News & Insights
Case study: transforming pharmaceutical logistics with AELER's smart containers

Case study: transforming pharmaceutical logistics with AELER's smart containers

May 22, 2024
Aeler logo icon
May 22, 2024

Controlling temperatures during shipping is a fundamental challenge for pharmaceuticals, particularly for those products that do not require active cooling but still need stable temperature conditions. To address this, a leading pharmaceutical company has chosen AELER to transition from traditional refrigerated containers (reefers) to innovative Unit One smart containers for certain products. This strategic move underscores the company's commitment to enhancing the integrity and operational efficiency of transporting pharmaceuticals that do not need constant cooling, yet benefit significantly from minimal temperature variations.

Client overview: the company is a global leader in the pharmaceutical industry, renowned for its transformative innovative solutions. It has a significant presence across various major disease areas, reflecting its commitment to innovation and excellence in healthcare. The company requested that the case study remain anonymous.


The company aimed to achieve three primary goals through working with AELER:

  1. To maintain the temperature of their products within a desired range across different geographical temperature zones.
  2. To reduce CO2 emissions.
  3. To decrease transportation costs.

The decision to adopt Unit One - the only container of its type on the market - was driven by its advanced insulation technology, which effectively mitigates temperature fluctuations. This technology is ideal for shipping pharmaceuticals that do not require the continuous cooling typical of reefers. This shift marked a pivotal move towards enhancing the efficiency and sustainability of transporting temperature-sensitive pharmaceuticals that need stable conditions rather than active cooling, showcasing a proactive step in redefining the industry's standards for maintaining product integrity during shipping.

Breakthroughs in pharmaceutical logistics: exceeding goals

The collaboration between the pharmaceutical company and AELER yielded outstanding results, surpassing the initial goals.

Temperature integrity

First and foremost, AELER's smart containers consistently maintained the desired temperature for the entire duration of trips across different geographical temperature zones. This achievement not only demonstrated the containers' superior capability in handling sensitive cargo with precise temperature and humidity control but also affirmed their reliability in ensuring pharmaceutical product integrity.

Figure 1: the temperature of the shipment which remained below the maximum temperature throughout transit.

18% Co2 reduction

The partnership achieved an 18% CO2 emissions reduction on specific trade lanes by switching to AELER's containers, thanks to two key factors. First, AELER's containers can hold more cargo, reducing the number of trips needed and conserving energy. Second, these containers are lighter than traditional reefers, further decreasing the energy required for transportation. Together, these improvements significantly lower CO2 emissions.

21% reduction in logistics costs

Finally, transitioning to AELER's advanced insulated containers translated into significant cost savings. By moving away from traditional refrigerated units to AELER's motor-less, insulated containers specifically designed for products not needing constant refrigeration, the company gained an 11% increase in container space and saw a 21% reduction in logistics costs, streamlining operations and enhancing the efficiency of pharmaceutical logistics.

Additional milestones: enhanced container availability and full end-to-end visibility

Container availability & utilisation

Beyond meeting the initial goals, the partnership between the pharmaceutical company and AELER led to several additional achievements that further transformed the logistics landscape. One notable improvement was in container availability and utilisation. The company overcame previous challenges related to the availability of reefers and detention inefficiencies, thanks to AELER's innovative container-as-a-service business model where containers are picked up from one of the 35 global depots, used as needed and then returned to the closest depot. This model guarantees container availability and offers unmatched flexibility, optimising logistics operations.

End-to-end visibility

Another significant advancement was improving supply chain visibility. Control Tower - AELER’s online container tracking platform - offered the company end-to-end visibility and control over both the container and cargo condition. This capability is especially crucial in the pharmaceutical industry, where strict regulations and quality standards necessitate precise monitoring and management of product conditions throughout the supply chain. These extra achievements underscore the transformative impact of AELER's technology on enhancing operational efficiency, sustainability, and compliance in pharmaceutical logistics.

Charting the future of pharmaceutical logistics: embracing innovation for a sustainable tomorrow

This case study represents a pivotal shift towards enhanced control within logistics, leveraging the module present at every stage in the supply chain: the container. By addressing the industry's pressing issues of traceability and reliability, a natively insulated smart container not only enhances safety but also sets a new standard for pharmaceutical transportation of products that do not require active cooling but still need stable temperature conditions.

Seamlessly integrating technology and ease of use, AELER's Unit One establishes a safer and highly efficient system poised to shape the future of pharmaceutical transportation. Its impact will undoubtedly play a crucial role in shaping the future landscape of pharmaceutical logistics.

Join our community and receive our latest resources regularly.

Thank you for signing up to our newsletter!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
By signing up you agree to our Privacy Policy.