Everything to Know About Cold Chain Logistics

Navigating Temperature Control During the Winter Months

October 26th, 2023 - 3 min read

By Heather Russo

So you’ve heard the term “cold chain logistics”, but what exactly does it mean? From the moment a product is created, whether it be a vaccine or your favorite ice cream, there’s a behind-the-scenes process ensuring the product stays at the correct temperature during transportation. That’s the cold chain in action; it’s about safeguarding critical products like pharmaceuticals and biologics. 

As winter approaches and temperatures drop, the significance of an efficient logistics process becomes even more pronounced, as each stage of cold chain logistics relies heavily on it.

What is cold chain logistics?

The cold chain is a side of the supply chain responsible for maintaining a controlled temperature range during the journey of a temperature-sensitive product. This journey typically starts from the product’s point of manufacturing through the stages of distribution and ends with the consumer – an aspect often referred to as the ‘last mile delivery.’

The cold chain logistics process entails a number of steps and processes designed to maintain the integrity of temperature-sensitive products as they move through the supply chain. This process is crucial for industries dealing with pharmaceuticals, biologics, foods, and other goods that must be kept within a controlled temperature range.

Importance of an Effective Cold Chain in the Cooler Months

There are a few categories that temperature-sensitive products fall under in regards to temperature control.  These may include:

  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Chemicals
  • Beverages
  • Foods

The emphasis on an effective cold chain logistics process is particularly important during the winter months, with a heightened focus on pharmaceuticals and biologics. 

Because these products can be highly sensitive to temperature fluctuations, the main goal is to preserve their quality, potency, and efficacy. In the cold winter months, this entails preventing freezing or exposure to suboptimal temperatures

The winter season also brings unpredictable weather, including freezing temperatures and potential storms. Cold chain logistics ensures that pharmaceuticals and biologics are shielded from these harsh conditions during transportation.

Steps in the Temperature-Controlled Logistics Process

1. Storage

Specialized cold storage facilities, also known as cold warehouses, are equipped to accommodate a variety of temperature-sensitive products. These storage facilities are where products are stored until they are packaged and ready for transport.

2. Packaging

The next step of the logistics process includes choosing the type of packaging, containers, and refrigeration method to protect your products during the transportation process. 

This choice is guided by a variety of factors, including specific requirements of the product, required temperature, size of the shipment, and expected duration of transit.

Read our blog, Pharmaceutical Cold Chain Packaging Process, to learn more about the components of cold chain packaging.

3. Transportation & Tracking

The transportation stage of the cold chain logistics process is where the temperature-sensitive goods travel to other distributors, hospitals, labs, or other end users. 

During transit, specialized refrigerated units are used to ensure the goods not only arrive at the correct temperature, but have traveled at a consistent temperature. Medical courier companies and warehouse facilities can check this using end-to-end traceability technology that accompanies packages as they are being shipped from point A to point B. 

Cold Chain Management Infographic, UL Solutions, Dec 2020

Empowering Cold Chain Logistics with Sustainable Refrigerants

During the packaging stage of the logistics process, picking a refrigerant suitable to keep your parcels within a controlled temperature range while maintaining your sustainable goals is a priority to ensure a safe delivery. 

PCM Packs offers a range of Phase Change Material based refrigerants for transporting pharmaceuticals and biologics at controlled temperatures.

PCM Packs for Winter Use

  1. Cool Packs (above +2˚C)

savENRG® Cool Packs are made with an organic Phase Change Material ideal for providing freeze protection during transportation of sensitive refrigerated products including red blood cells, biological samples, and vaccines.

  1. Controlled-Room-Temperature (CRT) Packs (above +15˚C)

savENRG® CRT Packs are made with an organic Phase Change Material providing freeze protection to sensitive controlled room temperature products including biological specimens and medications.

Explore our product range at https://pcmpacks.com/ and experience the transformative power of PCM technology. Elevate your research, diagnostics, and healthcare practice with PCM Packs by entrusting us as your source for your cold chain solutions.