Maintaining Cold Chain Integrity During Transport

Maintaining end-to-end cold chain integrity is a goal of a logistics and storage company. This is to ensure perishable products that are susceptible to heat are safe for use.

Temperature loss in the distribution of products increases the risk that affects their potency. They can become unsafe and can lead to food poisoning or even more severe health problems.

Some chemicals also need storage within certain temperature parameters. Either a minimum temperature or a maximum storage temperature. 

Practices to Maintain Cold Chain Integrity During Transport
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Practices that can help avoid these risks:

Preliminary Cooling Inventory

Companies must have a pre-cool inventory at their manufacturing facilities. It happens before product shipment to third-party companies or directs to their customers.

Through doing so, it allows them to test the carrier unit is working and functioning well. Units can run and not cool the trailer. Pre-cooling ensures the entire system is well-conditioned before delivering the products to consumers.

Responsible Cold Chain Management

Anyone handling vaccines handles their potency and safety. There must be responsible management of products. It also includes being aware of the essential steps to store and transport vaccines.

Vaccines are delicate biological substances. But according to an article in the journal Pharmacy and Therapeutics, they can be less potent if they are:

  1. Frozen in substandard temperature
  1. Stored in hot temperature
  1. Exposed to direct sunlight or fluorescent light 
  1. Inappropriate humidity settings in the freight compartment, for humidity-sensitive goods
  1. Shocks during transportation that may cause packaging to tilt or fall over

Many vaccines and other medical products require transport and storage within standard temperature to maintain potency.

Maintaining recommended vaccine temperatures decreases the threat of potency loss. Because once lost, the effectiveness of vaccines is not reversible. It may lead to both wastages of both product and money.
To avoid that, AKCP Monitoring Solutions provides an end-to-end monitoring platform solution for all vaccines. It helps visualize the complete supply chain delivery storage, where shipments are, where they have been and what temperature they were stored at.

World Health Organization says half of the vaccines distributed around the world go to waste in a large part. This is because of the failure to control storage temperatures. That in turn erodes efforts to contain and eradicate the disease.

They lose potency if they’re exposed to temperatures outside of the range,
Michelle Seidel says, UNICEF’s immunization supply chain specialist.

Knowing the Proper Packaging and Container During Transport

Transport Packaging provides convenient units for goods during handling, storing, and transportation. The term includes all industrial packaging and shipping containers for consumer products.

The packaging is one of the most essential areas. It is the package that determines whether the product arrives at a consumer′s location safely. It is the packaging that gives the transportation company the information it needs to carry the product to the location of the customers.

Knowing what proper packaging to use during transportation allows easy transport of goods. Also, protects the safety of food products, and ensures separation from harmful chemicals. It includes food labeling and other information for consumers such as ingredients. It allows them to know whether they are consumable for any consumer type or not.

3 “levels” of packaging:

Primary Packaging contains the product. It provides protection and confinement but is not appropriate for transport. This is mostly what consumers see when they buy a product. It serves as a marketing tool as well as protection.

Secondary Packaging contains one or more primary packages for use during transport. Secondary packaging aids in containment, handling, unitization, and damage prevention. In some cases, such as online retail, this is also the packaging used to ship directly to consumers.

Common types of secondary packages include bags and boxes. Boxes include single-use or reusable shipping boxes, which can be stackable. Categories of bags such as multiwall bags or envelopes or sacks. Crates, drums and barrels, and containers for unique products are under this category.

This packaging includes interior dunnage that reduces friction between the packs during transport. It provides protection.
Dunnage can take many forms. Like airbags, other foams, paper systems, suspension films, and other product separators.

Tertiary Packaging uses group secondary packaging together. This is to aid handling, unitization, transportation, and damage prevention to products. Tertiary packaging is the traditional transport packaging to move items to retail outlets.

Oftentimes, tertiary packaging provides the function of flat unit load support in transport. Common types include pallets and skids, most made of wood or plastic. These can be single-use or reusable. Slip sheets are also used for this purpose. They are thin pallet-sized plastic or corrugated fiberboards used for shipping. For lighter loads, trays are usable, which also come in a range of materials and forms.

Tertiary packaging also uses exterior dunnage to reduce friction between units. Also, it supports load stabilization during transport.
This dunnage includes a stretch wrap, metal, or plastic strapping. Also with the use of protective reusable covers.

3 “levels” of packaging
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Track and Maintain Trailer Temperature During Transport

The Sanitary Transportation ruling is the part of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) that makes sure carriers are responsible for maintaining standard temperatures. Especially during the distribution in the United States to avoid contamination of perishable goods.

Carriers and shippers are under strict inspections by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). They are responsible for maintaining required temperatures throughout the cold supply chain.

Under FSMA, drivers and transportation companies should ensure safe temperatures when shipping products.

“The key components for ensuring food safety during transport are maintaining the security of the load and maintaining temperature,” says Erica Waara, a North American Food Safety and Quality Assurance Manager for Gordon Food Service (GFS).

“It’s important for food manufacturers to know what policies and practices their distributors have in place for their carriers,” Waara says.

“…Gordon Food Service make(s) sure we have strong language in our agreements around the security of the load (and) temperature and that drivers know what to do in case the truck breaks down.”

Also, the Sanitary Transportation of Human and Animal Food Rule in the U.S. covers such areas as making sure the vehicles maintain food security. That they are contamination-resistant, and also have written guidelines and even appropriate food safety training for carrier personnel.

“I would recommend that any organization responsible for transporting products, including third-party carriers. They should have this kind of training in place for their drivers,” Waara says.

Track and Maintain Trailer Temperature During Transport
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Managing a food supply chain is a big challenge that requires all handlers in the supply chain to adhere to strict operational practices. It is to make sure that the product is safe and secure for consumption once it reaches the end clients.

Observing the proper guidelines of temperature during transportation can also help reduce risks. This often works through having essential training and educating responsible personnel or carriers.

Fresh or frozen products in a global supply must adhere to proper transportation procedures and equipment. As there is a need to maintain the quality of products, the cold chain integrity must elevate to a more critical role.

Jeff Battle, vice president of transportation services for OHL, sums up the challenge. “When it comes to cold storage supply chains, there is no room for error.”

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