RNC Pharma: Pharmaceutical Logistics Operators Deal with Shortages of Storage Capacities and Experienced Personnel
At the onset of the crisis in the spring 2022, a number of foreign manufacturers took a wait-and-see attitude, since it was not clear at the time in which ways they could continue working in Russia and whether it would be possible to work at all. Both various marketing activities and relations with wholesale and retail partners were suspended. As a result, the number of logistics operations went down, which led to the share of vacant space in the warehouse market in 2022 increasing to 7–10%. In order to minimize costs, certain logistics companies had to enter the sublease market, offering vacant capacities at prices often below the level of profitability.
While the pause ended rather quickly, the market had to see a dangerous lull for a couple of months. This atmosphere of uncertainty let Russian companies launch a huge number of activities, and they were even able to get ahead of the foreign manufacturers in certain areas. That also pushed the foreign companies to resume various activities, which required new logistics routes, among other things, and larger storage capacities. At the same time, the restrictions on international logistics changed the geography of imports; in a very short period of time, imports from the west had to be reoriented to the south and the Far East. Since the throughput capacity of these transport corridors is relatively low, the goods accumulated, but it takes time to build all the necessary infrastructure. This concerned ready-made drugs to a lesser extent, while raw materials, industrial and storage equipment, etc. were difficult to import.
In 2023, the loading of logistics operators in the pharmaceutical market went back to normal, and there are very few vacant storage capacities at the moment. Naturally, the rates increased, leading to a price increase of 40–50%, and, apparently, prices will continue to rise next year. That is a result of the higher cost of building warehouses and slower commissioning of new facilities, accompanied by shortages of storage capacities. In addition, there is a shortage of personnel and significantly higher average payroll costs.
Despite working with only 45 partners, among which are large pharmaceutical companies, Tablogix tops the pharmaceutical logistics operator ranking in terms of revenue in 2022. In terms of temperature storage conditions, basic logistics, and warehouse services, NC Logistic and Transservis top the ranking, since both companies have the opportunity to work with five different temperature conditions, in particular, with products that must be stored at a temperature not higher than –18⁰C. NC Logistic tops the comprehensive rating of logistics operators (see Tab.) with 69 points. Yet, the top three companies are very close to one another, with only tenths of a point between them.
Tab. Comprehensive ranking of logistics operators in the Russian pharmaceutical market in 2022