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Puerto Rico invests in pharmaceutical logistics training

With an investment exceeding $200,000, Puerto Rico’s Department of Economic Development and Commerce (DDEC, in Spanish) subsidized eight companies to undergo training and certification for handling sensitive pharmaceutical cargo. The initiative aims to foster the sector’s growth and establish the first air cargo hub in the Americas.

The training and regulatory assessments are directed toward obtaining the Center of Excellence for Independent Validators (CEIV) in Pharmaceutical Logistics certification from the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

“Exposing these companies to the certification and training process enhances the credibility and competitiveness of Puerto Rico as a pharmaceutical distribution center, ensuring the optimal quality of products manufactured and handled on the island,” said DDEC Secretary Manuel Cidre. “It assures foreign pharmaceutical companies that their products are in good hands while passing through Puerto Rico. This strategy is part of the DDEC’s objectives to strengthen logistics and air cargo handling for local manufacturing companies.”

The certification was made possible by a funding proposal to the DDEC, resulting in a contract that provided 80% of the funds, with IATA contributing the remaining 20% for the participating companies. These include ETH Cargo Service, César Castillo, GMD Airline Services, CBX Global, Expeditors, Prime Air, Isla Frio Refrigeration, and American Airlines.

The nonprofit Industry University Research Center (Induniv), which connects the pharmaceutical industry with academia and government, was pivotal in executing the project. Induniv achieved all Phase 1 and 2 objectives within seven months, which involved identifying and coordinating the participation of companies interested in CEIV certification. The effort included holding individual and group meetings to guide, advise and answer questions.

Since January 2020, Induniv has worked with the DDEC to educate the Puerto Rico AirHub logistics community, while IATA managed the assessments and training for certification. The first two training sessions were completed by 30 participants.

“The primary goal of guiding the eight companies to continue the CEIV certification process has been achieved,” Cidre said. “In 2024, we will continue working with the Air Cargo Community formed in 2022 to identify additional initiatives and further improve cargo handling quality, among other priorities.”

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