DB Schenker Expands Indianapolis Logistics Hub
May 19, 2021
Schenker covers all the bases for health care, vaccine and pharmaceutical
companies that need end-to-end cold storage for critical products being shipped
between the U.S. and Europe.
Ready to assist the world’s pharmaceutical and health care companies get their
temperature-sensitive products to patients quickly and safely, DB Schenker
Americas has expanded its existing Indianapolis logistics facility to include a
new 5,000sf cold room and 50,000sf of controlled room temperature space.
The expanded facility supports the pharmaceutical industry’s growing need for
temperature-controlled logistics space. By building the additions in
Indianapolis, DB Schenker can leverage a less-congested U.S. airport to fly
direct to-and-from Luxembourg via its own-controlled flights.
With an eye on sustainability, the global logistics provider has also added
state-of-the-art refrigerated trucks (“reefers”) for the transport of
pharmaceutical, vaccine and health care products. Equipped with electric standby
capabilities, these vehicles can be plugged into an outlet and turned off when
they aren’t moving.
Major Centers of Pharmaceutical Activity
With both Indianapolis and Luxembourg serving as major centers of pharmaceutical
manufacturing activity, the newly-expanded Indianapolis facility now
incorporates 9,000sf of +2C to +8C space; 100,000 of +15C to +25C space, and
dedicated capacity on DB Schenker’s own-controlled flights to and from
Luxembourg. All of those flights feature dedicated, temperature-controlled
Good Distribution Practice-compliant, the facility moves freight within the
temperature-controlled rooms before loading onto the aircraft for shipping. Once
onsite, the storage of the controlled products can be mapped and validated
according to WHO guidelines, and value-added services can be performed right
within the cold environment.
For example, DB Schenker employees can replenish a shipment’s dry ice, apply
thermal blankets to the cargo, put ULS thermal covers on the shipments, or
otherwise provide an additional layer of protection (i.e., temperature or GPS
“We’ve covered all of the bases from a compliance perspective,” said Benno
Forster, Senior Vice President, Head of Operations and Procurement, Americas at
DB Schenker, “while also giving health care and pharmaceutical companies an
end-to-end solution that’s fully temperature controlled from door-to-door.”
Keeping Everything Cold, all the Time
Designed to incorporate airplane pallets within the designated temperature
zones, the facility’s cold rooms enable just-in-time freight loading without
ever exposing the products to room or warm temperatures.
Benjamin Zervas, Head of Airfreight Management Healthcare, Americas at DB
Schenker, said the company’s decision to expand the Indianapolis facility was
strategic and based on its geographic location.
“As the major airports in the U.S. become more congested, smaller airports like
Indianapolis and Luxembourg have become more suitable for moving freight,” said
Zervas. “We can move directly from the tarmac to our facility without a grand
handler, thus reducing the loading or unloading times down to just about 15
By using a cargo airport hub, DB Schenker rarely (if ever) has to wait to take
off, land, or load/unload freight. This is a particularly important point in
today’s capacity-constrained transportation environment, where having an
own-controlled fleet can significantly speed up the safe transfer of goods
between the U.S. and Luxembourg.
“One of the main reasons we’re using own-controlled air freight is because it
allows us to commit to our pharmaceutical customers for the longer-term,” said
Forster. “If we didn’t take this route, our own services would be dependent on
our carriers’ schedule changes and other nuances.”
End-to-End Logistics for Health Care
Built in 2006, DB Schenker’s Indianapolis logistics hub has been modified over
the years to accommodate customers’ needs. “Our goal is to support the growing
demand for stricter, temperature-controlled shipments, including vaccine
transport and health care supply chains,” Zervas said. “Especially during the
pandemic, we see many pharmaceutical companies striving to serve patients
quicker and more accurately.”
Schenker also has a major presence in Luxembourg, where it serves a wide variety
of pharmaceutical customers with its end-to-end logistics and supply chain
offerings. “Health care companies need logistics providers that can deliver high
quality, sustainable services within a temperature-controlled setting,” said
Forster. “Our expanded Indianapolis facility addresses all three of these needs
Current investments made at the Indianapolis facility are part of DB Schenker’s
ongoing engagement in the Healthcare Logistics space. Its vertical market
focused solution DB SCHENKERlife+ includes a full suite of transportation and
logistics services, extensive global network, strict adherence to local and
international compliance, and superior end-to-end visibility. These services
enable our clients’ supply chains with agility, control, and speed to market.
Our more than 75,000 DB Schenker employees worldwide, are working relentlessly
around the clock to ensure precious and often life-saving shipments get to where
they need to be – securely, at the right temperature, and on time. From
biopharmaceuticals to medical devices, from PPE to blood plasma, DB SCHENKERlife+
delivers reliability for customers across the industry, including Biopharma,
Pharmaceuticals, Animal Health, MedTech, and Consumer Health & Nutrition. Giving
our customers peace of mind knowing we have been delivering reliable solutions
for our life science customers globally for decades.