Italian carrier Alitalia has signed an agreement with low-temperature technology specialist Va-Q-tec to rent its passive containers. Under the deal, pre-conditioned units will be sent to the customers’ door for loading and temperature will be guaranteed for over 120 hours, independent of ambient temperature. The partnership allows Alitalia to expand its portfolio of temperature controlled containers, adding five passive container sizes of up to two pallet capacity operating at temperatures from -60 to +25°C. Pharma shippers and forwarders can order the service directly through the airline. Alitalia’s cargo vice president, Antonio Temporini, said there was increasing demand for transport of temperature-sensitive goods such as medical products and bio-pharmaceuticals due to growing regulatory requirements and the globalisation of clinical research. “Uninterrupted cold chains are becoming more and more important,’ he explained. Va-Q-tec has already agreed on similar collaborations with Etihad Airways and a number of logistics service providers and its network includes 300 airports. Va-Q-tec and its partners operate over 25 network stations worldwide, and has now handled over a million containers worldwide- all of them temperature deviation free, says the German-based company.