in Belgium, mostly in the country’s northern region of Flanders. Half of these medicines are also produced in Belgium.

Due to cost-efficiency and sustainability, there is a growing demand for shipping by reefer container instead of air freight. With 63,000 m² of GDP-compliant warehouses and 9,500 plugs for reefer containers, the platforms in the port areas of Antwerp and Zeebrugge also expect to play an important role in this trend.






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