Virendra Chaudhary, Director, Algor Logistics in a tête-à-tête with Express Pharma, speaks on the crucial role played by temperature-controlled logistics services in India’s challenging domestic pharmaceutical market
Give us an overview of the services offered by your company.
Algor Logistics is a specialist in the temperature- controlled logistics services space. We transport a range of pharmaceutical goods including active pharma ingredients (APIs), intermediates, formulations, cosmeceuticals, vaccines, and drugs under clinical trial. In addition, our refrigerated trucks ship highly sensitive cargo such as bioplasma, stem cells, and live animals for lab testing, to name a few.
How big is your company in terms of number of employees and market presence?
We have about 50 people on our direct payroll at all-India level as of now. However, we are in the process of hiring new people. So, our headcount is expected to grow by another 10 per cent within a fortnight from now.
We are just a three-year-old company. In 2015 we have already established a pan-India business footprint. Algor has a fleet of over 100 reefer trucks running on Indian roads, delivering high-value materials at client destinations. Of these, nearly 60 vehicles are dedicated to pharma vertical.
What are the challenges faced by pharma companies in India?
It may not be inappropriate or an exaggerated claim to describe India’s pharma sector as vibrant. Besides being the second largest contributor to the world’s biotech and pharma workforce, the industry is also one of the fastest growing sectors in the world. Within two years from now, this globally competitive sector is expected to touch $55 billion in terms of value.
Besides the quality norms under CGMP regulations, pharma companies have to comply with stringent Good Distribution Practices (GDP) laid down by World Health Organisation (WHO). GDP norms mandate that pharma goods be transported in such a manner that their safety, identity, strength, quality and purity characteristics of are well maintained during transportation.
Being highly sensitive, pharma materials (such as APIs, intermediates, formulations, cosmeceuticals, and vaccines) require special handling and care during transport.
The pharma substances being shipped must remain stable during transport. Sensitive materials such as drugs, blood, and blood components must be stored safely at the right temperature. APIs, vaccines, formulations and biologicals should not be tilted and be handled with utmost care. These materials also need to be protected from microbes and pests throughout the duration of their transport.
How does Algor help pharma companies overcome these challenges?
Algor helps pharma companies in India meet their GDP compliance objectives comprehensively. Our fleet of trucks (and vans) are specially designed to ship the pharma cargo. The active and heavy-duty precision cooling inside our reefer vehicles provides a safe, speedy and direct connectivity between the origin and destination.
What are the new developments in Algor? Are there any expansion plans?
As mentioned earlier, we are in the process of inducting fresh talent. The bigger staff strength is essential if we have to undertake business expansion. This expansion is happening on multiple fronts. We are hiring people not just in Mumbai but at various locations in the country to give us a wider market access.
Secondly, we are exploring a few new routes to be added to our network. Already, Algor covers all pharma zones in India as well as the major good transport routes connecting key metropolitan centres such as Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Pune, Delhi, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Kolkata and Chennai. Given India’s expansive pharma sector, we are looking at adding a few tier-II destinations and giving next day delivery to the cities within 700 km to 1,000 km range.
Are there any major projects on the cards?
One key project this year is the introduction of ALEX, India’s only temperature-controlled, scheduled and express shipment services. This is a unique service and will be in high demand very soon.
Let me briefly explain what is unique about ALEX. There are two types of shipment options available for pharma companies today.
Your consignments can either be full truckload (FTL) or less than truckload (LTL); either scheduled express or consolidated. So when a company wants to ship only a few kilograms of material, it has to either spend as per FTL rates for express delivery or wait for indefinite time for it to get delivered.
ALEX combines all the three ingredients of a great service: Fast (Delivery), Good (Quality) and Cost Efficient. With ALEX, pharma companies can send small consignments with scheduled express delivery timelines without having to spend at FTL rates.
With specially designed reefer trucks, ALEX offers two temperature ranges—20C to 80C and 150C to 250C—to pharma clients. So companies can concurrently ship their goods with differentiated cooling requirements, thus, saving time and costs.
This may be a great news for SMEs as well as enterprises. Your comment.
Certainly! In addition to the big pharma, ALEX can be a great temperature-controlled transportation option for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs). ALEX respects everyone’s budget concerns and offers a solution that offers a truely competitive advantage. Our message to all MSMEs as well as large pharma companies is: Your wait for the right transport option is over. ALEX provides guaranteed express delivery of pharma goods cost-effectively.
Moreover, being GDP compliant and SOP-driven, ALEX scores 100 per cent on all the quality parameters. Ensuring zero-damage to sensitive cargo is our motto. Our field-staff is well-trained to handle pharma materials during transport. Customers can demand real-time temperature monitoring of goods up to the package level. Our backend support team keeps a constant vigil on your consignments with satellite-based monitoring technology. Starting with Mumbai, Hyderabad and Visakhapatnam, ALEX is going to storm all the busy pharma routes in the country very soon.