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An Inside Look at DB Schenker’s Expanded Indianapolis Logistics Hub

DB Schenker covers all the bases for health care, vaccine and pharmaceutical companies that need end-to-end cold storage for critical products being shipped between the U.S. and Europe.

Ready to assist the world’s pharmaceutical and health care companies get their temperature-sensitive products to patients quickly and safely, DB Schenker Americas has expanded its existing Indianapolis logistics facility to include a new 5,000sf cold room and 50,000sf of controlled room temperature space.

The expanded facility supports the pharmaceutical industry’s growing need for temperature-controlled logistics space. By building the additions in Indianapolis, DB Schenker can leverage a less-congested U.S. airport to fly direct to-and-from Luxembourg via its own-controlled flights.

With an eye on sustainability, the global logistics provider has also added state-of-the-art refrigerated trucks (“reefers”) for the transport of pharmaceutical, vaccine and health care products. Equipped with electric standby capabilities, these vehicles can be plugged into an outlet and turned off when they aren’t moving.

Major Centers of Pharmaceutical Activity
With both Indianapolis and Luxembourg serving as major centers of pharmaceutical manufacturing activity, the newly-expanded Indianapolis facility now incorporates 9,000sf of +2C to +8C space; 100,000 of +15C to +25C space, and dedicated capacity on DB Schenker’s own-controlled flights to and from Luxembourg. All of those flights feature dedicated, temperature-controlled capacity.

Good Distribution Practice-compliant, the facility moves freight within the temperature-controlled rooms before loading onto the aircraft for shipping. Once onsite, the storage of the controlled products can be mapped and validated according to WHO guidelines, and value-added services can be performed right within the cold environment.

For example, DB Schenker employees can replenish a shipment’s dry ice, apply thermal blankets to the cargo, put ULS thermal covers on the shipments, or otherwise provide an additional layer of protection (i.e., temperature or GPS monitors).

“We’ve covered all of the bases from a compliance perspective,” said Benno Forster, Senior Vice President, Head of Operations and Procurement, Americas at DB Schenker, “while also giving health care and pharmaceutical companies an end-to-end solution that’s fully temperature controlled from door-to-door.”

Keeping Everything Cold, all the Time
Designed to incorporate airplane pallets within the designated temperature zones, the facility’s cold rooms enable just-in-time freight loading without ever exposing the products to room or warm temperatures.

Benjamin Zervas, Head of Airfreight Management Healthcare, Americas at DB Schenker, said the company’s decision to expand the Indianapolis facility was strategic and based on its geographic location.

“As the major airports in the U.S. become more congested, smaller airports like Indianapolis and Luxembourg have become more suitable for moving freight,” said Zervas. “We can move directly from the tarmac to our facility without a grand handler, thus reducing the loading or unloading times down to just about 15 minutes.”

By using a cargo airport hub, DB Schenker rarely (if ever) has to wait to take off, land, or load/unload freight. This is a particularly important point in today’s capacity-constrained transportation environment, where having an own-controlled fleet can significantly speed up the safe transfer of goods between the U.S. and Luxembourg.

“One of the main reasons we’re using own-controlled air freight is because it allows us to commit to our pharmaceutical customers for the longer-term,” said Forster. “If we didn’t take this route, our own services would be dependent on our carriers’ schedule changes and other nuances.”

End-to-End Logistics for Health Care
Built in 2006, DB Schenker’s Indianapolis logistics hub has been modified over the years to accommodate customers’ needs. “Our goal is to support the growing demand for stricter, temperature-controlled shipments, including vaccine transport and health care supply chains,” Zervas said. “Especially during the pandemic, we see many pharmaceutical companies striving to serve patients quicker and more accurately.”

DB Schenker also has a major presence in Luxembourg, where it serves a wide variety of pharmaceutical customers with its end-to-end logistics and supply chain offerings. “Health care companies need logistics providers that can deliver high quality, sustainable services within a temperature-controlled setting,” said Forster. “Our expanded Indianapolis facility addresses all three of these needs and more.”

Current investments made at the Indianapolis facility are part of DB Schenker’s ongoing engagement in the Healthcare Logistics space. Its vertical market focused solution DB SCHENKERlife+ includes a full suite of transportation and logistics services, extensive global network, strict adherence to local and international compliance, and superior end-to-end visibility. These services enable our clients’ supply chains with agility, control, and speed to market. Our more than 75,000 DB Schenker employees worldwide, are working relentlessly around the clock to ensure precious and often life-saving shipments get to where they need to be – securely, at the right temperature, and on time. From biopharmaceuticals to medical devices, from PPE to blood plasma, DB SCHENKERlife+ delivers reliability for customers across the industry, including Biopharma, Pharmaceuticals, Animal Health, MedTech, and Consumer Health & Nutrition. Giving our customers peace of mind knowing we have been delivering reliable solutions for our life science customers globally for decades.