When goods and products travel by freight they can change from one type of transport to another. From its original storage to the back of the lorry and then off onto a cargo ship or even a plane, before being reloaded onto a vehicle again when arriving at its destination country.
In cold chain shipping, the product may have an important reason as to why it must stay at a certain temperature. Agricultural produce and food needs to be transported at a certain temperature. Failure to do so can mean the produce will perish.
The cold chain has to be maintained throughout the life of the cargo transportation. Seafood is a produce that can very quickly go off if the cold chain is interrupted. Frozen foods cannot simply be refrozen once the thawing process has begun. We all know this from being told at home in the kitchen that thawed food cannot be refrozen.
Then there are products such as the photographic film, chemicals, vaccines and pharmaceutical drugs. If a vaccine is sent overseas from a drugs company to a country, say in Africa, it will perish if the temperature-controlled chain is interrupted.
The biggest industry sectors that use the cold chain transportation system are the food industry and pharma. There are many chemical producers that use cold chain shipping but nowhere near as much as the food and drug industry.
Cold chain shipping is widely considered to be a science, as the produce in some cases has to be kept at a low temperature from the moment it is manufactured or grown, until the time it is used. So, it is not just the entire logistics cycle where the cold chain has to be implemented but the period of time after and before transportation.
The science of cold chain shipping has allowed certain shipping companies, who specialise in this fragile type of logistics, to invent and create packaging systems. There are six main systems of the cold chain cycle in which the packaging and the manner in which the produce ships is a solution to help keep and maintain the coldness of the product.
There are Pallet in Pallet Shippers, Pallet Shippers, Pallet Covers, Reusable Shippers, Parcel Shippers and Customised Systems. Some of the customised shipping systems have actually been designed by the manufacturers of the produce. All these systems are available at Soft Box – a temperature controlled packaging system organisation.