Surely, most people have heard the term “supply chain” at least once or twice. However, “supply chain” encompassed different kinds of transportation. One kind is cold chain transportation. The cold chain differs from the standard supply chain. One difference is that the cold chain process moves perishable products. Manufacturers must chill these products at a certain temperature. Usually, this is from 2 degrees Celsius to -70 degrees Celsius (35 to -94 degrees Fahrenheit). Many highly regulated industries use the cold chain process. Some of them are the pharmaceutical, chemical, and food and beverage industries. Luckily, many shipping and logistics companies offer the service of transporting your goods using the cold chain.
The importance of the cold chain process
The cold chain process is essential in getting perishable goods safely from their origin to their destination. It ensures that the food, beverages, medication, and volatile chemicals are still safe to use once they reach the consumers. If companies do not handle them properly, they degrade quickly and become unfit for use. Bacteria grows quickly and could taint consumable goods if the transporters do not keep them at the right temperature. In addition, quality cold chain processes also mean satisfied customers. And, good cold chain services also contribute to protecting public health.
Perishable goods suffer greatly if there are interruptions in the supply chain. On the other hand, this is not true for items like furniture or clothes. That is why having a good cold chain process is essential for different industries.
The temperature zones
Depending on the item, there are different standardized temperature zones. The zones are:
- Banana – Many tropical fruits, and even potatoes, ripen during transport. That is why it is important to control ripening during transport. These items are stored at temperatures of 12-14 degrees Celsius (53-57 degrees Fahrenheit).
- Pharmaceutical – Medicine and other pharmaceutical products need to be stored and transported at low temperatures. This is essential to preserve their potency. These temperatures range from 2 to 8 degrees Celsius. Or, they range from 35-46 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Chill – This zone is used to transport perishable food. This includes food such as meat, fruit, and vegetables. Here, the temperatures range from 2 to 4 degrees Celsius (35-39degrees Fahrenheit).
- Frozen – Many frozen foods, such as frozen meat and cakes, need temperatures from -10 to -20 degrees Celsius, or 14 to -4 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Deep frozen – Ice cream and seafood require temperatures from -25 to -30 degrees Celsius. Or, these frozen foods need temperatures from -13 to -22 degrees Fahrenheit.
The components of the cold chain process
First, we should note there are different elements that make up the cold chain. The most important ones are:
The items that require cold storage also require proper packaging. This way, the temperature-controlled products will retain their freshness, and there will be little risk of contamination. Also, good packaging reduces energy use since the items do not need to be kept at extremely low temperatures. There are many refrigerants that are used in packaging. Some of the most typical ones are gel packs and bricks, dry ice, and styrofoam panels.
Storage in the cold chain process
Perishable goods need to be stored at a temperature-regulated facility. If the producer does not have such a facility, they need to hire the services of a cold chain process provider. Fortunately, there are many cold storage options they can choose from, from cold rooms to blast freezers.
The environmental parameters must be tracked for sensitive goods. This includes the temperature, humidity, and other parameters. Also, monitoring in the cold chain process refers to using IoT. They use the Internet of Things to track the environment in real-time.
Transportation in the cold chain process
The cold chain process ends with the transportation and delivery of goods. The transportation industry is on the rise because of rising import trends. So, there are many logistics services international companies offer. They can transport the goods safely to their destination.
The industries that use the cold chain process
There are many industries that use the cold chain process. Perishable goods need special storage and transportation methods. So, the cold chain process is invaluable when storing and transporting food and medicine.
The food and beverage industry
Fresh food and many kinds of beverages require special storage and transportation. Meat, fruit, or milk could not survive regular supply chains. So, they could not get to their destination safely. The goods perish quickly if the supply chain is interrupted.
The pharmaceutical industry
Different kinds of medicine need special storage. That is why they need cold storage and the cold chain. So, manufacturers and distributors know they need to transport vaccines and blood quickly and safely. If these products go bad, they could endanger people’s lives. Because of this, the pharmaceutical industries have been using the cold chain more and more. These days, they cannot imagine operating their businesses without the cold chain. For example, manufacturers transport drugs during different stages of clinical trials. Because of this, the pharma industry needs dependable clinical trial logistics they can rely on.
The chemical industry
This is another industry that depends on the cold chain. More specifically, volatile chemicals need special storage solutions. If anything goes wrong here, things can become very dangerous. This is because many chemicals are flammable or explosive. So, businesses must use the cold chain process to move them safely.
The oil and gas industry
Yet another industry that depends on the cold chain process is the oil industry. Actually, they need to use special containers to transport oil and gas. For example, they use explosion-proof containers on the oil rigs and tankers. Also, they use these refrigerated containers in offshore locations.
As we have seen, the cold chain process is very important for many industries. What is more, this process has many steps along the way. Also, it differs from regular supply chains in many ways. Hopefully, this article explains the cold chain process clearly.