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Importance of Cold Chain Logistics: An Extraordinary Service

December 21, 2022
 By USA Refrigerated Freight
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Importance of Cold Chain Logistics: An Extraordinary Service
Last Modified: March 15, 2024
When it comes to the shipment of cold storage products that are perishable. Cold chain logistics is the answer. Learn more about this exciting form of logistics now!

The importance of cold chain logistics in the modern global supply chain is well defined. Transporting temperature sensitive goods such as perishable food, pharmaceuticals, and other sensitive goods over long distances is needed daily.

Under the Code of Federal Regulations Title 21, the FDA regulates the handling, packing, storing, and shipping of perishable goods. The guarantee of high-quality, safe food is where cold chain logistics shine. The value of cold chain logistics rests in their ability to provide solutions where perishable goods are concerned.

Want to learn more about the importance of cold chain logistics? The article below will offer insight into the logistics process of the global cold chain and how this service will benefit your shipping needs.

What is a Cold Chain in Logistics?

So what is a cold chain in logistics? A cold chain manages and maintains the safety and quality of all perishable goods within a supply chain. Keeping certain products like dairy, eggs, meats, and pharmaceuticals at the highest quality and safety is a top priority.

A standard logistical supply chain cannot accommodate a cold chain’s needs by keeping the quality and health safety standards in place as prescribed by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Various commercial industries utilize a cold chain in logistics, such as

  1. Refrigerated foods Industry
    1. Meat
    2. Fish
    3. Dairy
    4. Eggs
    5. Fruits
    6. Vegetables
  1. Pharmaceuticals Industry
    1. Medications
    2. Biological

These industries rely on advanced technologies, packaging, and transportation equipment that differ significantly from typical supply chain logistics practices. Remember, the ultimate goal of the cold chain industry is preserving and moving goods while maintaining high quality.

If temperature sensitive products are not transported and stored with great care, they risk  spoiling, bruising, or arriving with an altered color. This risk means that the quality and safety of the product are in jeopardy.

That is why cold chain logistics focuses on maintaining the temperature of the products they manage. Only some things can just be loaded into a dry van and shipped. Finding a trusted partner to ship your refrigerated goods is essential, and USA Refrigerated Shipping is here to help.

Read our article on the types of refrigerated freight for more information about transporting these goods.

Importance of cold chain logistics

What is the Importance of Cold Chain Logistics?

When asked, “What is the importance of cold chain logistics?” The answer is simple. Many of the goods we consume and the medicines we use require refrigeration for preservation. In other words, humans would be at serious risk if we did not keep foods and pharmaceuticals refrigerated.

Because of these concerns, the cold chain market has grown at an extraordinary rate worldwide. This trend shows no signs of slowing down, especially regarding pharmaceuticals, vaccines, and fresh food.

Cold Chain Market Growth

YearMarket Value
2021$245 Billion
2022$279 Billion
Projected YearProjected Market Value
2023$319 Billion
2024$364 Billion
2025$415 Billion
2026$473 Billion
2027$540 Billion
2028$616 Billion
Source: precedenceresearch.com

The risk of consuming unsafe foods with spoiling or rotting is incredibly high. Any disruption to the temperature range of pharmaceuticals runs the risk of being no longer safe and catastrophic.

Short and long term preservation of these goods is not only the reason.  A large part of maintaining and managing cold logistics involves medical concerns. 

One of the most significant concerns when storing and transporting temperature controlled goods is the possibility of microbial growth. This anomaly comes from increased warmth, pH, and moisture levels.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) outlines protocols for the handling and storing of pharmaceutical vaccines:

  • Vaccine storage and handling
  • Identifying and reporting waste
  • Vaccine recall procedure

Besides the packaging, storage, and shipping through a cold storage transport, a cold chain requires individual research on the goods they are working with to maintain appropriate temperatures.

The temperature is everything in the cold chain process. It is what separates and distinguishes a cold chain from a supply chain. It is the definitive experience and knowledge of refrigerated logistics.

A refrigerated freight broker within the cold chain industry also plays a large role when it comes to resolving the various issues you may encounter.

What is Cold Chain Packaging?

Cold chain packaging is an essential component in preparing temperature sensitive goods for both storage and shipping. Goods may have to endure an extended duration both in shipping and storage. In that event, the packaging materials must meet compliance levels.

The following benefits are enjoyed when cold supply chain goods have monitored temperatures constantly maintained with no breaking.

  • Extended expiration: The average shelf life of food and medicines can be significantly extended through a maintained temperature or cold freeze methods.
  • Reduction of degradation: Through cold chain packaging, products do not run the risk of degradation and can maintain a level of quality in both the freshness of foods and the potency of medicines.

The type of packaging that supports and protects your perishables play an intricate role in extending expiration while reducing degradation. 

The three packaging types used in cold chain logistics are:

  1. Active: This material has the highest cost, reliability, and accuracy of sustained temperatures. It is self-sustained through an external power and uses no phase change materials (PCM).
  1. Hybrid: A medium cost between active and passive packaging, with moderate accuracy. Temperatures are sustained through a combination of both external power and PCM packaging.
  1. Passive: This material has the lowest cost, reliability, and accuracy of sustained temperatures. It is self-sustained through PCM packaging.

A great deal of research and technology goes into packing cold chain goods that are stored and transported along a cold chain. Determining the packaging for individual goods is done with careful research and expertise.

The reasoning for having the right package and packing material for goods that move along a cold chain is essential to maintaining quality. That said, no two items necessarily use the same packaging or material.

Our article on cold chain logistics solutions will offer some useful methods for moving your perishable goods.

What is Cold Chain Warehousing?

Whenever a controlled cold storage environment is required, goods are transported and stored in a cold chain warehouse or storage. This keeps temperature sensitive goods in a controlled environment to prevent spoilage or quality degradation.

For some products, the risk of prolonged exposure to ambient temperatures can be catastrophic. When temperature sensitive goods are placed in a cold chain storage facility or warehouse, their shelf life is extended while preserving their quality.

The following are examples of goods commonly stored in cold chain warehousing:

  • Chemicals
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Supplements (Dietary & Nutritional)
  • Plants and Flowers
  • Meats
  • Fish
  • Produce
  • Frozen Food
  • Natural Textiles

Goods commonly stored in a cold chain warehouse are not restricted to this list. Other less common goods can require using a cold chain warehouse, like specific components of aircraft or vehicles.

Cold chain warehousing accommodates both cold and freezing temperatures within their facilities. A refrigerated warehouse commonly operates between 32 and 50 degrees Fahrenheit. A frozen warehouse operates between -22 and 32 degrees Fahrenheit.

Regardless of duration in storage, short or long term, it is critical to not only have goods stored in the correct packaging but also to have them stored in the proper environment within the facility.

What is Cold Chain Transportation?

When transporting goods along a cold chain, specialized transport equipment is required to move goods to and from a cold chain warehouse. There are multiple components to cold chain transportation.

The main transportation methods for cold freight shipping are:

  • Refrigerated Trucks
  • Refrigerated Trailers

Alternatively, other modes of cold chain transportation utilize unique storage options for refrigerated goods to control temperatures, like the following:

  1. Air transport: This form of transportation can carry packaged goods that utilize temperature sensitive packaging and is the fastest shipping method.
  1. Rail transport: This form of transportation can haul temperature sensitive freight using their packaging and materials or a temperature controlled box car.
  1. Ocean transport: This form of transportation can haul temperature sensitive freight using their packaging and materials or a temperature controlled storage container.

All three of these options can facilitate the needs of long distance shipping. Each option has a unique quality regarding the movement of cold chain goods. Each option will differ in method traveled, time to deliver, and the volume it can carry.

Air transport can move refrigerated goods anywhere in the world in the shortest time. Rail can move the most significant volume of goods domestically. Ocean vessels can ship goods overseas while maintaining the necessary cold temps required.

what is cold chain management?

What is Cold Chain Management?

Cold chain management is necessary to ensure the efficiency and smoothness of a high-quality cold chain. For a cold chain to function correctly, it must be well managed, and that’s where cold chain management comes into play.

Each stage of the cold chain requires careful planning and operation. This attention to detail is especially true as it directly relates to FDA CFR title 21 regulatory adherence. A cold chain must operate with observance to the smallest detail.

Cold chain management overseas cold chain logistic operations such as:

  • Packaging
  • Storage
  • Transportation
  • Equipment
  • Software

All of these categories above also consider any human interaction that takes place during any part of the process. The most crucial aspect of cold chain management, besides packing, storage, and transportation, is the actual temperature regulation.

Regulating appropriate temperatures is critically essential, and a tremendous amount of research, planning, and applied processes are required to maintain the highest degree of quality in a cold chain.

Scanning cold storage products

What are the Benefits of a Cold Chain?

A cold chain’s benefits are wide-reaching and necessary for its global and domestic markets. More specifically, the benefits deal with both quality and safety.

Shippers like you enjoy incredible benefits when they use cold chain logistics to handle their cold products. 

These benefits are both wide-ranging and often considered a necessity.

  1. Thermal abuse reduction
  2. Food safety and quality are increased
  3. Guaranteed compliance with regulations
  4. The shelf life of goods is increased and extended
  5. Accountability between all parties involved
  6. Reduced impact on the environment

Dealing with cold products can be intimidating, especially when you consider regulated temperatures, environments, storage, equipment, and more. However, if done correctly, the experience and service are worth it. 

Working with goods that require a cold chain can be time consuming, restrictive, and stressful. Fortunately, the folks over at USA Refrigerated Freight have the best game plan and know how to execute it.

The team can facilitate an individual aspect of your cold chain needs or the entire process. Take the stress out of cold chain management, and let the pros at USA Refrigerated Freight be your guide. Our motto is it’s your job to enjoy the benefits, and it’s ours to work out the problem.

Cold Chain is Ready to Freeze the Competition

Cold chain in logistics is not easy, but if you are a pro like USA Refrigerated Freight, it’s as easy as loading, shipping, and delivery. Our logistics services can facilitate all your cold chain logistics needs from start to finish. 

USA Refrigerated Freight offers best in class service, unlike anything you have experienced before when shipping refrigerated freight. Our team will handle your freight with the greatest level of care and step in as a trusted and valued partner.

We have experience in all types of commodities, including:

  • Fresh produce
  • Flowers
  • Frozen meats
  • And More!

Our team is standing by to answer any questions you may have or set up a refrigerated shipment for you today. Call us at (866) 849-4923 or click here for more information about our services and how we can get your cold chain products to their destination with the highest quality and service.

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