Supply Chain News / 3PLs & 4PLs / Economic Development

UPS Purchases U.K. Healthcare Logistics Innovator

UPS acquires Polar Speed and expands its specialized healthcare network and enhances temperature-sensitive solutions.

UPS announced it has completed the purchase of U.K.-based Polar Speed, an innovative provider of temperature-sensitive pharmaceutical supply chain solutions in the U.K. The acquisition further strengthens UPS's healthcare network across Europe, providing healthcare companies access to a single source for logistics across the continent.

The purchase is part of UPS's successful healthcare strategy and brings new value to customers in this growing market. Polar Speed is recognized for its commitment to pharmaceutical logistics customers. It specializes in active temperature-controlled deliveries to hospitals, pharmacies, wholesalers and surgery centers as well as end-patients. Polar Speed also offers unique capabilities within the growing homecare direct-to-consumer delivery market. Its customers include some of the best known pharmaceutical brands in the world.

"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."

"Our organization is extremely excited to join forces with UPS," said Richard Holmes, managing director of Polar Speed. "With our combined solutions, we will continue to provide high-quality service to our customers, and at the same time provide our employees opportunities to help build on the growth momentum UPS has realized in the healthcare market."

Polar Speed utilizes a fleet of 118 actively monitored temperature-controlled vehicles for transporting both 2 to 8 C refrigerated and 15 to 25 C products in accordance with U.K.'s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) guidelines. The fleet is outfitted with sophisticated technology, including on-board temperature recorders and alarms to alert drivers of potential temperature excursions as well as a PolarTrack, an online portal linked to a satellite navigation system allowing customers to access real-time delivery status and temperature conditions of their products.

This acquisition adds three facilities with advanced warehousing management systems, full quality assurance services, and an experienced workforce to UPS's existing global healthcare network, now totaling 45 healthcare facilities. 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. UPS alleviates logistics cost pressures for healthcare companies via regional consolidation and distribution while providing greater visibility across their healthcare product supply chain.

"Polar Speed is an excellent strategic and operational fit for UPS because of its focus on quality assurance, compliance, technology and monitoring solutions to protect high-value and sensitive pharmaceuticals during storage and transportation," said Miller. Polar Speed's services include pallet and small package delivery, warehousing and distribution, onsite pharmacy services for dispensing patient prescriptions, and a home delivery service for approved patients.
Merrill Lynch International (Bank of America Merrill Lynch), a subsidiary of Bank of America Corporation, acted exclusively for UPS in connection with this transaction. Terms of this acquisition are not being disclosed.

The announcement follows UPS's acquisition of Hungary-based pharmaceutical logistics company, CEMELOG, the opening of a healthcare facility in Hangzhou, China, and the expansion of six UPS healthcare facilities across North America in 2013. 

UPS delivers value to healthcare companies through a broad portfolio of specialized freight, small package transportation, and warehousing and distribution services. UPS's healthcare network offers services such as temperature-sensitive handling, geographic-specific regulatory compliance, monitoring and security, kitting and labeling, as well as order management and accounts receivable. Services across all locations are accessible via one global IT order management platform. UPS helps healthcare manufacturers meet stringent and often complex regulatory requirements, provides flexibility for a changing business environment and reliably serves an increasingly global customer base.

More information on UPS's broad healthcare logistics capabilities

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