First Customs Clearance of Medical Products Transported by Air and Railway Transportation in Western China

From Chengdu to the World: Making Chengdu a Node City for International Biomedical Supply Chain
Opening Ceremony of Chengdu Global Biomedical Supply Chain Service Center in Chengdu Tianfu International Bio-town

On April 15, the Opening Ceremony of Chengdu Global Biomedical Supply Chain Service Center and the First Customs Clearance of Medical Products was held in Chengdu Tianfu International Bio-town, and the first batch of medical products of Allergan plc, a multinational medical enterprise, was cleared in Chengdu. This is the first time that a multinational enterprise has chosen to have its products transported by air and railway cleared in Chengdu, and it is also the first case in Western China that medical products have been cleared through air and railway transportation, which marks the official launching of the Global Biomedical Supply Chain Service Center built in Chengdu and its capabilities to serve the world.

The medical products in connection with this customs clearance is worth more than CNY 100 million. Those products transported by railway cleared, which were exported from Ireland to Chengdu, crossed the English Channel to Netherlands, and then travelled across Europe and Central Asia and entered into China’s Alataw Pass through Chengdu-Europe Express Railway for the first time.

Wang Wei, Global Vice President of Allergan plc and President of Allergan Greater China, said, “The reason why we chose Chengdu to have our products cleared is that we think Chengdu has many advantages as a node city. It enjoys broad traffic and market coverage in Southwestern China.” Allergan entered China in 2009, and had its Innovation Center launched in Chengdu High-tech Industrial Development Zone in 2018. On the same day, the Agreement of Allergan China Drug Trade Headquarters was entered into by and between Chengdu High-tech Industrial Development Zone and Allergan, under which Allergan will accelerate the entry of its world-leading innovative products into China.

Chengdu attaches great importance to the construction and development of the supply chain for multinational enterprises and proposes “the construction of an international logistics distribution system based on supply chain”. In recent years, Chengdu has responded positively to China’s “Belt and Road” Initiative. As a national central city with the shortest distance to Europe, Chengdu has set up an efficient, flexible and low-cost global distribution network based on multinational enterprises’ demands and on international flights and trains, and has made great efforts to build a global distribution hub for manufacturing enterprises and a global regional distribution hub for distribution enterprises serving Pan Asia.

Chengdu Global Biomedical Supply Chain Service Center is the hub of medical supply chain built by Chengdu with a focus on the world, and is also an important part of the construction of bio-industry ecosystem in Chengdu. Chengdu, by making the functional areas for the biomedical industry (such as Chengdu Tianfu International Bio-town) the support pillar and taking the Global Biomedical Supply Chain Service Center as a platform, will build the first “housekeeping” full-chain service system centering on biomedical industry in China which integrates the five major functions of “customs clearance, trade, finance, logistics and intermediary services”.

“Chengdu is in a new stage of high-quality development of the biomedical industry”, said Chen Wei, an expert in the biomedical supply chain and Dean of Zhangjiang Platform Economics Research Institute of Pudong New Area. He believes that the biomedical supply chain is of profound strategic significance for the development of the biomedical industry. “By making the International Bio-town the core support, Chengdu can build a national global supply chain hub that covers the southwest and even the whole country, thus attracting medical supply centers and third-party supply chain service platforms to gather in Chengdu, giving full play to Chengdu’s strategic position as a gateway under the “Belt and Road” Initiative, and providing a “Chengdu Model” for demonstrating and driving the internationalization of the biomedical field in the western inland areas and even in China.

As the core support for the development of biomedical industry in Chengdu, Chengdu Tianfu International Bio-town has been jointly built by Chengdu High-tech Industrial Development Zone and Shuangliu District. During the three years since its construction, it has introduced 113 projects with a total investment of more than CNY 100 billion, including 4 teams winning Nobel Prizes, 2 academician teams from the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Chinese Academy of Engineering, 43 teams with high-caliber talents, 13 types of innovative drugs and 27 types of China’s first generic drugs. On the same day, a Co-construction Agreement has been entered into by and between Chengdu High-tech Industrial Development Zone and Sinopharm Group, under which Sinopharm Group will build a cold chain storage center in the Chengdu Tianfu International Bio-town.

Customs clearance of products from multinational enterprises transported by air and railway in Chengdu for the first time.

The medical products that were cleared in Chengdu include the consumables used for CoolSculpting (a type of frozen fat loss equipment) and Juvederm hyaluronic acid for medical cosmetology injection. Among those products, hyaluronic acid products are transported by air and consumables used for CoolSculpting are the first medical products transported by China Railway Express (Chengdu).

“This trip by the Chengdu-Europe Express Railway has taken 16 days,” said Wang Wei, Global Vice President of Allergan and President of Allergan Greater China. The first clearance of medical products in Chengdu not only gives a positive response to China’s “Belt and Road” Initiative, but also tests the logistics efficiency in the Western China. He also mentioned that the reason for choosing Chengdu is mainly due to its broad traffic and market coverage in Southwestern China.

Allergan’s product line covers a wide range of fields, including central nervous system, ophthalmology, medical cosmetology, digestion, gynecology, urology and anti-infection. It has businesses in nearly 100 countries and regions throughout the world and has one of the most extensive R&D pipelines in the pharmaceutical industry.

“Thanks to its development experience in many industries, Chengdu enjoys considerable advantages. It has a solid talent pool. For example, most people working in Chengdu Tianfu International Bio-town have excellent professional and technical backgrounds. In addition, the Chengdu Municipal Government has provided strong policy support for the development of pharmaceutical-related industries”, said Wang Wei.

“The functions exercised by the customs such as quarantine and supervision of inbound and outbound biological materials, inspection and supervision of medical devices, clearance and supervision of biomedical products are closely related to the export-oriented economic development of biomedical industry and are the key links in the construction of the global biomedical supply chain”. An official from Chengdu Customs said that Chengdu Customs will optimize the approval process for quarantine of import and export biological materials for research and development, shorten the approval time, expand access for biological materials and biomedical products, support Sichuan in terms of manufacturing vaccine and blood products for expanding vast markets in regions along the “Belt and Road”, and carrying out “Internet plus Customs”, “Efficiency Improvement and Costs Reduction” to support Chengdu in building the first-class international business environment.

“I am deeply impressed by the great importance attached by Chengdu High-tech Industrial Development Zone, and the Customs and the Drug Administration to this clearance project”, said an official from Sinopharm Group. He also mentioned that it is “amazing” that the logistics ways and the clearance procedures are so efficient and safe, when asked his impression about this clearance.

In Wang Wei’s view, “Chengdu, as an air and railway transportation ports, has accumulated some experience through this clearance”. The Chengdu Customs has provided enterprises with efficient, professional and convenient clearance guarantee according to the characteristics of biomedical products with regards to clearance. In addition, the Chengdu Port has mature measures. For example, during this clearance, the inspection can be properly completed under the temperature control requirements. “We believe that with the continuous increase and accumulation of experiences of Chengdu Port in customs clearance and data, we can see a more and more mature clearance security. We will actively cooperate with the customs supervision department to further optimize and improve the clearance process and mechanism for biomedical products.”

On the same day, a Strategic Cooperation Agreement on Allergan China Drug Trade Headquarters was entered into by and between Chengdu High-tech Industrial Development Zone and Allergan. It is reported that in October 2018 the Innovation Center of Allergan was launched in Chengdu High-tech Industrial Development Zone, which is the first innovation center of Allergan in China.

Reconstruction of channels to make Chengdu a node city for global biomedical supply chain

The reporter noted that at the end of 2016, the National Development Plan for Drug Circulation industry (2016-2020) issued by the Ministry of Commerce has mentioned that by 2020, China will form a unified and open modern drug circulation system with orderly competition, optimized network layout, high degree of organization and circulation efficiency, safety and convenience, and benefits to the masses.

“Biomedical supply chain runs through the entire industrial chain covering research and development, production, circulation and use, and involves various enterprises and institutions in the industry, such as R&D outsourcing companies, universities and research institutes, pharmaceutical enterprises, raw material suppliers, medical equipment manufacturers, distributors, pharmaceutical e-commerce, hospitals and pharmacies. A smooth and efficient biomedical supply chain is crucial to the integration and pooling of high-quality resources possessed by all parties in the biomedical industry, and is favorable to the formation of an biomedical industrial development cluster and to the building of regional soft power and significant competitiveness”, said Wang Li, President of the Bio-industry Experts Association of Chengdu Hi-tech Industrial Development Zone.

Chen Wei, Dean of Zhangjiang Platform Economics Research Institute of Pudong New Area, believes that as Chengdu currently ranks among the top 10 in terms of drug import and export, enjoys the advantages in international railway logistics under the “Belt and Road” Initiative, and covers a large market with a population of 380 million, it possess a good foundation for the development of the biomedical industry and is facing actual needs for global supply chains.

Chengdu, as the “National Bio-industry Base”, one of the “National First Medical Export Bases”, the “National Innovation Base for Promoting Trade and Export through Science and Technology” and “National High-tech Industrial Base for Biomedical Materials and Medical Devices”, has multiple advantages in developing bio-industry, and is making great efforts to create a bio-industry ecosystem with sufficient industrial development elements, international competitiveness and regional driving force, based on Chengdu Tianfu International Bio-town.

In Wang Li’s view, Chengdu has good advantages and natural endowments in developing biomedical industry, including a solid foundation for industrial development, abundant natural resources, great R&D innovation capability, and multiple public service platforms. She said that “over a few short years, Chengdu has seen a rapid development of innovation and transformation capabilities and manufacturing scale of biomedical enterprises and rapid growth of a group of innovative enterprises and talents with innovation capabilities. The academician team lead by Wei Yuquan from Sichuan University has built a domestic leading platform for new drug discovery. A national pilot demonstration base for the transfer and transformation of major new drug discovery achievements has been set up in Chengdu Tianfu International Bio-town. It is believed that an industrial cluster focusing on innovative drug R&D and pharmacy will be built over the time. Chengdu is becoming China’s future center for new drug discovery and industrial development”.

“Chengdu has built a rapid distribution network covering major economies in the world,” said an official from Chengdu Port and Logistics Office. At present, Chengdu has opened 116 international regional routes, among which 64 are regular direct flights, with a throughput of 665,000 tons in 2018. On April 4, the China Railway Express (Luxemburg-Chengdu) started its first journey. Thus, China Railway Express (Chengdu) has connected 25 overseas cities and 14 domestic cities to date. 2018 has seen the operation of 1,591 trains and a throughput of 727,000 standard containers at the International Railway Port.

In addition, Chengdu has created a fully functional, convenient and efficient three-dimensional port service system. At present, the Tianfu New Area Bonded Logistics Center (Type B) has been accepted by four national ministries and commissions, including the General Administration of Customs; the Comprehensive Free Trade Zone of Chengdu Hi-tech West Park has been approved and basically completed; the construction of the designated port for grain entry by railway has been completed; and the construction of the designated port for meat entry through air is being pushed forward. The level of facilitation of customs clearance at ports has been continuously improved. Chengdu Airport fully implements the around-the-clock (7×24) customs clearance service to guarantee that all international flights and international passengers, and imported and exported goods can be inspected at any time and enjoy rapid clearance. More than 10 innovative reforms in the facilitation of trade in goods have been implemented, with significant efficiency gains and cost reductions at ports. The overall clearance time in December 2018 was reduced by 60% compared with 2017.

An official from Chengdu Tianfu International Bio-town said that an efficient logistics system based on “Chengdu-Europe Express Railway plus Airport Logistics” will be built and a dedicated bonded service platform for drugs based on Chengdu Hi-tech Comprehensive Bonded Zone in Shuangliu will be created in the Bio-town to realize seamless connection with Chengdu-Europe Express Railway and the two airports in Chengdu.

On the same day, Kindos Pharma Co., as a representative of Chengdu-based import and export enterprises, proposed to start clearance from Chengdu. Kindos Pharma Co. is a world-class R&D and manufacturing enterprise in the field of sterile injection, with a total investment of more than 100 million USD. “At the beginning of our establishment, we had considered settling in Shanghai or Tianjin, but our decision-makers believe that Chengdu has extremely superior investment environment, professional colleges, and advanced concepts of providing services for enterprises after a site visit to Chengdu,” said an official of Kindos, “for a medium-sized Sino-US joint venture, it only takes one month from the investment negotiation to the signing of the investment agreement.”

In the opinion of Chen Wei, “The establishment and operation of Chengdu Global Biomedical Supply Chain Service Center will bring new sources of growth for Chengdu as a node and hub city for global biomedical supply chain.” He also believes that from an international perspective, Chengdu will become the hub city for medical supply chain under the “Belt and Road” Initiative, the origin of cold chain logistics for pharmaceuticals based on Chengdu-Europe Express Railway, and the demonstration city of medical supply chain in global inland cities. Furthermore, he thinks that from a domestic perspective, Chengdu will be built into the national central city in the southwest for global biomedical supply chain, strive for the establishment of a new port for biological products in China, and will eventually become a hub city delivering Pan-European, Pan-Asian and global biomedical supply chain with international influence.

Building a world-class bio-industrial park with first-class standards

In order to further integrate into and promote the construction of Chengdu Global Biomedical Supply Chain Service Center, a customs clearance service platform focusing on the biomedical industry, which gathers a number of supply chain logistics enterprises, will be built in Chengdu Tianfu International Bio-town. An official of Chengdu Tianfu International Bio-town said, “We will focus on improving the port service, integrating customs supervision and medicine examination at the port, and introducing a number of professional supply chain service providers, service principals and professional cold chain logistics suppliers to jointly establish the largest supply chain service (trading) center for import and export pharmaceutical commodities in Western China.

At the event site on the same day, an agreement was signed between Sinopharm Group and Chengdu Hi-Tech Industrial Development Zone to jointly build a cold chain storage center. A cold chain storage center equipped with inspection, transportation, storage and temperature and humidity monitoring systems that meet international standards and GSP requirements for drugs will be built by Sinopharm Group in Chengdu Tianfu International Bio-town to accelerate the development of standardization and service specification of biological medicine cold chain logistics system, and the development of a specialized quality control system.

Three years have passed since the initiation of Chengdu Tianfu International Bio-town. Up to now, it has attracted 113 projects, with a total investment of CNY 100 billion, including Luye Life Science Industrial Park worth CNY 6.5 billion, Zennova International Preparation Production Base worth CNY 1 billion, Nanovision CT Detector and Whole Machine Research and Development Production Base worth CNY 500 million, the Institute of Innovative Macromolecular Drug headed by Professor Roger David Kornberg, a Nobel laureate, and the 100-year DAMO Academy jointly built by Academician Wei Yuquan of Sichuan University and enterprises. A total of 4 teams wining Nobel Prizes, 2 Academician teams, 43 teams high-caliber talents, 13 types of innovative drug and 27 China’s first generic drugs have been introduced.

According to the concept and requirements of the construction of industrial functional zones, Chengdu Tianfu International Bio-town, aimed to build a modern bio-industrial ecosphere integrating four chains (industrial chain, innovation chain, supply chain and financial chain), one community (livable international community) and one system (professional and accurate service system), will insist on talent-oriented development, and focus on four major sectors including bio-medicine, biomedical engineering, bio-service and health new economy and six major sub-sectors, namely biotech drugs, new chemical agents, modern Chinese (medical) drugs, high-performance medical devices, smart health, and precision medicine, and professional outsourcing services.

In addition, Chengdu Tianfu International Bio-town will construct five central functions, namely, the Global Biomedical Supply Chain Service Center, the Global New Drug Research and Development Outsourcing Service Trading Center, the International Clinical Research Service Center for Drugs and Medical Devices, the Global Outsourcing Production Center for Biotechnology Drugs, and Sichuan Chengdu International Medical Center.

“The supply chain is only one part of Chengdu Tianfu International Bio-town’s industrial ecosphere,” said an official from Chengdu Tianfu International Bio-town. Based on the industrial ecosphere of Chengdu, a modern biomedical industrial system, which enjoys international competitiveness and regional driving force and is equipped with industrial chain, supply chain, innovation chain, financial chain, international community and government service system, and integrates productive services and non-productive services, will be built.

At present, Chengdu Tianfu International Bio-town has issued Chengdu’s first special policy for industrial functional area (ecosphere) and has vigorously implemented the plan of attracting leading enterprises, cultivating unicorn enterprises, and breeding key varieties, so as to supplement incomplete functions, extend the industrial chain and expand the industrial scale.

According to the introduction of the project leader of Chengdu Rongsheng Pharmaceuticals Co., Ltd., a subsidiary of Sinopharm Group, the project, with a total investment of CNY 1.4 billion and a total floor area of 50,000 m2, will be completed and put into full operation in March 2020.. Chengdu Rongsheng Pharmaceuticals Co., Ltd. mainly engages in the production of blood products. At present, its products cover 31 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities directly under the central government, and have been exported to 5 countries with an annual export income of approximately CNY 100 million.

Chengdu Easton Biopharmaceuticals Co., Ltd., located in Chengdu Hi-Tech Industrial Development Zone, is among the newly accepted listed companies of scientific innovation board disclosed by Shanghai Stock Exchange on April 3. It is the first enterprise in Western China whose application for listing at scientific innovation board was accepted. Some projects of the enterprise have been introduced to Chengdu Tianfu International Bio-town.

Based on Chengdu Tianfu International Bio-town, Chengdu will spare no efforts to be a world-leading city in bio-medicine, medical health, pharmaceutical trade, etc. and build an ecosphere of pharmaceutical and health industry with prominent advantages, integration and mutual promotion, strong driving force for development, international competitiveness and regional motivation. Chen Wei believes that Chengdu Global Biomedical Supply Chain Service Center plays a significant role in building Chengdu into a new medical innovation center, a new engine for digital medicine, an international center of aesthetic medicine, and a hub city for the global medical supply chain. It has strategic significance in fostering new momentum, building a new growth pole, and improving the quality of economic development, conforming to the new development concept of Chengdu.

(News materials of Chengdu Tianfu International Bio-town, for reference only)

Co-construction by Chengdu Hi-Tech Industrial Development Zone and Chengdu Shuangliu District, a new construction mode for Bio-town

On March 14, 2016, a cooperation agreement concerning the co-construction of Chengdu Tianfu International Bio-town was entered into by and between Chengdu Hi-Tech Industrial Development Zone and Chengdu Shuangliu District.

After three years, with breakthroughs of projects, a new industrial town was built and the industrial ecosphere began to take shape.

“Through the joint efforts of both sides, Chengdu Tianfu International Bio-town is now developing rapidly. During the three-year cooperation period, the two sides sought common ground, maintained minor differences, supported each other and understood each other. The cooperation between the two sides was close and pleasant. Shuangliu District has given support in terms of factor guarantee. The cross-regional cooperation is very successful,” said an official from the Management Committee of Chengdu Hi-Tech Industrial Development Zone.

Furthermore, co-construction has become a trend in the park.

In September 2016, a framework cooperation agreement concerning the co-construction of Chengdu Biomedical Materials Industrial Demonstration Park was entered into by and between Sichuan University and Chengdu Tianfu International Bio-town. The project will be led by Zhang Xingdong, an Academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering and the academic leader of Sichuan University’s National Engineering Research Center for Biomaterials. Currently, a number of major projects such as cardiovascular implant material production and biomaterial printing are ready to settle in the park.

It is known that the demonstration park includes Chengdu Institute of Biomaterial Industrial Technology, Sichuan Testing Center for Biomaterials and Medical Devices and industrial cluster, among which the industrial cluster will cover an area of about 400 mu, with an output value of several billions (CNY). At present, a number of major projects, such as cardiovascular implant material production, orthopaedic material companies and machining centers, oral materials, medical polyurethane and products and biomaterial printing, are ready to settle in the demonstration park.

“In addition, based on the new regional development pattern of Sichuan Province, we have cooperated with Guang’an Medical Investment Company to jointly build a collaborative biomedical research and development base. An official of Chengdu Tianfu International Bio-town said that in November 2018, the two sides had signed a strategic cooperation agreement to build a bio-pharmaceutical collaborative research and development base, forming an industrial interaction mode with Chengdu as the research and development center and Guang’an as the conversion and production center. Now, the site selection of the first-phase project, totaling 100 mu, has been completed. “The research and development achievements will be first implemented in Chengdu Tianfu International Bio-town, and some achievements will be implemented in Guang’an according to the projects’ requirements for environmental protection and resources.”

Creation of an optimal business environment with top-level design

As the key of Chengdu’s biomedical industry, Chengdu Tianfu International Bio-town, adhering to the concept of integrating production, life and ecology, is intended to accelerate the construction of a modern biomedical industrial system with focuses on developing industry, strengthening functions, improving supporting facilities and strengthening mechanism; to accelerate the construction of an ecosphere and enhancing the development of industrial chain, supply chain, innovation chain, and financial chain with focuses on the concept of “four chains, one community and one system”; and to build a world-renowned habitat for innovative and entrepreneurial talents in the bio-industry, a world-class innovation and smart manufacturing center in the bio-industry, an international life health town, and an innovative practice area integrating global high-end industrial chain and value chain.

To build a livable international community in the functional zone, supporting facilities in education, health, community services, such as international kindergartens, international primary schools, Fenghuang Neighborhood Center, community governance centers have been constructed in Chengdu Tianfu International Bio-town. In addition, the construction of four ecological projects, namely, Tiaotiaohe countryside wetland and riverside greenway, the central forest park, the starlight greenway in the incubator valley, and the phase III municipal road project in the starting area, is accelerating. At the same time, according to the ecological landscape construction concept of scenic, landscaped, accessible and participatory, Yong’an Lake Forest Park is under construction, of which the greenway around the lake has been completed.

Moreover, the supporting hotel apartments and commercial streets in the starting area have been completed. A number of renowned hotels, coffee houses, convenience stores, special catering have been introduced. Construction of talent apartments and the provincial maternal and child health care hospital have also commenced.

To implement the concept of integrating production, life and ecology, Chengdu Tianfu International Bio-town has provided great supports to talents. The development of innovative strength is attributed to our efforts to improve the capacity to supply innovative elements such as talents, technology, capital and information and to cultivate new momentum for innovative development. An official of Chengdu Tianfu International Bio-town said that competition in the biomedical industry is fierce and the competition for talents is even fiercer. “We are committed to building a home for global biological talents, where they can find a sense of belonging, and provide full-cycle services to assist the bio-industry in attracting talents, so as to release the passion of enterprises and enable talents to realize their personal value.

“We have improved the overall planning of industrial functional zones and accelerated the construction of an industrial ecosphere integrating industrial chain, supply chain, innovation chain, financial chain, livable international community and professional and accurate service system, thus solving the concerns of talents on work and working environment; we have paid attention to the relationship between knowledge, art, and health, and have afforested the city and laboratories, thus resolving the concerns of talents on life and the quality of life. An official of Chengdu Tianfu International Bio-town said that the future Bio-town will not only be a world-class bio-industrial park with perfect supporting facilities, profound culture and habitability, but also a healthy and dynamic new town with complex functions, balance in work and living, perfect service and livability.

In 2019, Chengdu will be intended to build an international business environment through reducing costs, improving efficiency, issuing policies and providing guarantees. Chengdu Tianfu International Bio-town is a model for the construction of an international business environment in Chengdu’s industrial functional zones.

According to Chen Wei, President of Zhangjiang Platform Economics Research Institute of Pudong New Area, to build a health industry center, Chengdu Tianfu International Bio-town needs to focus on key areas such as new drug research and development, medical services, and medical supply chain, and make great efforts to cultivate leading enterprises, integrate innovative resources, strengthen the transformation of achievements, and coordinate with global supply chains. “Chengdu Tianfu International Bio-town must strengthen strategic planning and improve the industrial ecosystem on international biomedical innovation clusters, medical and health service clusters, massive health economy clusters, and international medical supply chain service clusters.”

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