Wednesday, February 12, 2014

UPS acquires Polar Speed

UPS has added to its healthcare logistics capabilities by purchasing UK-based Polar Speed. Polar Speed is a temperature-controlled pharmaceutical logistics company that delivers parcels and bulk pallets on behalf of pharmaceutical manufacturing customers throughout mostly the UK. It also offers home-delivery services, delivers to hospitals, clinical trials, warehousing and storage and provides NHS services.

According to its website, Polar Speed has a fleet of over 120 multi-temperature vehicles at 16 depots across the UK. It also has a 40,000 sq. ft. chilled and temperature-controlled warehouse facility. 

The company notes it delivers across Europe via its own vehicles as well as through a partnership it has with Pharmafreight that arranges deliveries into Europe. In fact, Pharmafreight has capabilities to arrange deliveries throughout much of the world.

Among the many benefits this latest acquisition brings to UPS are Polar Speed's apparent strong book of business and its technology offerings.

The acquisition comes with an impressive list of clients including:

  • Abbott
  • Baxter
  • Henry Schein
  • Hospira
  • Roche
  • Sanofi

It also comes with nice technology that can be beneficial to UPS. Included in its technology is its PolarTrack web portal which allows customers to track bar-coded consignments geographically, monitor POD information as well as check on-board temperature readings all in real-time anywhere across Europe.

"The acquisition will help UPS meet the needs of healthcare customers who want to reach the important U.K. market offering increased value in managing more flexible and efficient healthcare supply chains," said Cindy Miller, President UPS Europe. "Our combined services will ensure healthcare companies have access to the best temperature-sensitive transportation solutions and allow us to effectively handle the rising demand for temperature-sensitive pharmaceutical and biologic products."

Indeed, according to its press release, UPS's healthcare reach and expertise in Europe now includes dedicated healthcare distribution centers in the Benelux area, Central and Eastern Europe, Southern Europe, the Iberian Peninsula and the United Kingdom.

The European healthcare logistics market is a highly competitive with the likes of DHL, TNT, FedEx and numerous niche players already in the space. In order to be successful, knowledge and adherence to the intricate regulatory requirements for each European country and the EU is necessary. This latest acquisition should benefit UPS by not only bringing a strong client list but also for its logistics skill and knowledge of the regulatory environment in the UK.