The 5 Elements of Cold Chain Services Explained

The effects of globalization have turned our world into a global village when it is essential to learn 5 elements of cold chain services. Information travels fast, but physical distance is still a harsh reality. Therefore, taking part in international trade requires reliable freight and logistics partners. Many companies operate in the market, but not all are good choices. Your most important goal is the safety of your shipments, so you must choose your partners accordingly. This is especially true if you are trading with goods that have an expiry date or are easily perishable such as food, pharmaceuticals, and medicals. This also means that you need cold chain services. You will avoid most of those questions and problems if you cooperate with the professional shipping company Four Winds Saudi Arabia, which has skilled workers and technology.

What are cold chain services?

The cold chain is the process of transportation of temperature-sensitive products. The need for this type of transportation soared with the worldwide demand for perishable goods. These products’ quality degrades over time, particularly if they are exposed to higher temperatures. The main goal of the 5 elements of cold chain services is to protect these fragile shipments from harsh external factors.

Picture of pharmaceutical experiment
Pharmaceutical companies often use cold chain services for their products

This process has several different phases.

  • Specialized transportation methods – Most shipping and logistics companies use refrigerated trucks and railcars, refrigerated cargo ships, and refrigerated air cargo to Saudi Arabia.
  • Cold storage – Specialized climate-controlled storage facilities for this type of goods ensure the preservation of products over a period.
  • The units could be used either for products waiting to be shipped to a distant market or close to the need for distribution.
  • Cold processing and distribution – Providing facilities for processing and distributing these goods with respecting all sanitary laws and conditions.

The most critical 5 elements of cold chain services explained

Since the 1950s, third-party cargo transportation providers began to develop and offer new methods for transporting cold chain commodities. This was a significant breakthrough from an economic point of view as the cold chain enabled many developing countries to join the global perishable products market. This market is enormous today, as consumers have become preoccupied with healthy eating. People with increasing purchase power are always hungry for fresh fruit, vegetables, fish, and meat products worldwide. Cargo shipping companies in Saudi Arabia provides all services important for this transportation.

Most shipping and logistics companies use refrigerated trucks and railcars.

1. Technology

Using technology in shipping is unusual, but when logistics services international are about, it is crucial to use those recommended by experts. The most critical 5 elements of cold chain services are controlling the temperature during the whole procedure, thanks to the particular devices and monitors. Also, companies must use a specific controlling system when loading and unloading the vehicle, ensuring that all items will be at the destination on time. Finally, tracking the item by GPS, from the start to the end, is essential.

2. Product

The commercial value of the product should remain unaltered during transport. Depending on how perishable and fragile it may be or how it can be affected by the cold chain process, the product’s physical specifications determine the conditions and the way it should be preserved. Companies must estimate the value of the product and organize transportation accordingly. It does not mean that companies can avoid the procedure. More likely, they need to inform about the product’s performance and provide clinical trial logistics.

3. Distribution

Companies organize safe and temperature-controlled product transportation using specific methods and the available infrastructure, including temperature-controlled containers (reefers), warehousing facilities, and trucks. However, distribution is not finished when vehicles come to the port. Companies organize transportation to the destination at the address of the customer. It could be a hospital, pharmacy store, or specialized storage.

Picture of monitoring systems
Reliable logistics companies use modern monitoring systems to keep track of temperature changes

4. Transport integrity

Companies pay attention to the transport of the items included in cold chain services, which is crucial for keeping the products safe. For those reasons, they use special refrigerated boxcars, trucks, reefer ships, and reefer containers. Those companies invest in keeping the items controlled under the cold chain demands, transporting them to the destination at the same temperature. There is a specialized rigid chain carrier used for transporting temperature-sensitive items. In that way, they avoid possibly breaking the temperature and damaging the goods.

5. Destination

The origin or destination of a product refers to a particular place it comes from. The temperature sensitivity and the physical attributes of a specific product are determined by its origin. Since this could be perceived as a constraint, advances in cold chain services have made it possible to use distant sourcing strategies worldwide. The destination should include cold chain storage, inventory management, order management, packing, shipping, returns, and post-order tracking.

Dry Ice
Dry ice is very useful

Other important elements

Among other essential elements, you should learn and inform about when organizing shipping presumes an understanding of the terminology.

  • Reefers – The common name for temperature-controlled vehicles such as vans, trucks, or trailers.
  • Quilts – Pieces of fabric that act as a buffer between a temperature-sensitive product and outside factors. It helps the product maintain its temperature for a more extended period. They have a purpose during summer and winter.
  • Liquid nitrogen – One of the most remarkable substances on earth, with a temperature of about -196°C. The most frequent use is for transporting sensitive shipments such as organs or tissues.
  • Dry ice; This type of ice consists of carbon dioxide and it doesn’t melt and helps keep the temperature of cargo at -80°C.
  • Gel packs – Companies mostly use in transporting pharmaceuticals, gel packs and pack in a frozen state and help maintain the temperature by capturing escaping energy.
  • Eutectic plates – Also known as cold plates, they are similar in concept to gel packs. They have a liquid filling and are reusable.

Learning all elements of cold chain services is essential when shipping temperature-sensitive items. There are strict regulations, so companies must follow organizing shipping as recommended. However, there are more than five. Companies must prepare for a lengthy procedure of packing, logistics, and transporting organization before starting with it. Companies also should have the technology and allowances that governments in countries where you ship give. Before all, you should learn the 5 elements of cold chain services and start with the procedure.

Picture of liquid nitrogen. This chemical is used in cold chain services like organ and tissue transportation
There are various technological approaches in cold chain services, ranging from simple refrigerators to liquid nitrogen

Cold chain services elements explained

A cold chain is a supply chain that provides a temperature-controlled environment during the transport of a product, from the place of origin to its destination point. There are several important elements of this chain:

  • Packaging – In order to reduce the risk of increased temperatures, the advanced, energy-efficient packaging design serves to safely transport products in insulated shipping containers.
  • Monitoring – A data logger supervises the temperature of items throughout the supply chain. What’s more, many other parameters should be monitored, including air quality.
  • Transport – This element includes refrigerated boxcars, reefer ships, refrigerator trucks and reefer containers.
  • Customs – A cold chain needs to ensure all the paperwork meets the customs control requirements. This could reduce customs delays to a great extent. Check Saudi customs for more info on this topic.
  • Storage – Cold storage facilities or warehouses which control the changes in temperature.
  • Quality Assurance – The two important elements such as quality control and quality failures’ management fall into this category.
  • End-Customer – Once the product reaches its final destination or its end-customer, a communication of storage requirements takes place. Furthermore, the final delivery process has to be in line with the customers’ requirements for the reception of cold deliveries.

Plan shipping and transportation accordingly

Regardless of the usage and types of goods you transport, you should organize transportation accordingly. It presumes using the 5 elements of cold chain services but adjusting to new circumstances. There are situations when only a good company can help you and make sure that you will be happy with taking their services. Remember that those items are usually essential for human and animal usage, safety, public health, and food preparation. In that case, you must avoid mistakes and allow the poor company to cause trouble. Also, you should prepare for unexpected problems and organize alternatives.

Set a budget

Transporting food, medicals, or similar types of goods has it specifies. You should be careful even if you have a good plan and cooperate with a professional company. However, you must prepare for higher costs than usual. Not only will you need to organize transportation in particular conditions, but you will also need to use many more workers and helpers. It presumes setting a budget before preparation and preparing for additional costs.

Try to stay organized

This is a transport that demands good organization. Even if you cooperate with the right company and prepare conditions for hauling, more is needed for safe transportation. You must control the whole process from beginning to end. There are no places and time for mistakes, so ensure you have handled the process throughout the entire organization. It is not one of the 5 elements of cold chain services, but still an essential part of it.

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