Best Practices for Safe Nutraceutical & Pharmaceutical Shipping

Some types of freight require specialized care. Shippers of nutraceuticals (FDA approved health vitamins and supplements) and pharmaceuticals have unique concerns including the safe transport of raw materials to their manufacturing plants and then onward transport to distributor and retail destinations.

The challenge for manufacturers and distributors of nutraceuticals and pharmaceuticals is that they are required to adhere to the Government’s Current Good Manufacturing Practices safe handling regulations for these consumable products.  

Beginning with the rigorous testing of the raw materials used in the manufacture of nutraceuticals and pharmaceuticals to ensure purity and lack of any toxins or adverse components, producers must also take into consideration the shipping method and carrier chosen when transporting raw materials to ensure that their products will be safe for human consumption.

Shipping & Handling CGMP Products

The Government’s Current Good Manufacturing Practices, or CGMP regulations, requires manufacturers of nutraceuticals, supplements, vitamins, and pharmaceuticals to ensure the safety of their products starting with the raw materials. 

Per Code of Federal Regulations § 111.455 Section C: manufacturers “must hold components, dietary supplements, packaging, and labels under conditions that do not lead to the mixup, contamination, or deterioration of components, dietary supplements, packaging, and labels.”

Shipping the materials and final products must be done in a way that maintains appropriate temperature, humidity, and light conditions so that the identity, purity, strength, and composition of the raw materials and finished products are not affected.

This includes the packaging and labels, which also must not be adversely affected.

Transport carriers who are well-versed and experienced in nutraceutical shipping and pharmaceutical shipping know the most efficient ways to move raw materials and finished goods so that the producers can efficiently transport their product while ensuring compliance with product safety regulations.

Nutraceuticals and Pharmaceuticals Have Sensitive Supply Chain Shipping Timelines

The raw materials used to manufacture nutraceuticals and pharmaceuticals typically need to be transported quickly to their manufacturing destination after initial sourcing. Raw materials used as consumables must be stored and transported in conditions that will not negatively impact the materials. 

For products manufactured within the United States, some materials are sourced in-country and others are imported. Partnering with a carrier that is experienced in intermodal logistics goes a long way to ensuring safe and secure handling of these materials.

Once the raw materials are processed and formed into their ultimate product, the next phase of transport typically requires shipping to a packaging or distribution center for final delivery. Once products are ready for this phase, using a carrier that has the experience to handle these sensitive finished goods efficiently is a must for complying with CGMP.

Shipping Nutraceuticals and Pharmaceuticals

FTL shipping for nutraceuticals and pharmaceuticals

For large amounts of freight, choosing FTL shipping, or full truckload shipping, is an economical way to ship from pickup point to destination. FTL will also ensure that your shipment is the only one on the truck so there will be no mixing of freight that could endanger the raw materials, the finished product, or result in lost or missing freight.

FTL also offers the benefit of faster delivery as there are no stops in between pickup and delivery. For these special, sensitive freight items, FTL is a safe way to ship. 

LTL shipping for nutraceuticals and pharmaceuticals

Not all shipments require a full truckload. Some freight may just be one or two pallets, in which case, choosing LTL shipping is the most cost effective manner of shipping. For LTL shipments, it is very important that your carrier is well-versed in the transport of nutraceuticals and pharmaceuticals as they will understand the need for safe and secure handling with efficient pickup and delivery processes. 

Intermodal rail shipping for nutraceuticals and pharmaceuticals

Large freight shipments that qualify for FTL may be better served using intermodal rail for faster delivery and further cost savings. Very large freight shipments that might take multiple FTL deliveries, are candidates for intermodal rail depending on where the shipments are going. 

Consider intermodal rail for coast-to-coast and large international shipments.

Special Handling for Nutraceutical and Pharmaceutical Shipping

After hours deliveries

For some nutraceutical and pharmaceutical deliveries, special handling may be required to accommodate after hours delivery times including weekends. Because the products are sensitive in nature, fast delivery from manufacturing or distribution center to retail location is a must. The need to make deliveries outside of normal business hours requires a carrier that is able to handle those special requests.

Lift gate handling

Nutraceutical and pharmaceutical shipments frequently require lift gate service, especially at the delivery point. Not all retail locations have loading and unloading docks, especially in city centers. For smaller shipments of a pallet or less, the need for a carrier that offers lift gate service may be required. 

Pharmaceutical shipments, in particular, require an experienced carrier that can navigate the variety of delivery points including hospitals, personal care centers, medical facilities, biotechnology companies, and medical device manufacturers.

Marine port and airport handling

Some shipments may require special handing either in or out of a marine terminal or at an airport. Carriers with experience navigating these types of locations are an added benefit for shippers.

Warehouse staging

Staging raw materials in a warehouse needs to ensure a safe, secure and temperature controlled environment. Any staging should be turned around as quickly as possible to minimize impact on the materials or products.

The Best Carriers for Shipping Nutraceuticals and Pharmaceuticals

For the greatest level of safety and security of your nutraceutical and pharmaceutical freight shipments, choosing one carrier that can handle LTL, FTL, intermodal as well as logistics and brokerage, is the best choice.

There are advantages to using one carrier that has the experience transporting raw materials and packaging supplies to the manufacturing site and then, from there, on to the distribution center where the finished product is allocated to multiple retailers or distributors for delivery.

By scheduling all phases of transport through one carrier, your purchasing and shipping departments will receive the benefit of streamlined communication. Building a relationship with one carrier who can handle all aspects of your shipments provides the surety you need to  confidently move raw materials and product on the strict timelines that nutraceutical and pharmaceutical products require.

By working with one carrier that can handle all aspects of the supply chain logistics, shippers also benefit from cost savings and faster delivery – both important factors to consider for optimal product margins.

Choose On Track for Your Nutraceutical & Pharmaceutical Transportation & Logistics

At On Track Freight Systems, we strive to make shipping your nutraceuticals and pharmaceuticals affordable and easy. Since 1991, we’ve provided fast and streamlined logistics and trucking services to the industry along with our intermodal, logistics, and brokerage services through our robust network of premium partners. Our decades-long track record of handling sensitive freight has provided us with a unique capability that average carriers simply do not have.

We make it easy to work with us and even offer an online tool to request rate quotes, schedule pickups, and track shipments real-time. 

We offer same day pickups and next day delivery service within the New York/New Jersey metro area.

Contact On Track Freight Systems where we work with our clients and vendors to handle any special appointment accommodations for nutraceutical and pharmaceutical shipments.