Preserving the cold chain in hot countries, where summer temperatures can top 40°C – 50°C, is a challenge. Here’s how 3PLs monitor carefully so that consumers can enjoy fresh produce and pharmaceuticals.
By Saji Krishnankutty, Mohebi Logistics Operations Manager
Customers walk into a large supermarket and expect to see a rich variety of fresh foods. In a pharmacy they expect all products to be in perfect condition. In all cases this involves multiple handling within the supply chain until those products reach the retail points. That’s the integrity of the Cold Chain.
The term ‘Perishable Logistics’ applies to any situation where products such as fruits and vegetables, meats, fish and seafood, dairy products, beverages and pharmaceuticals must be stored and transported at the required temperature. This is the prime responsibility of 3PLs in hot countries.
Point of contact and tracking
The Cold Chain is always the most vulnerable at the points of contact: from import dock to storage facility; from distribution vehicle to the retailer’s storeroom. The connection must be end-to-end and trackable at any time.
In recent years logistics specialists have greatly upgraded their monitoring systems so that goods in transit are exposed to outside temperatures for minimal periods. That’s particularly important when retailers want smaller and more frequent deliveries. The key is coordination and timeliness.
Latest word in technology
3PLs must use the best technology aids – both in the storeroom and on the road. Smart devices fitted to trucks report their routes, delivery points and other parameters. The key shipment data transmitted back to 3PL managers allows them to make correct decisions.
The contingency plan
Preparing for a ‘what if’ scenario is vital in the Cold Chain. Risks can be managed and reduced by rapidly finding a solution, taking decisions and then executing the plan remotely.
Following strict regulations
To meet consumers’ demands for variety and freshness, authorities are tightening the regulations on manufacturers, importers and FMCG logistics specialists. Leading 3PLs work closely with all players to implement best practices for handling food and pharmaceuticals.
Their daily achievement is that perishable goods have a safe shelf life in hot countries. Nothing is allowed to bring new and unknown risks into the equation.