Types of temperature-control logistics solutions

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The logistics and shipping industry has come a long way in providing reliable and fast delivery of goods across the globe. With the use of innovative technologies and materials, global courier services like DHL Express, continually strive to offer solutions for cross-border shipping through which sensitive and important goods are delivered reliably in the best possible conditions. One such type of shipping solution that is absolutely paramount these days relies on temperature-controlled environments. 

Below, we dive into the importance of temperature-controlled cargo, the related regulations and standards we abide by and the solutions we have for our customers. 

What is temperature-controlled logistics?

Temperature-controlled logistics refers to the storage, transportation, and distribution of temperature-sensitive cargo. This ensures that the temperature throughout the supply chain remains the same – in other words, controlled – from parcel packing to the maintenance of the cold chain till it reaches its destination.

Such cold chain requirements are necessary for food products, fresh flowers, perishable goods, pharmaceuticals, medicines, and other medical materials. Any compromise on the temperature can result in goods losing their efficacy and can even lead to serious health consequences when these products are consumed or used.

Cold chain shipping couriers maintain a shipping temperature range between 2ºC and 8ºC to ensure that the quality of the medicines and products do not get compromised. The manufacturer must ensure that all the involved parties understand the temperature requirements and that they are applied across the supply chain. Certain critical touch points which hold the greatest risk of temperature deviation include:

  • The warehouse where the shipment will be stored prior to its transportation

  • The route from the manufacturer to the shipper location

  • During physical loading and unloading of shipments

  • During the actual transit

Standards and regulations for temperature-controlled courier services

Cold chain couriers must be aware of the international standards and regulations for transporting temperature-controlled goods. It is crucial that they are updated with all these regulations so they can ensure that the cold chain is not compromised. Some of these standards include:

  • Operational directives for all parties along the supply chain
  • Construction of transport network to ensure smooth shipping at temperature-controlled conditions
  • Handling methods of temperature-sensitive items, including during cargo inspections
  • Monitoring of temperature and location of the cold chain shipping containers

Carriers should also be aware of the other regulations as outlined by the following groups:

  • European Union
  • World Health Organisation
  • Parenteral Drug Association
  • International Air Transport Association
  • Pharmacopeia
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Types of temperature-controlled transportation

There are several types of temperature-controlled transportation:

1. Refrigerated vehicles

These are conventional vehicles that have temperature-controlled cargo compartments. These vehicles are usually in the form of vans and trucks with their refrigeration units powered either by the vehicle’s engine supply or independently powered supplies. DHL also uses liquid nitrogen technology for refrigeration for items kept at ultra-frozen temperatures.

2. Passive shipping container

Passive shipping containers are basically temperature-controlled shipping boxes with insulation and electronics to maintain the temperature for a short period of time. These containers can be used with other forms of temperature-controlled transport, for example, in refrigerated vehicles, for added protection.

3. Active shipping container

These temperature-controlled shipping containers are similar to passive containers but are much larger, and therefore, used in air and sea freight. Their refrigeration unit is powered by internal batteries or the ship’s or plane’s onboard power supply.

4. Temperature-controlled air freight

Air freight is probably the most popular form of temperature-controlled freight because of the quick transportation time and reduced geographical obstacles. Types of air freight include commercial airlines and dedicated cargo airlines.

DHL Express’s temperature-controlled logistics services

DHL Express offers several temperature-controlled logistics services for pharmaceuticals and life science goods. With certified life sciences and healthcare experts in over 150 global destinations, our customised solutions can help you send your temperature-controlled shipments across the world. We also provide packaging solutions for temperature-controlled goods, such as through our Medical Express (WMX) Service.

Sign up for a DHL Express account today to start delivering temperature-controlled goods.