Most people in Logistics are familiar with a supply chain. But the term “cold chain” and what it represents is much less understood in the industry. If one had to guess at its definition you might say it’s a supply chain that uses temperature controlled equipment. Though this definition would be partially correct, it falls way short of capturing all the complexities of a cold chain.
The cold supply chain in the past was comprised of cargo containers filled with blocks of ice, that would hopefully last the journey before melting. Times sure have changed. Today’s cold supply chain utilizes advanced technology to control the temperature inside the cargo container.
When dealing with a cold product, additional precautions are necessary to prevent temperature contamination from affecting the shipment.
Here we are differentiating Cold Supply Chain from Normal Supply Chain:
1. Many of the items being delivered through a cold supply chain are vital to the health and safety of citizens. Perishable food items and medical goods are common products to serve through cold supply chain. So the major distinction between normal and cold supply chains is the particular products being delivered.
2. The cold supply chain will require additional planning to make sure the logistics are in place to handle your freight.
3. Cold Supply Chains require a higher level of end-to-end control in order to maintain product integrity, so they tend to have higher levels of integration among its members.
4. The cold supply chain is expensive to maintain. the average price to build a ‘reefer’ unit is nearly five times that of a traditional, dry goods cargo container.
5. The cold supply chain is more time-sensitive than shipping dry goods. There needs to ensure on-time deliveries from origin to destination efficiently.