Pharmaceutical shipping container management with Zenatek ZTS

products-servicesZENATEK S.a.r.l
July 10th 2020

The pharmaceutical industry has to exercise particularly close management over container shipping consignments for several reasons.

In the first place, pharma consignments have extremely high values and have to be protected against tampering.

Secondly, increased emphasis on track and trace regulations and Good Distribution Practice (GDP) increases need for real time monitoring, end-to-end documentation and historic journey data.

Third is the relentless rise in cool chain logistics for vaccines and biologically derived drugs, to the point that it is now estimated that seven out of 10 pharma products require temperature controlled shipping.

The need to achieve economies of scale has increased uptake of pharma shipping in standard-sized ISO insulated containers or ‘reefer’ refrigerated containers for drug or other medical consignments. Such containers are suitable for very long distance shipments using combinations of truck, rail or sea transport.

However, use of containers for pharma shipments merely increases the logistics management challenge since the overall duration of journey and climatic variations are both increased , increasing potential for holdups, temperature excursions or handling accidents, and making real time monitoring and location tracking more difficult.

Container tracking solutions

There are a range of logistics management solutions available, but very few suitable for pharma container shipments.

While third-party cargo container line tracking track and trace sites offer container lookup based on standard 11-place container number scheme (XXXU1234567),  these will only provide a small part of the picture.

Crucially, these all cargo container and ocean container tracking facilities cannot provide temperature data, nor can they help secure valuable shipments. Furthermore,  container number tracking is largely based on the shipping company’s own data, which in turn are largely based on last recorded shipment stage and nominal location, based on holding depot or vessel.  It is likely that while in transit by rail or on a shipping container truck, location and other data will not be recorded at all.

In short, the container number can only give you an approximate answer to any container enquiry, providing approximate container location, with no insight into the condition of the contents, real time location or documented historical container information.

The ZTD/ZTS solution

The revolutionary Zenatek Tracking System (ZTS) solution can keep a real-time protective watch over pharma container shipments from end to end, monitoring temperature-sensitive drugs from loading to final destination, providing a comprehensive solution to risks of temperature and humidity excursions, damage or tampering during pharmaceutical shipments that can have potentially catastrophic consequences for quality and compliance.

Because the system incorporates advanced communications and GPS monitoring technology, it delivers the useful added bonus of being able to monitor geographical position and progress of the consignment in real time over all stages of the journey, from loading to arrival.

Through a multiple mapping solution via a web-based tracking portal, the position of the tracking device can be located to within meters. Each unique user has access to the ZTS portal, enabling them to view the real-time location and where the shipment has been, in less than a few minutes, the container tracking device is attached to the container doors by three powerful magnets or easily attached to a pallet and/or box thanks to an adhesive pad.

The tracking device sends data frequently, which means it does not need to be retrieved or interrogated at destination, as all the journey information has already been uploaded via the Zenatek server to owner’s system . The device has typical battery life of around one year. Number of daily reports can also be altered according to users’ requirements at each stage of forwarding.

ICT architecture

ZTS was designed to provide cargo tracking and monitoring at an affordable price, while providing what is needed by the user: effective tracking and monitoring of location, temperature balances and unscheduled events. It allows detailed container inquiry and overview of assets while in transit, providing real-time information to any internet-connected computer or mobile device via live GPS/GSM internet provided through close partnership with a major international provider.

It is a comprehensive, self-contained service based on Internet of Things (IoT) architecture  that includes a device that can be positioned without tools internally within a container, attached to pallet or to individual carton.

Alerts are sent via GPRS to named addressees who can receive notifications by email on PC or mobile devices. The user is able to log in with an encrypted password and ID to view the cargo’s position and determine the type of alert.

Real-time logistics data is available as soon as the device has been installed. The client may store import container tracking information and attached documentation within the Zenatek web-based application, such as packing lists, bills of lading and sanitary certificates, which can be retrieved and downloaded with log in by client’s agent at the destination.

ZTS capabilities

ZTS ensures shipments are delivered safely and on schedule. It can determine and trace all shipment routes, and send immediate alerts if something unexpected happens For instance, it will alert the user if container doors or pallet seals are subjected to tampering, or flag up any risks to which goods may have been subjected. ZTS also informs clients if a container or pallet is involved in a violent incident.

There are available on the market several types of systems equipped with GPS transmitter, but nothing of same quality performance and affordable price.

The system can provide a full record of the whole transit history, providing enormous quantities of useful data for statistical, efficiency and quality analysis. The system can also confirm return of containers to the shipping company, avoiding unjustified demurrages.

Real-time information on the status of shipments and immediate alerts on incidents as they happen provides owners with control of the situation, allowing effective and prompt remedial action, such as reshipping if necessary.


Click on Zenatek Tracking System for detailed service information.
Click on ZTS to view video.

Pharmaceutical shipping container management with Zenatek ZTS
Pharmaceutical shipping container management with Zenatek ZTS

The ZTS tracking device can be attached to any metallic surface