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A Comprehensive Guide to Transporting Biological Samples

May 19, 2022, Author: admin

The primary goal of temperature control logistics is to keep certain products or materials within a specific temperature range during transport – this is all the more critical with biological samples. When handling biological samples, there are special considerations to take into account since the end-users aim to keep them in optimal function and viability for testing and research purposes.

Biological samples, or biologics, cover a wide range of products used in medical research and treatment. In this article, we will focus on blood products, biological fluids and tissues, and diagnostic specimens. These biologics are often transported by medical personnel from one facility to another for purposes of analysis, processing, or transfusion.

Getting biologics from one location to another can be challenging since they are usually sensitive to heat and susceptible to microbial contamination; as such they require special handling and need to be stored and transported under controlled conditions.

Read on to learn the overview of the principles for the efficient handling of biological samples.

1. Logistics and planning

Proper planning is crucial to implementing a successful shipment. The logistics partner and the client should discuss the below key points:

  • Shipment temperature requirement.
  • Customs requirement (this step may require a comprehensive understanding of the local, national, and international regulations).

The logistic partner will determine the optimal shipment flight routing, and if the airlines have any restrictions on carrying biologics and/or refrigerants.

2.  Identify the correct packaging solution

Understanding the biologics that will be shipped and knowing its potential hazards when exposed will allow the shipper to use the correct packaging. Here, your logistic partner should ideally be able to recommend and provide the necessary packaging needed.

Other factors to consider:

  • For temperature-controlled items, can the packaging validity last the entire shipment journey?
  • Are refrigerants replenishment possible, and necessary?
  • Does the destination airport have the required temperature-controlled storage in the event of customs delay?

3. Temperature control and monitoring

There are various methods to monitor cold chain temperatures, from simple temperature monitors to advanced sensors. The data from these temperature monitoring tools are then being used to determine if the shipment contents had been transported in the correct temperature range.

With recent advances in technology, real-time tracking is becoming increasingly popular these days. While conventional temperature tracking provides a visible pattern of the shipment’s temperature range during transit, GPS tracking enables real-time package monitoring. This information may then be used to enhance both future packaging and route options, resulting in a more efficient, reliable and seamless shipment journey for the future. Additionally, all parties will be able to respond quickly in the event of any potential anomalies.

4. Planning for contingencies

There are several possible scenarios that may go wrong in cold chain logistics, regardless of how well you prepare or how closely you supervise your service providers. Customs delays, storms, and a plethora of other factors might all result in shipment delays, causing a potential negative impact on the functionality as well as the quality of the product. It is imperative to be prepared for unanticipated events. As there is no one solution to cover all unforeseen circumstances, contingency planning remains essential.


When it comes to transporting biological samples, it is crucial to partner with an experienced and reliable logistics provider. At Global Cold Chain Solutions, we want to offer that peace of mind as you ship with us. Contact our team today to learn more.