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FedEx Breaks Ground on New Temperature Controlled Facility at Memphis World Hub

October 10, 2013

FedEx Express announced today that it is beginning construction on a new state-of-the-art temperature controlled facility and heavyweight pickup and delivery operation at the FedEx Express World Hub in Memphis, TN. The 88,000 square-foot facility will interface directly with Memphis hub operations, providing greater efficiency for shipments transiting the FedEx Express network, as well as enhanced handling of customers’ cold chain shipments.

The new facility offers several unique features that will give cold chain shippers added confidence that their shipments will remain within their intended temperature range in the event of delays. Facility features include:

  • Temperature-controlled rooms for -25°C to -10°C (frozen), 2°C to 8°C (cold) and 15°C to 25°C (controlled room temperature) products;
  • Cutting-edge technology including flexible walls that allow precise temperature control and segregation of commodities;
  • Real-time CO2, humidity and temperature monitoring;
  • An on-site International Dock Agent (IDA) station where dedicated personnel will monitor cold chain rooms;
  • A staging area for shipments using the FedEx Thermal Blanket solution, designed to maintain controlled room temperature requirements during transit;
  • Dry ice replenishment and gel pack exchange shipment remediation capabilities; and
  • Compliance with the European Union’s Transported Asset Protection Association (TAPA) requirements.

At FedEx we pride ourselves on providing an outstanding customer experience for those shipping time and temperature-sensitive goods, and with this new cold chain facility we will be able to better manage healthcare products and other perishables in the event of unforeseen delays, such as clearance holds or inclement weather. The state-of-the-art monitoring systems will allow us to provide visibility to our customers that their shipments are being protected in these contingency type situations, and this helps to give them the peace of mind they deserve when shipping sensitive goods.

Cold Chain Logistics is a multi-billion dollar industry that is growing in the biopharma sector at about twice the rate of the industry overall.[i] These goods typically have a high dollar value on a per pound basis as well as a perishability factor which makes air transport the primary mode of distribution.

As a leader in both air cargo and cold chain logistics, FedEx Express offers a full portfolio of refrigerated, frozen and perishable shipping solutions designed to maintain specified temperature ranges for these goods throughout the shipping process. The company has also performed extensive aircraft thermal mapping studies that help it maintain the quality and safety of products in flight. The features of this new building will promote more precise temperature control of shipments once they leave the aircraft and transit the Memphis super-hub, allowing FedEx to move perishable commodities and healthcare products in a safer, even more precise temperature-controlled environment.

This flagship cold chain facility will also have an impact on biologistics and economic development in Memphis and Shelby County, as it will help to lure businesses in the life sciences sector, as well as other perishable industries, to the area. Companies who ship sensitive, consumable goods or clinical specimens will be able to take advantage of this facility and the capabilities that FedEx Express can provide, both on the inbound and outbound side, to protect those items in transit and deliver them more efficiently. This enhances the local value proposition for these types of industries and makes Memphis a more attractive location for setting up manufacturing and distribution operations.

The facility is scheduled to be complete and in operation by the fall of 2014.

[i] Pharmaceutical Commerce article from April 2013 (

Richard Smith

Vice President of Global Trade Services

As Vice President of Global Trade Services, Richard W. Smith leads all U.S. based international operations for FedEx Express, the largest FedEx operating company, based in Memphis, Tennessee. He is responsible for ensuring global regulatory compliance, providing customers with regulatory assistance, measuring and improving global clearance performance, providing planning and engineering support, developing and implementing U.S. International line haul solutions, maximizing U.S. export freight profitability and designing and executing specialized services for the life sciences industry and other target verticals.

View all Richard Smith’s blog posts


    Bouadjadja says:

    Great news for our business!

    Robert J. Rooney says:

    Seem that FedEx has capabilities that might be directly applicable to the NIH Precision Medicine Initiative and one of the new PMI funding announcements for a central biobank for PMI cohort samples, as well as the Biorepository and Integrative Genomics initiative underway at UTHSC and Le Bonheur.

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