The efficiency and reliability of the global supply chain has empowered businesses to transport an incredibly wide range of products around the world.
That includes reliably shipping refrigerated and frozen items. Cold freight services are a crucial part of delivering temperature-sensitive goods. That includes perishable food and beverages, but also extends to pharmaceutical products, chemicals, flowers, and more. A variety of sensitive products and those with short shelf lives move through the cold chain.
Let’s take a closer look at what cold freight and the cold chain are, and how they operate. Then, we’ll share five reasons why your business needs cold freight services if it plans to transport temperature-sensitive products.
What is the Cold Chain, and Why is it Important?
In the simplest terms, a cold chain is a specific type of supply chain. It includes all of the processes and tools needed to deliver goods to a storage facility or other intended destination. Crucially, it also involves the equipment needed to keep cargo at the right temperature.
The cold chain covers air freight, ship transport, trucks, planes, vans, and other vehicles. A cold chain might be entirely operated by a business or involve several partners, like couriers and intermodal freight transport companies.
Cold freight solutions keep items that can be spoiled, damaged, or otherwise negatively affected by temperature in the proper conditions. Here are two examples that can help us understand the diversity of products transported in cold chains:
- A frozen pizza is a convenient way to share a snack with friends or quickly make a dinner on busy weeknight. Customers may never think about it, but successful, reliable cold chains are the reason they can count on those pizzas being safe to eat (and tasty, too).
- Insulin is a life-saving medication. It significantly expanded life expectancies for people with diabetes when it became widely available for prescription. The FDA notes that US insulin manufacturers recommend refrigerated storage at a temperature range of 36°F to 46°F. Without the cold chain, insulin would have a much shorter shelf life.
The need for temperature control throughout the cold chain makes it an especially challenging logistical process. For some products, even a brief excursion outside of the correct temperature range can cause spoilage or irreversible damage. This makes maintaining the cold chain a top priority.
The Cold Chain and Intermodal Freight Transport
Despite the sensitivity of these products, there are many cold storage freight shipments made domestically and internationally daily. The cold chain becomes part of intermodal freight transport for those international shipments.
Intermodal containers, also called shipping containers, are fitted with refrigeration units. This keeps the contents at the right temperature. Whether on a ship, plane, truck, or train, these reefer containers keep sensitive shipments stable. That ensures a viable product is delivered to a cold storage warehouse or final destinations like pharmacies and grocery stores.
As experienced specialists with food-grade refrigerated and frozen containers, we want to note the importance of proper drayage — short-distance container transport — in the cold chain. As reefer containers leave a ship or train, they need special attention to ensure their contents don’t spoil.
By working with a company that has the right equipment and know-how to handle reefer containers, your business can help ensure the safety of its temperature-sensitive shipments. Make sure you maintain the “cold” in cold storage freight by finding a dependable drayage partner.
Cold Freight Services: 5 Reasons Your Company Should Use Them
1. Keeping Perishable Items Safe and Stable
This is one of the most obvious benefits of cold freight services, but it bears repeating. There is a solution available for your business to ship nearly any kind of refrigerated or frozen product. That’s true whether it’s a short trip from the factory to the warehouse or the shipment needs to cross continents to reach its final destination.
2. Consistency is King in Cold Freight Services
When it comes to cold freight services, the importance of maintaining consistent and correct temperatures for each shipment is clear. For products like flowers imported to the US, for example, temperature control can start as soon as fresh flowers are harvested and brought to a cooling area.
The cold chain is built on the idea that the appropriate temperature can be maintained throughout the process, even when long-distance intermodal freight transport is used.
3. The Cold Chain can Help Make Customers Happy
Cold freight services help to address a business’s obligation to deliver a safe product, at least in terms of food, beverages, and pharmaceuticals. However, the cold chain helps to deliver high-quality products as well. Maintaining taste, texture, and other key qualities is critical for frozen foods, produce, meats, and so many other products.
4. Cold Freight Solutions are Flexible
Cold storage freight shipping options range from planes and ships to trucks and trains. Each comes with its own advantages and drawbacks, and your business can choose which is best for each shipment.
Intermodal freight shipping is an extremely important part of the cold chain, but it’s not the only way to deliver frozen and refrigerated products. Businesses can gain flexibility by also using sprinter vans, box trucks, and other vehicles for shorter deliveries.
5. Your Company can Find Dependable Partners for Cold Freight
From the ships and trains that carry reefer containers across long distances to the drayage trucking and local courier companies that bring refrigerated and frozen goods across shorter, but still critical, distances.
Cold Freight Service Specialists: Handling Food Grade Containers at the Port of Oakland
At Iraheta Bros., we have the equipment, experience, and knowledge needed to haul reefer containers to and from the Port of Oakland while keeping their contents secure. Need a place to store a refrigerated or frozen shipment? Our state-of-the-art, temperature-controlled warehouse in Stockton offers high-quality control practices and strong, consistent inventory control.
Work with Iraheta Bros – Request a Quote Today!