The term cold chain logistics refers to the temperature controlled supply chain that is essential for the shipping of certain products. Of course, it’s easy to identify products that obviously rely on temperature controlled shipping to illustrate the importance of cold chain logistics. Ice cream, for example, would arrive at supermarkets spoiled and soupy if it were shipped in a standard truck.
Cold chain logistics, however, is far more integral to our society than just preserving ice cream and TV dinners. Many pharmaceutical companies rely on the cold chain to preserve their products. In fact, without the cold chain, we would struggle to ensure that appropriate medical treatments are available throughout the country. If the product, even briefly, is warmed to a temperature outside of the acceptable range, it will likely be compromised and considered unusable.
Links in the Cold Chain
Given how important cold chain logistics are, let’s consider the links in the cold chain and how much goes into preserving temperature sensitive products.
- The product starts at refrigerated production locations and their on-site warehouses
- The products are then shipped using refrigerated transportation
- They are then stored at regular refrigerated warehouses
- They are then shipped with refrigerated trucks to local warehouses
- From there they are shipped to the customer
What are the Cold Chain Quality Standards?
The International Trade Administration estimates there are approximately $750 billion in cold chain product losses per year globally. Therefore, adhering to cold chain quality standards is important.
These standards provide overall guidelines for the cold chain to protect the quality and usability of temperature sensitive products. These standards provide parameters for shipping speed, temperature, and compliance to local regulations.
Standards are set by different regulatory bodies. For food shipping, quality standards are set by The Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Other standards are set by:
- US Customs
- The International Air Transport Association (IATA)
- The Department of Transportation
- The Transportation Security Administration (TSA)
All 5 of these agencies regulate shipping procedures and review documents to protect the quality and safety in cold chain logistics.
Cold Chain Logistics are essential to our economy. With all of the moving parts in the chain, and the fact that one slip up can result in substantial product loss, having a trusted transportation company is integral to successfully running any business that relies on temperature controlled products. If you rely on the cold chain, do your research and make sure you are partnering with the right shipping company, it can make a significant difference.