There are more than four million refrigerated vehicles and 1.2 million refrigerated containers globally, according to figures from the International Institute of Refrigeration. Pharmaceutical cold chain logistics alone is a £9.4 billion industry.
Refrigerated transportation isn’t just about getting perishable goods (primarily food and pharmaceutical products) from A to B, it’s about understanding the transportation and perishability requirements of individual products, ensuring efficiency and compliance along the way.
Cold chain logistics is highly complex and strictly regulated, but the demand is high in many sectors.
I’d argue the science behind refrigerated trucks is much the same as it was in the early days, it’s just modern incarnations have more finesse.
That doesn’t stop them from facing numerous challenges: from energy dependence and increases in sensitivity to quality standards and mounting regulations. I’d say there’s always room for improvement in cold chain logistics, and it’s fascinating to see the enhancements that are being made.
Most of today’s reefer trucks have in-built technology that not only shows the temperature inside a trailer, it also sends GPS positioning results to the central fleet management system. This information can then be matched with the load requirements so temperatures are monitored and any issues detected from the point of collection to delivery.
The earlier fluctuations in temperature are detected, the more chance there is of saving a load. Temperature tracking technology documents the conditions of transportation which can also be used in the event of legal action.
Moving forward, I imagine this technology will be used by carriers to market themselves. That would be a significant step forwards for cold chain logistics, helping to protect that precious cargo from the rigours of the journey and improve efficiency and cost-effectiveness.
What’s your experience of refrigeration tracking? Let us know in the comments.