Nippon Express & MD Logistics: Creating a Safe, Reliable Pharmaceutical Supply Chain



The life sciences and pharmaceuticals supply chain is perhaps the most complex and delicate supply chain in the industry, due to the special handling requirements these products demand. Patients around the world rely on the life-saving medications that move through this supply chain to be delivered to them quickly and in a way that is safe for consumption.

In September of 2020, MD Logistics was acquired by Nippon Express Group, becoming a wholly owned, independent subsidiary of Nippon Express.

MD Logistics operates as a third-party logistics (3PL) partner, providing warehousing services, domestically in the US for those operating with the life sciences and pharmaceuticals and retail and consumer goods industries. MD Logistics domestic warehouse network includes six warehouses in three strategic geographic locations, with a dedicated life science and pharmaceutical warehouse at each location. These strategic warehouse locations allow the MD Logistics customer to store their products closer to their consumer.

Nippon Express Holdings is a publicly traded, global logistics company with its headquarters in Tokyo, Japan and has operations in 48 countries around the world. Since its founding in 1937, Nippon Express has focused on connecting people, business, and communities through the transport of goods. Nippon Express has committed to providing innovative logistics solutions to the life science and pharmaceutical industry through the adoption of their NEX Pharma initiative.


The biggest challenge within the life sciences and pharmaceuticals industry has always been how to safely distribute products within their own unique temperature and handling requirements. As more and more temperature sensitive biologics and personalized medicines and therapies enter the market, the question of how to safely ship, store and distribute to the consumer remains a top priority within the industry.


Working with logistics professionals who have a proven track record in delivering solutions within the life sciences and pharmaceutical industry is imperative to ensuring not only the integrity of your product, but your overall supply chain as well.

Working with a US based 3PL warehousing provider who places an emphasis on quality excellence, such as MD Logistics, and a global freight forwarder, such as Nippon Express, who has built a solution with an emphasis on retaining product integrity, can provide a wealth of benefits to your global supply chain.

Global Network. Nippon Express operates a network of state-of-the-art facilities aimed at keeping the life sciences and pharmaceutical supply chain moving forward. Together, the company operates a network of 31 GDP certified Container Freight Stations (CFS) across the globe, all having been opened in the last three and a half years. GDP (Good Distribution Practice) certification signifies that a provider has gone through the necessary steps to ensure product quality and integrity is maintained throughout the supply chain. Container Freight Stations are warehouses that specialize in the consolidation of freight, given that the shipments possess the same shipping requirements; both temperature and handling specifications and shipment location. Consolidating like freight together into the same shipment allows the freight forwarder to pass cost savings on to their client.

Having access to the Nippon Express global network of GDP CFS facilities will not only help your product move quickly to where it needs to be but ensure that integrity is maintained throughout all points of the supply chain.

Compliances & Certifications. Not all logistics providers are the same, especially when it comes to those who operate within the life science and pharmaceutical industry. When handling temperature sensitive products, it’s important to partner with a provider who is properly equipped to handle these items and possess the necessary compliances and certifications to operate within this industry. MD Logistics follows specific compliance standards that, as a 3PL provider, must be adhered to in order to ensure their clients supply chains remain compliant and their products maintain the integrity required by the industry. These include some of the following compliance standards and regulations: cGMP compliant, licensed FDA repackager/relabeler, NABP Drug Distributor Accreditation, and compliance to the Drug Supply Chain and Security Act.

In turn,  as a freight forwarder, Nippon Express holds a variety of quality compliances and credentials as well. The Nippon Express global network operates 34 GDP certified bases in 25 countries, with plans to add to this network. In addition, Nippon Express complies with all legal guidelines related to pharmaceutical product logistics in the markets in which they operate in.

Quality Controls. Both MD Logistics and Nippon Express have strict quality systems in place to ensure that product in their care is handled with the upmost care. In addition to being in compliance with a variety of industry certifications, the team at MD Logistics adheres to a strict internal mission when it comes to quality. Our mission is to deliver the Right material, in the Right condition, to the Right place, at the Right time, On time, Every time. This mission, coupled with strict quality controls ensure that each product and shipment is treated with the utmost care.

Nippon Express also places a strict emphasis on maintaining the integrity of the product that they are entrusted with. They do this by employing a robust quality management system (QMS), one that complies with the Pharmaceutical Inspection Convention and Pharmaceutical Inspection Co-operation Scheme (PIC/S). This QMS is comprised of the following segments; CAPA, document management, educational training, compliant handling, change management, deviation management, and subcontractor management. All of these elements work to ensure the integrity of the product and their clients supply chain remains intact.

Expertise. Both MD Logistics and Nippon Express carry with them the distinction of being top providers within the industry. They each bring with them their own expertise in the industries in which they operate. MD Logistics has over 26 years of experience as a top 3PL partner within the life science and pharmaceutical industry, while Nippon Express has been operating as a global freight forwarder for nearly 85 years. Both MD Logistics and Nippon Express have extensive experience managing supply chains in the life sciences and pharmaceutical industry and have the recognition within the industry.


In a sensitive supply chain, such as the life science and pharmaceutical supply chain, choosing a logistics partner who has the knowledge and expertise to retain the integrity of your supply chain is key. With a global network of 31 GDP CFS’s, Nippon Express is actively identifying and adding additional markets to add locations to their global network. Similar to Nippon’s expansion, MD Logistics is expanding their domestic network to the Southeast region, with the opening of a facility in Garner, North Carolina. Expansion of both of these brands solidify their experience within the industry and help to ensure the integrity of the life science and pharmaceutical supply chain for time to come.