Challenge: Civil unrest in Ukraine has been escalating for months. The current situation throughout the country makes it a very challenging and potentially dangerous destination for the delivery of goods.

Under normal circumstances, ground and air transport are both viable options for the shipment of medical supplies and investigational drugs to Ukraine, but its current turbulent state has greatly disrupted lines of transportation. Many roads are blocked or have restricted access, and there are large numbers of delayed and cancelled flights.

However, despite the political situation, clinical trials run based on clear protocols and on time delivery of the investigational drugs to the investigator and the patients is crucial.

Solution: While air transport may be considered a swift solution for long distance shipments, it actually consists of much more than just a quick flight. It involves a number of links in a logistics chain, including collections and deliveries by road, unloading and reloading at airports and storage in customs sheds. Each of these steps combined can add up to a longer delivery period than a direct door to door drive.

Additionally, the temperature stability of active containers held at airport Customs is reliant on stable power supplies and continuity of good local management. These circumstances cannot currently be guaranteed in Ukraine due to the unstable situation and civil insurgence.

For more than 30 years, Marken has been making pan European long distance drives of temperature controlled material. The rising political and civil disorder in Ukraine has brought a renewed attention to the advantages of the direct drive model.

The benefit of a temperature controlled vehicle is that temperature sensitive materials are loaded at the shipper and unloaded at the consignee. Materials remain in a secure and stable environment throughout transport. If the vehicle is held at the border or encounters other delays, a separately powered compressor maintains the continuous temperature stability of the shipment.   

In the case of Marken’s recent shipment of 10 pallets of medical supply kits, weighing nearly 2 tons,  from the United Kingdom to Kiev, Ukraine,  the temperature controlled vehicle arrived at the loading point in the U.K. with the cargo bay temperature conditioned to 2 – 8c.  The drive across Western Europe to the Poland / Ukraine border was achieved in two days. Documentation had been pre-checked by the Ukraine authorities to ensure accuracy and compliance. Processing at the border for permission to enter Ukraine took about 4 hours. 

The temperature controlled vehicle’s movements were tracked by satellite throughout the transit period. The driver kept in constant contact with the Marken fleet controller, and security seals on the vehicle remained intact throughout the journey. Temperature of the material storage area in the vehicle was continuously monitored both remotely and in the drivers cab.

As is standard Marken procedure for long distance drives, secure rest and refuelling areas were pre-identified, and the driver strictly adhered to the carefully planned itinerary. Marken took additional safely precautions by employing armed guards at all truck parks.

As part of the complex planning of this shipment, a project team of Marken experts was brought together from a number of speciality areas, including regulatory, commercial, operational and quality to consider and prepare for every possible contingency. Local Marken personnel on the ground in Ukraine created a security evaluation report for the London based project team, which included contingency plans for any necessary in-transit rerouting. Absolutely nothing was left to chance.

The project team prepared and shared a detailed risk assessment with the client. The client was kept fully informed, and their participation and confidence in the process was essential. During the plan’s execution, twice daily progress assessments were communicated to both the Marken project group and to the client, and any concerns were immediately addressed. 

 Outcome: Marken’s highly detailed planning proved invaluable as all potential hazards and delays were avoided for this shipment. The Marken team transported drugs from Wales to France to Belgium, through Germany and Poland and crossed the Ukrainian border at Dorohusk. The shipment cleared customs at Kharkov, and was driven on to Kiev and safely deposited in the Ukraine depot. Temperature recorders showed nearly perfect temperature control during the timely transport period, and patient visits were able to begin on schedule.

Marken’s use of ingenuity and good management using its proven direct long distance drive model delivered an exemplary service to a very grateful client. Other clients have since requested Marken use the same logistics plan for their bulk shipments of multiple pallets to Kiev. Two more successful shipments have been made, and planning for others is underway.

Marken makes it happen!