With the evolution of business, cold chain logistics has become a vital part of any modern and successful supply chain.
Cold chain logistics came into existence with the growing need to safely transport temperature-sensitive products like dairy products, frozen food products, and pharma products from one place to other.
This article is a comprehensive guide to Cold Chain Logistics wherein I am going to cover:
- Meaning of Cold Chain Logistics
- Importance of Cold Chain Logistics
- Temperature standards for Cold Chain Logistics
- Working of Cold Chain Logistics
Let’s dive in for more details.
What is Cold Chain Logistics? Meaning of Cold Chain Logistics
Planning and executing the safe transportation of temperature-sensitive products over a long distance while maintaining the proper temperature and humidity requirements and using the proper equipment and transportation method is called cold chain logistics.
It is also known as chill chain logistics. Temperature-sensitive products include beverages, certain types of food, pharmaceuticals, biological samples, specimens, etc.
Not every product needs to be stored at very low temperatures or at temperatures below freezing. Some products need to be stored and transported at room temperature to maintain their texture and quality. This is especially true during the harsh winters in certain countries. Depending on the type of product, the temperature requirements for storage and transportation vary.
The storage and transportation equipment used for such goods must meet these requirements. Although the term “cold chain logistics” is the most common, it can also be called “temperature-controlled logistics” based on the previous statement.
Cold chain logistics involves all phases of a temperature-sensitive product, from production to storage at the production facility, transport to the customer’s warehouse, and storage at the customer’s premises.
Different products have different temperature requirements.
Importance of Cold Chain Logistics
We often do not think about how our food, drinks, and medicines are transported. We usually buy them from local stores and pharmacies without knowing how they got there. However, as we increasingly demand fresh, quality products from around the world, we put a huge target on the cold chain logistics providers who must deliver these goods. Whether we like it or not, consumers are driving the demand for such a supply.
Growers, manufacturers, and suppliers of temperature-sensitive products such as seafood, dairy, meat, frozen foods, wine, and certain medicines recognize this. They know the importance of keeping these products at a certain temperature for the duration of the sales cycle. Some products can tolerate temperature fluctuations, while others become unsafe at the slightest deviation. While the end customer may not realize that the salmon they bought at the grocery store around the corner spent a few hours in a truck at a temperature above 40° C, they may still be at risk for foodborne illness.
This risk is compounded for certain medications, such as many vaccines, antibiotics, and blood products. The Healthcare Distribution Management Association reports that about 10 percent of all drugs are temperature-sensitive, and that number is expected to rise in the coming years. Drug development is becoming more complex and increasingly involves large-molecule biologics that require precise temperature standardization to ensure efficacy.
Temperature-sensitive products are at great risk if the ambient temperature changes. Quality, taste, consistency, efficacy, and safety are at stake. Cold chain logistics can help minimize the risk of such deviations and give manufacturers and suppliers better control over their products every step of the way. Due to the above reasons, cold chain logistics hold a very important place in the supply chain.
Temperature standards for cold chain logistics
Temperature-controlled transport is generally divided into the following temperature ranges:
(-28 °C to -30 °C) Deep freezing – seafood, meat exports.
(-16 °C to -20 °C) Frozen – meat, certain types of products.
(2 °C to 4 °C) Refrigerated – fruits and vegetables, fresh meat, and certain dairy products.
(2 °C to 8 °C) Pharmaceuticals – medicines, vaccines.
(12 °C to 14 °C) Cool-chain – fresh produce, processed foods, over-the-counter medications.
Moving goods in these temperature ranges would have been very difficult if new techniques and technologies had not been developed to help shippers achieve ideal temperature-controlled shipping conditions.
Temperature-controlled transportation options give modern companies the flexibility and confidence to develop global supply chains for temperature-sensitive, perishable goods.
Major Components of Cold Chain Logistics
The cold chain consists of four main components, each of which must function properly to ensure the safe transport and storage of cold chain products:
1. Temperature-controlled storage – specialized refrigeration facilities where cold chain goods are stored until they are shipped to a distribution center or their destination.
2. Temperature-controlled transportation – customized insulated refrigerated containers that support the transportation of goods by air, water, road, or rail.
3. Trained and careful personnel – familiar with the complexities of handling sensitive cold chain cargo.
4. Efficient operational and management procedures – to minimize risk in daily operations and mitigate unexpected incidents.
Cold chain storage and distribution management are typically outsourced to third-party logistics companies (3PLs).
3PLs provide logistics services that can be customized and scaled to meet specific requirements and meet changing needs. Thanks to their experience and expertise in cold chain management, 3PLs can operate at a lower cost than their customers would do themselves.
How does cold chain logistics work?
Today, third-party logistics companies take the burden of cold chain enforcement off manufacturers, at least when it comes to transporting their goods. These cold chain logistics companies offer specialized expertise in transporting temperature-sensitive products.
The key to cold chain logistics is integrating and controlling the various elements of the supply chain. This requires data and lots of it. This is not data that can be manually curated. There is simply too much data to consider, and it comes from too many possible sources. Plus, these data points are constantly changing. Instead, cold chain logistics companies are using smart technology and data science to bring order to an often chaotic process.
Data science is transforming the logistics industry as much as virtually any other industry. Used properly, it allows companies to gather insights and visualize their shipping networks before anything is shipped. This valuable foresight enables decisions to be made with greater accuracy and better outcomes. The data is already there. Data Science brings it together in a meaningful way.
One such data point is the environment. The environment(s) to which products are exposed directly impacts cold chain logistics. Using data from historical and predictive weather models, cold chain logistics companies can calculate specific risks for each unique shipment. This data enables transportation planners to make more dynamic decisions regarding shipment types, timing, and equipment selection in a data-rich, intelligent way.
Why Choose AVG Logistics as your Cold Chain Logistics Partner?
AVG Logistics Limited is a complete logistics and supply chain service provider specializing in cold chains and refrigerated transportation. We understand the importance of temperature-controlled transportation in a time-sensitive supply chain for perishable goods. We have become one of the fastest-growing logistics companies in the field of integrated cold chain solutions. To remain our customers’ preferred choice in cold chain and refrigerated transportation, we provide high-quality services at cost-effective prices.
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