The 5 stages of Cold Chain Logistics

The continuous rise of technology brings about the desire for obtaining the highest standard of living in a competitive and rapidly evolving environment. Our fast paced lifestyle increases the demand for perishable products at every corner of this globe hand in hand with globalisation. Industries of perishable items high in demand are the pharmaceutical, chemical and food industry. According to Pharmaceutical Commerce, pharmaceutical cold chains logistics is a $12.6-billion global industry that is expected to rise to $16.7 billion by 2020. Perishable products can be prepared, stored, monitored and transported all around the world despite being sensitive to varying temperatures because of the support from cold chain logistics.

Rich Resources Logistics Pte Ltd. is a specialist in all the phases of cold chain logistics. It has 5 years of experience in this field. You will feel delighted to be assisted with special delivery requirements for your products in cold chain logistics services. This company excels at providing prompt, cost efficient solutions swiftly.


Key Stages of Cold Chain Logistics:

1. Groundwork for Shipment

The transportation of temperature-sensitive perishable products in cold chain logistics require some significant factors to be considered. Along with the most important factor being temperature, other factors to consider include the mode of cold chain configuration, cost versus value determination, quality assurance and contingency plan.

It is vital for you to communicate the optimum temperature of your product to your selected cold chain logistics company. The primary ground handling agent assigned on behalf of the cold chain logistics company should prepare a constant temperature controlled internal environment for the products. The agent should also consider the external temperatures and humidity of the destination where the product will be delivered. Based on the controlled settings, you will be suggested to choose the mode of configuration for your products.

You will be presented with the options of active cold chain configuration and passive cold chain configuration. The active shipping configuration involves the use of advanced transport units with temperature controls that run using electricity or batteries. Such advanced transport units are commonly reefers or containers. The passive shipping configuration involves manufactured insulated packaging systems designed using vacuum insulated panels, polyurethane and polystyrene. To exemplify, this includes dry ice, gel packs, eutectic plates, quilts and liquid nitrogen.

While deciding on which cold chain configuration to use, it is important for you to consider cost efficiency. You must choose the option that will incur a minimum cost so that you do not overcompensate on your products. For instance, adding gel packs to other employed insulated packaging without a refrigerated container for a long distance delivery will be futile. On the other hand, it is unwise to choose an option that involves a large container providing a constant temperature for 72 hours when only half the container volume is required to deliver the products within the next 24 hours. An agent should be able to advise you on the best solution according to your needs.

Finally, a reliable and experienced logistics company should also determine the accurate instruments and methods to maintain quality assurance for the shipment process. An agent should also help you prepare a contingency plan in case there are any interruptions or obstructions to the delivery of the shipments or any delays in receiving the shipment at the destination point. The main objective should be to preserve and deliver the products with their maximum shelf life.


2. Mode of Transportation

After setting the groundwork for shipment, the mode of transport must be selected for shipping. The mode of transportation you select from the options presented by your agent must primarily reflect on the distance between your original location and your destination along with all the intermediary stoppage points. It’s best for you to select road transports like trucks or vans if the distance between your original location and destination is short. It will be more suitable to use a water or air route to ship the products over lengthy distances.

According to Dr. Jean-Paul Rodrigue and Dr. Theo Notteboom, maritime shipping worldwide had peaked in these modern times from 33% in 1980 to 72% in 2013. A foremost contractor based in remote locations of the Middle East required his workers to be vaccinated. A shipping container was selected to ship the million Dollars’ worth vaccines measuring 0.8 cubic metres and weighing 279kgs for 14,000 workers. A constant 2°-8° C was maintained during the transit and delivered successfully to the Middle East in eighty-three hours.

Whichever modal choice it may be, it is also noteworthy to consider other factors. Other factors to consider include fleet operating costs, route and stoppage adherence as well as prevention of thefts, stock damages and accidents. Rich Resources Logistics offers several valuable services in this field including refrigerated trucks and other freight forwarding services.


3. Custom Procedures

The next important phase consists of proper custom dealings. The reason for this is that international product shipments of perishable products require appropriate maintenance of time and temperature for their maximum shelf life. Moreover, products like food produces, biological samples and pharmaceutical drugs or chemicals usually necessitate custom inspections that mostly complicate and lengthen custom procedures. This is why a reputed cold chain logistics company requires prior experience and knowledge of varying procedures, issues and hindrances to shipment deliveries.


4. The ‘Last Mile’

The stage of the ‘Last Mile’ refers to the stage of actual shipment of the products. The important factors to be considered here are quite the same as before but they need to be maintained ‘live in action’. The factors to consider during the actual shipment are related to making the final delivery with the desired conditions that was initially set. At this stage, these factors must not be forgotten until the final shipment reaches its ultimate destination. For example, do the shipments need to be delivered further from the port using trucks past congestion and limited parking conditions?

cold chain logistics

5. Integrity and Quality Assurance

The final phase in cold chain logistics is assuring you high quality and integrity as promised by the logistics company. Devices must be used to prove that the temperature and the quality of the products have been highly maintained. In the case of delivery of vaccinations for the Middle East workers, they were provided with temperature readings well within the stated temperature range for the shipment. An infrared temperature gun displayed a temperature reading within the stated range of 2°C -8°C.

With an understanding of the 5 stages of cold chain logististics, you are well equipped to deal with the process of delivering your goods !