trans-o-flex: Another major customer replaces one-trip packaging with returnable containers


  • MSD Animal Health to switch entirely to returnable containers in 2021, aiming to save more than 60 tonnes of packaging material in the first year alone
  • Expressdienst starts up second transit packaging pool together with manufacturer and pool operator Smart Container Loop
  • Subsidiary trans-o-flex IT-Services develops its own software for transparent container management

Following a successful one-month trial, trans-o-flex customer MSD Animal Health began switching its Germany-wide pharmaceutical distribution to shipment in returnable containers on 18 January. This applies to all shipments with trans-o-flex Express and trans-o-flex ThermoMed, both with active temperature control at 2–8 °C and 15–25 °C and also without temperature control. By doing away with disposable cardboard boxes, the pharmaceutical company specialising in veterinary products aims to save more than 60 tonnes of packaging material by the end of the year. In addition, the returnable system reduces CO2 emissions by around 50% compared to the use of disposable cardboard boxes, according to MSD Animal Health. The company bases its calculations on an average of 50 returns of a container and has also factored in the return logistics and cleaning of the containers.

For trans-o-flex, the containers used by MSD Animal Health are now the second large returnable transit packaging pool that the company has prepared and implemented within a year. Prior to this, the electronics retail group expert had already switched from disposable cardboard boxes to returnable containers for deliveries to its stores. expert saves around 700,000 disposable cardboard boxes every year as a result. In both cases, the containers are manufactured by Smart Container Loop, and a new returnable container for shipping pharmaceuticals has been specially developed for use at MSD Animal Health. The company, which belongs to the Schoeller Group, is also responsible for cleaning and tracking individual containers as the pool operator. For this purpose, trans-o-flex Express collects empty containers from the delivery address and transports them stacked on pallets and bundled for cleaning. From there, they are transferred to MSD Animal Health’s warehouse service provider for further dispatch.

trans-o-flex develops its own software for transparent container management

To ensure that the operator of the container pool automatically receives all the information required for optimum control of the containers, trans-o-flex IT-Service GmbH has developed its own new software. It not only provides the pool operator with typical status information, but also controls additional processes, corrects errors and thereby provides a flawless basis for the invoicing of the containers at all times. "Our conventional scans for every package at every shipping interface are the basis for this," says Wolfgang P. Albeck, CEO of trans-o-flex. "With the new software, however, we not only transmit the information about when a particular container reaches a specific destination, i.e. whether it has been delivered to the consignee or is on its way to be cleaned, for example. It is also checked whether the container number transmitted in advance is correct." If not, the correct container number is automatically stored in the system. "The aim is to make container management as simple and as transparent as possible to optimise the control of the pool and to enable traceable and originator-based cost allocation."

For MSD Animal Health, the switch to returnable transit packaging is part of its sustainability strategy, which explicitly includes logistics. "We have previously switched to compostable bubble wrap and delivery notes made of grass paper, for example," explains Jan Nemec, Managing Director MSD Animal Health. "The introduction of the returnable container was the next logical step for us." MSD Animal Health has now started with the smallest container size. The container used for this has the dimensions 30 x 20 x 16 cm. The containers can be stacked both empty and full. A total of 688 empty containers fit on one pallet. In the course of this year, MSD Animal Health also intends to convert all other packaging sizes to gradually phase out disposable cardboard boxes as transit packaging material altogether from its pharmaceutical distribution.

Über die trans-o-flex Express GmbH

trans-o-flex core areas of expertise are logistics solutions for the pharmaceutical, cosmetics and consumer electronics industries and for other high-end, sensitive goods. The company has built up transport networks that convey goods at 15 to 25 degrees Celsius or at 2 to 8 degrees Celsius actively temperature-controlled and documented in accordance with EU regulations for the transport of pharmaceuticals. These EU-GDPs require the highest standards for safety and security, cleanliness, reliability and transparency, from which all trans-o-flex customers benefit. trans-o-flex operates internationally via the networks EUROTEMP (temperature-controlled logistics) and EURODIS (in 36 European countries). In contrast to conventional parcel services or forwarding agencies, trans-o-flex delivers goods in parcels as well as on pallets. trans-o-flex Express also offers numerous express and time-slot deliveries, special services such as dangerous goods transportation (without minimum quantity regulation), consignment consolidation or direct deliveries. The express shipments are complemented by warehousing, order picking and individual value-added services such as serialisation of pharmaceuticals. This means that the company covers the entire logistics chain from procurement through to fulfilment. The annual business volume of the trans-o-flex companies, which employ a total of around 2,200 people, amounted to around 495 million euros in 2019. More information is available at

Firmenkontakt und Herausgeber der Meldung:

trans-o-flex Express GmbH
Hertzstraße 10
69469 Weinheim
Telefon: +49 (6201) 988-0
Telefax: +49 (6201) 988-980

Sabine Kolaric
Leiterin Unternehmenskommunikation
Telefon: +49 (6201) 988-134
Fax: +49 (6201) 988-343
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