Tips For Thriving In Cold Chain Logistics

tips cold chain logistics refrigerated supplies

When you operate a business that sends and receives perishable products, you need to become familiar with the cold chain. Almost every company must navigate the intricate details of the supply chain, but you must also pay close attention to the temperature of your goods as they travel here and there. From the origin point to their final destination, your products must be maintained at a specific temperature — and keeping that cold chain secure can take a lot of work. 

If you are new to the cold chain, here are a few tips that might help your small business grow and thrive. 

Understand Cold Chain Risks 

The more you know about the risks your business faces from the cold chain, the better your cold chain strategy can be. In truth, the risks you experience will depend significantly on the sensitivity of your goods to changes in temperature as well as the duration that your goods will need to rely on the cold chain. Generally speaking, more sensitive goods — like vaccines or produce — experience greater risk, as do goods that require more time in storage and transportation to reach their end user. 

Still, many goods in the cold chain are subject to many of the same risks. Understanding these risks will help you devise solutions to keep your goods safe within the cold chain. Some of these risks include: 

Equipment Failure 

A frightening prospect, equipment failure can occur without warning to even the most organized and diligent cold chains. If a cooling or heating system loses power, or if a ventilation system becomes blocked, the goods inside are likely to suffer. 

Human Error 

Workers that are not adequately trained in cold chain policies and procedures are likely to make costly mistakes, such as improper packaging, incorrect equipment use, rough handling, insufficient paperwork and more. 

Varying Standards 

Different regions maintain different standards for the cold chain. Carriers based in other states or countries might have different procedures and expectations for handling certain types of goods, which can make it difficult to maintain company guidelines across borders. 


Both pilferage by staff and hijacking of shipment containers can increase the losses of a company working in the cold chain and pose significant risks to end users, who may not realize that they are purchasing stolen goods that might have left the cold chain and degraded in quality. 

Review Industry Regulations 

Some industries are tightly regulated to ensure that products are safe and reliable for end users. Before you make any decisions regarding your cold chain strategy, you should review any regulations that may apply to your industry to ensure that your shipping and storage methods are compliant. You must maintain regulatory compliance through every region your goods pass to avoid steep fines and other threats to your bottom line. 

cold supply chain logistics refrigerated products frozen transport

Carefully Select A Carrier Partner 

Perhaps the most important step you can take in developing your cold chain strategy is carefully vetting your cold chain carrier. Undoubtedly, your carrier should specialize in cold chain logistics and offer a wide range of cold chain services to ensure that your goods receive the care they need to stay safe and secure through transit and storage. You might ask for a trial period or to interview current clients to gain more information about a carrier’s practices before developing a deeper relationship with them. 

Invest In Better Packaging 

Many shippers feel frustrated by the seeming lack of control they have over transportation of goods. The truth is that once your goods are loaded into their shipping container, you have little to no power to keep your goods safe and secure — which is why you absolutely must work only with carrier partners you can trust. Still, there is one way you can keep your goods in better condition through the shipping process: packaging. 

There are various types of packaging that help to cushion and insulate goods during transit and storage, and there are also temperature sensors like freeze indicators that will tell you if your goods have experienced damaging events. You should look into your packaging options and find solutions that suit your goods and budget. 

Cold Chain Conclusion

Cold chain logistics is a risky business even if done correctly. The sooner you familiarize yourself with the risks of the cold chain, the sooner you can take steps to protect your goods until they reach their end users.

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