There has never been more reliance on Temperature Controlled Logistics and cold chain solutions than there is now. With the advent healthcare crisis in the form of coronavirus, there has been a surge in pharmaceutical products, most notably vaccines. It is paramount that these products are shipped with the utmost precision and care to ensure their safety and integrity.
At present, the demand for perishable foods and pharmaceuticals has been matched by the industry’s growing competence and recent technological advancements. But what developments will we see in the industry, and how should that affect the way temperature controlled logistics work?
Increased Data Tracking Efficacy
Because of these products’ nature and time sensitivity, organisations must be consistently aware of how products are being handled along the supply chain process. With advancements in technologies, real-time monitoring for temperature-controlled logistics is becoming a norm. Depending on the logistics partner, tracking often involves using the Internet of Things (IoT) and other sensor devices and software such as GPS monitors. Tracking technologies can send real-time alerts once specific set parameters are exceeded, providing ample reaction time to involved stack holders.
This proactive monitoring adds an additional level of security to the product’s safety, quality and integrity during the shipment process.
Active / Passive Containers and Packaging Systems
It is imperative for temperature sensitive cargo to be packed appropriately to avoid damage. With the continuous improvement and innovation of new temperature-controlled packaging, there are now various options available. Choosing the right packaging to maintain the required product temperature for the shipment is a vital aspect of the supply chain process. Some of the packaging options are listed below:
Shipping container typically consists of an energy power source and thermostat control that either actively heat or cool the system to maintain the correct product temperatures.
Active system examples include: C-Safe, Envirotainer, Dokasch.
Shipping containers that are insulated and using refrigerants like Phase Change Materials (PCMs) to maintain the internal contents of the package within the specific required temperature range.
Passive system examples include: va-Q-tec, Pelican, Tower Cold Chain
These are disposable, single-use packaging designed to be used once for single leg transportation based on a specific temperature range. They are commonly used when the products to be transported are smaller in quantity and volume. A key consideration for these single use systems is that they generate waste and, hence, are not eco-friendly.
These are packaging systems that can be re-used after a particular shipment leg and are meant for multiple shipment journeys. The system, after a transport leg is completed, is recovered and refurbished before being added back to stock. These reusable systems and are generally more environmentally friendly.
Plunging Into Brand New Markets
With the many opportunities in the industry cropping up, freight forwarders and logistics companies that supply cold chain logistics services now find themselves with new potential markets. The trend of clean and sustainable living has been becoming more and more commonplace. Hence, it is no surprise that organic food has become high in demand and is only projected to rise further.
The unpredictability of the pandemic has ensured a steady demand for COVID-19 vaccines. The logistical challenges third world countries and poorer economies face in receiving and storage, coupled with poor infrastructure prevents adequate vaccine distribution (which may be alleviated by the altruism of big pharma companies). UNICEF had been calling on Governments with surplus vaccine doses to donate. Supporting and donating vaccines where possible is an important service that nations should consider.
Solar-Powered Cold Storage
Environmentally-conscious business practices are becoming more of a requirement than a choice. While vehicles like reefer trucks are practical and work well keeping temperature-sensitive produce safe, they are not very eco-friendly. Like every other industry in the world, the temperature controlled logistics industry is looking for a way to reduce its carbon footprint, reduce costs, and be energy-efficient. Solar-power cold storage units come in as the best solution. Paired with the diesel engines being inevitably replaced by electric battery-powered ones, the industry will be seeing a brand new phase in sustainability in the near future.
While it is possible to do shipment route optimisation and validation, Temperature control and cold chain management have always been challenging and complex subjects. Contact us to learn more about how you can begin your shipping journey with us.