Modern technology has made it possible to transport perishable food across the world without putting the food’s quality at risk. Advanced temperature control systems allow pharmaceuticals to be moved and stored, as well, in places where they’re needed. One aspect of cold chain logistics that makes the whole thing possible is refrigerated warehousing.
Let’s take a closer look at how cold storage works.
Basics of cold storage
This type of storage involves temp-controlled warehousing that prevents items from decaying or failing to adhere to laws and regulations applicable to those items. A manufacturer may have private cold storage facilities where they warehouse products before these are shipped to consumers. End users may also have storage for temperature-controlled products. For example, a restaurant purchases food in bulk and stores it on-site at a cold storage facility.
Often, refrigerated warehousing is outsourced to a third-party provider. These companies will take care of the products before they’re shipped out to end users.
The complexity of refrigerated warehousing
The reality is that, due to regulations on shipping refrigerated freight, it’s far more complicated than sending dry goods. Refrigerated warehousing is more costly as well; for these reasons, manufacturers tend to use third-party providers of this service.
The demand for the transportation of refrigerated goods is only rising. Retailers and end users have high expectations for pallet building and traceability, which also make this aspect of logistics particularly tricky. For these reasons, there’s a lower return on investment for providers specializing in this field. They need to do everything possible to make their processes efficient to turn a profit.
Problems with temp-controlled warehousing
Products have varying shelf lives, need to be stored at different temperatures and are permitted to be stored for varying amounts of time. A cold storage provider might have perishable food, plants, pharmaceutical products and artworks all at the same facility, all needing to be handled according to different requirements.
Energy efficiency is another hurdle for this industry. Studies show that cold storage facilities are incredibly inefficient unless they’re equipped with high-quality doors and insulation. The warehousing process needs to be optimized at every step to ensure the least amount of exposure to the outside world.
Types of cold storage
There are many different types of cold storage, including:
- Cold rooms: These are larger areas for storing goods.
- Refrigerated containers: These are basic, cost-effective ways to store small quantities of temperature sensitive products. They’re also mobile and flexible.
- Chillers and blast freezers: For products that need to be quickly cooled and stored before reaching an end user, these are good choices.
- Pharmaceutical-grade cold storage: Medical facilities use this type of cold storage which has extra features that make it suited to hold blood, vaccines and biopharmaceuticals.
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