10 Things You Should Know About Dry Shippers Before Shipping High Value Biologics, Part II

Posted by Dan H. O'Donnell on Oct 1, 2013 4:15:00 PM

In the second part of this blog, I will discuss the remaining 5 common misconceptions I have encountered when using a dry shipper (if you haven't already read the first part of the blog, you can click here).  


(Download)Dry Shipper InfoPoster resized 600

  1.    Orientation matters

While most organizations test their dry shippers before using them, the tests tend to be in an upright position with little or no movement. In transit the dewar can assume many different orientations ranging from upright to upside down and everything in between. This has a major impact on static hold time. A dry shipper on its side can lose as much as 60% of its hold time in a few hours. A large dry shipper transported upside down for even a few hours can go from days of hold time to hours.


cell therapy custom racking system

7. There are no style points in the shipping business

Moving material by air or truck is about speed and efficiency not handling. It does not matter which carrier or “white glove” service you use, the number of labels and warnings you affix or the assurances you receive. It does not matter if the dewar will be kept upright but how long will it be on its side or upside down.



  1. A good shipping rack is a great investment

In the struggle to keep material cold you must insure the material is not damaged in transit.  Whether you are shipping vials, bags or pre-fills material chilled to cryogenic temperatures is vulnerable. A good solution involves minimizing movement during shipment and a great solution involves eliminating movement. The best way to do that is to use a custom rack.


cold chain dry shipper

  1.  Avoid temperature excursions when shipping by air

Because nitrogen vents in small amounts from a dry-shipper in cannot be a sealed unit. Because it is not a sealed unit it is subject to in-gassing during cabin pressurization and depressurization. This creates two problems: First, you can jeopardize the integrity of the material being shipped or second, you can get temperature excursion alarms from your data logger.  The solution is proper payload location, proper probe location and proper baffling and packaging.

  1.  If you are not familiar with shipping at cryogenic temperatures contact a specialist

I do this for a living and I still learn something new every day. A ten minute phone conversation can save you a great deal pain and suffering not to mention time and cost. I hope you have found these tips of value. As the use of dry shipper increases the more knowledge you have, the better prepared you will be to face shipping challenges in the present and future. If you are seeking additional information about this topic, please checkout our ebooks on "Commercially Successful Therapies: Navigating the Ultra Cold Chain Distribution Minefield" and "Cold Chain Qualification: 5 Questions You Must Ask When Shipping Biologics". The first takes a look at the challenges in the storage and distribution of high value biologics and the second written by Praveen Bezwada-Joseph, Director of Validation Services, discusses the need and requirements in qualifying shipping solutions for all temperature ranges.  If you have any questions pertaining to this topic feel free to email me. 


What is your biggest challenge when using the dry shipper or a data logger? We would love to hear your stories. Feel free to use the comment section below.

We've also crafted a nice InfoPoster containing the 10 things I've discussed in this two part blog so that you can download, print, or share with your friends and colleagues:

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Download InfoPoster