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What is Cold Chain Logistics?

Cold chain logistics, sometimes called chill chain logistics, is a logistics management process for transporting temperature-controlled products, such as food items, plants, beverages, pharmaceuticals, biological samples, and more, over a long distance. The aim of cold chain logistics is to maintain the right temperature for these goods throughout the supply chain as a rise or fall in the required temperature may spell doom for them.

What are the elements of Cold Chain Logistics?

Cold chain logistics goes beyond the movement of temperature-sensitive goods. It starts from supply procurement and ends when the consumer gets the products in good condition. Some of the elements that blend to make cold chain work are:

  • Cold Storage – These are the facilities used to store the goods and keep them at the required temperature. Some equipment and facilities used as cold storage are cold rooms, vaccine carriers, cold storage warehouses, blast freezers, and more.
  • Packaging – Most temperature-sensitive goods need specialized packaging to reduce the risk of contamination and maintain their quality.
  • Temperature monitoring – It is necessary to keep track of the temperature, humidity levels and other environmental parameters of the products in the cold chain.
  • Delivery – This involves delivering the products to the end-users using refrigerated containers called reefers. It may also involve using different cold storage facilities along the route.

Why is Cold Chain Logistics important?

Consumers’ increasing demand for fresh, high-quality goods necessitated the need for effective and efficient cold chain logistics. Manufacturers and suppliers of temperature-sensitive products understand the importance of maintaining a precise temperature throughout the sales cycle as a slight variation from the set temperature could ruin their goods and cost them thousands or even millions of dollars.

Though some of these products can tolerate small temperature deviation, others cannot, and when contaminated, they pose serious public health risks. For example, a slight rise above the set temperature for certain food products may increase the risk of foodborne illness. The risk is even higher in pharmaceutical products like vaccines and antibiotics, where contamination may be dangerous for the end-users.

Differences between Cold Chain and Traditional Supply Chain

The main differences between cold chain and traditional supply chain include:

  • Shipping Complexity
    The operation required for a cold chain to function properly is more complicated than that of a traditional supply chain. Companies moving temperature-sensitive products must take additional precautions to prevent contamination of their shipment. Additionally, chill chain logistics requires more planning than the traditional supply chain.
  • More documentation
    Due to additional regulations, cold chain requires more documentation than traditional supply chain. For example, cold chain providers in the USA must keep a temperature control log to record the temperature of their container at regular intervals.
  • Public Health Impact
    Another difference between cold chain and normal supply chain is the impact of the transported goods on public health. Failure to maintain the appropriate temperature for products, such as food products or medications, in a cold chain can result in serious public health problems.

Bottomline

The population growth in Florida and the rising demand for fresh products among consumers have increased the need for more cold chain logistic providers. According to the Florida Chamber of Commerce, the state is the 15th largest economy globally. So, it is no surprise to see more cold chain providers entering the industry as Florida is undoubtedly a profitable market.

This article is written and owned by Sid Bhatt, CCIM | SVN Commercial Advisory Group, Tampa Florida. Our team would be happy to help, if you are looking to manage, build, lease, buy or sell an industrial asset. Click here to connect with us now.