All About Temperature-Controlled Shipping

You’ve probably heard the term “cold chain logistics,” but do you know what it means? Simply put, cold chain logistics includes all aspects of transporting perishable goods from their source to the consumer. It’s a complex process involving players from producers and distributors to retailers and the end consumer. The “chain” refers to the supply chain that delivers products from factory to market from a transportation standpoint. Food is one of the most famous examples of a product transported via cold chain logistics. Temperature-controlled trucks are one of the common examples of temperature-controlled freight shipping.

Using temperature-controlled shipping for your business is the best way to ensure that your goods will arrive in the same condition as when you shipped them. Since a breach of temperature control could result in significant losses, creating and following through a transportation plan from the point of origin to the destination is imperative. The key is to ensure that your temperature-controlled shipping methods meet the industry standards. 

What is Temperature-Controlled Shipping?

Temperature-controlled freight shipping is the transport of sensitive goods to climate conditions. Such climate-sensitive goods require special handling and storage to maintain stable temperatures from dock to dock. This is possible with temperature-controlled storage and refrigerated trucking.

Ever since creating a cold chain logistics solution, shipping perishable goods over great distances has been common practice. However, despite their groundbreaking effect on the world of time- and temperature-control safety foods, they are not foolproof.

Limitations of Temperature-Controlled Shipping

  • You can expect that the refrigerated truck will have quite a bit less capacity for your load than what you are probably used to dealing with. These trucks contain temperature control equipment and a few extra layers of insulation in the walls of the trailer, which in turn results in less space for goods.
  •  Temperature changes inside a vehicle can be challenging to control without consistent refrigeration, especially when dealing with extreme weather conditions.
  • A truck’s engine must constantly be on for HVAC systems to work, which means additional fuel costs and pollution for every hour the vehicle is running.
  • While in transit, cargo may be exposed to extreme temperatures and high humidity levels if the driver makes frequent stops at small warehouses or distribution centers instead of extensive facilities equipped with temperature-sensitive docking stations.
  • Some carriers may not have adequate insurance coverage for climate-sensitive products. Before working with any page unfamiliar with temperature-controlled transportation or handling perishable or temperature-sensitive goods, you will want to look into this.

Secondly, working with a solid route planning system can significantly help cut down on unnecessary delays and minimise risks due to road closures and heavy traffic areas. If, for whatever reason, your carrier gets stuck in rush hour traffic with a load of frozen goods in the middle of summer in Texas, that reefer container will only be able to do so much to keep the temperature right where it needs to be.

You can take better preventative measures to ensure they do not become an issue by understanding the difference between dry shipping freight versus temperature-sensitive perishables and the inherent risks involved.

Rules for temperature-controlled shipping

No one regulatory body has the final word on what constitutes a fully-compliant cold chain. Currently, the regulations that a supply chain logistics service faces may vary. In addition, these regulations can differ from product to product within a single country, much less between countries. Fortunately, there are some commonalities across all rules about cold chain compliance that you can count on to help keep you on track.

USA’s Food and Drug Authority (FDA) has made it clear that shippers want to avoid “failure modes” with their shipments. A failure mode is when a load is exposed to outside temperatures that don’t meet its requirements. A failure mode is not necessarily a “failure” in the strictest sense of the word because there may not be any adverse effects on the product.

However, this doesn’t mean you can ignore temperature control during shipping. You have to take active measures to control the temperature of your shipments. The FDA expects you to use temperature-controlled shipping containers and materials along with monitoring systems and processes.

A retail food distributor considers cold chain logistics companies irreplaceable. This is because a cold chain maintains the temperature of perishable goods at critical points throughout the journey. This means they need refrigerated transport—from refrigerated trucks in storage facilities to refrigerated containers shipped by air or sea, even individual freezer packages like dry ice for final delivery directly to consumers.

TreeDots has developed a new business arm, TreeLogs, that focuses on providing cold-chain logistics support to provide food market bargains and delivery as your one-stop shop. So whether you’re here for the group buys or looking for procurement for your F&B business, sign up with us now to find a suitable service for your needs.