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Cold Supply Chain Challenges in Refrigerated Deliveries

May 13, 2018

Accounting for cold supply chain challenges are important whether the package is in storage or in transit. After all, tight temperature control might be more important than the presence of movement. That’s because even small deviations in temperature levels might compromise the whole shipment (due to microbial growth and substance breakdown).

Many goods delivered in a refrigerated manner undergo physical and chemical changes through time. Rising temperatures might increase or facilitate microbial and enzymatic actions. On the other hand, freezing and falling temperatures might make cells and enzymes rapture which can be detrimental in storing and delivering biopharmaceuticals.

The sweet spot

Temperatures between 4.4℃ and 60℃ might be the sweet spot for many microbes to thrive. As a result, the temperature level used in storing some goods should not fall on that range. Ideally, temperatures below 4.4℃ are employed to slow down microbial and enzymatic activities.

This is actually a huge challenge until today because temperature control is a serious business. As mentioned earlier, even small deviations may compromise the whole shipment. It’s easy to achieve low temperatures through modern refrigeration means. The challenge is how to keep it that way even through many hours.

Both slight increases and decreases in temperature could be equally detrimental to the quality of goods. For example, the sweet spot for red wine to maintain its aroma and flavour (in other words, the quality) could be around 12℃. Temperatures above 25℃ might accelerate some chemical reactions that result to loss of flavour and aroma. Freezing temperatures (e.g. below 7℃) might make the water content of the wine to expand and push out the cork (thereby exposing the contents to air). This expansion occurs because water molecules form hydrogen bonds in an orderly way, which create “empty spaces” thereby increasing the volume of the water.

This also applies to many pharmaceuticals, foods, beverages and other frozen or refrigerated goods. The water content might expand due to drops in temperature (many goods contain water in them). The rise in temperature on the other hand will increase microbial and enzymatic activities. Truly, maintaining tight temperature control is not that easy.

Cold supply chain challenges & how Cooltrans deals with them

Other challenges are about timeliness (from point A to point B with minimal delays), tracking (to better anticipate delays) and vehicle reliability (there should be backups to ensure timely deliveries).

Here at Cooltrans we prioritise tight temperature control and also pay special attention to timeliness, internet tracking and vehicle reliability. We perform regular maintenance on our refrigerated trucks and vans (the whole fleet) to ensure each one will arrive at the destination on time. We also employ internet tracking to minimise detours and delays. When it comes to timeliness, we understand that most goods require to be delivered on time to meet customer demand.

Contact us today and let’s discuss your refrigerated delivery requirements. No job is too big or too small for us.