Cool Chain

SkyCell says study finds its containers ‘significantly’ cut carbon footprint of pharma shipments

Pharmaceutical air freight container provider SkyCell says a study by internationally-renowned foundation myclimate shows its containers are almost cutting in half the CO2 emissions per air cargo shipment.

In a life-cycle analysis, the climate protection partnership compared SkyCell 2500 and 1500 containers with a commonly used competitors’ product, analysing the CO2-footprint on typical cool chain routes as well as the emissions caused from manufacturing until decommissioning of the containers.

Swiss-based non-profit organization, myclimate’s leader of resource efficiency, Bettina Kahlert said: “It can be stated that the big SkyCell 2500 container with a high interior transport volume performs best when looking at the entire life-cycle of the product and shipment, followed by the smaller SkyCell 1500.”

The objective of the ‘Comparative Carbon Footprint Study’ was to compare SkyCell Container solutions for the transport of pharma products in the temperature range 2-8°C with conventional passive solutions.

All processes from manufacturing, preconditioning, to transport and end-of-life were analysed from cradle-to-grave in order to evaluate the CO2 footprint of the temperature-controlled containers holistically.

The study compared the Global Warming Potential (GWP) of two SkyCell containers (SkyCell 1500, SkyCell 2500) to other commonly used solutions. All three units are designed for cold chain shipments of the pharmaceutical industry.

SkyCell chief technology officer, Nico Ross (pictured left) said: “We initiated the study, because it has been our goal right from the start to develop and run the most efficient and safest pharma container system worldwide. We wanted to verify this from an independent and trustworthy source like myclimate.”

Experts at myclimate analysed in detail not only the fuel consumption in air transport on typical routes, but also the complete life-cycle of transport containers.

Using the ecoinvent database (, the environmental impact of transporting SkyCell containers was assessed and compared to a commonly used solution.

The database allows the calculation of the exact environmental impact (energy consumption, carbon dioxide, polluting emissions) of transports.

Kahlert added: “From our analysis, we conclude that the C02 emissions can be significantly reduced with containers that are optimized for weight-volume ratio such as SkyCells.

SkyCell chief executive officer, Richard Ettl said: “It makes us proud that our work to develop the containers has paid off. It is our mission to provide the most reliable and environment-friendly transport solutions for temperature-sensitive shipments and the study by myclimate shows that we have achieved this.

“We will keep improving our technology and services in order to eliminate product loss due to temperature excursions and to better protect our climate.”