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IoT packaging for cold chain cargo

With connected packaging pharmaceutical shippers will be able to monitor their own cargo.

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The cargo monitoring ecosphere continues to expand, with the UK’s Softbox announcing it will launch a new range of connected packaging for the pharmaceutical industry at the LogiPharma exhibition in Switzerland 9-11 April.

The basic concept is to install IoT devices at the individual package level, so shippers of high value cargo can track and monitor high value pharmaceuticals across the whole supply chain independently. “Softbox’s IoT project, developed in collaboration with market-leading companies, focuses on providing transparency on every step of the cold chain distribution process, from dispatch through to dispensing to the patient,” the company stated.

Softbox has been selling its passive temperature control packaging systems for over 20 years, with a product line that includes insulated boxes, cargo covers for air cargo, and a rental programme called AEON exchange. Softbox believes that adding remote cargo monitoring to its existing services “solves many of the challenges pharmaceutical companies face today, such as sustainability regulations, cost-reductions, excursion management and real-time visibility of temperature, location, shock and light exposure”.

Richard Wood, Director of Connected Digital Technologies at Softbox commented: “IoT technology brings enhanced transparency, accuracy and responsiveness to the whole delivery cycle. Visibility and traceability are top priorities for the cold-chain logistics industry, Softbox’s new IoT products and services aim to deliver the best combination of packaging and technology for our clients.”

For ocean freight in reefer containers, shippers monitoring their own cargo independently is something to watch. Maersk Line and others offer special pharma cargo services that include remote monitoring and reefer control, but this move by Softbox indicates a demand for monitoring at the cargo level. If this becomes popular service providers like shipping lines will find themselves dealing with customers that have their own data on performance with regard to temperature control.

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