We’ve already indicated that usually reefer trailers, diverse containers, and even specialized vessels are used to transport temperature-sensitive products. Liquefied gasses (such as oxygen, nitrogen, argon, CO2, etc.) are stored and transported in special cryogenic tanks, trailers, and railcars.
Meanwhile, for storage purposes, warehouse/terminal facilities and distribution centers are equipped with capacious walk-in coolers and refrigerators that maintain a stable temperature. To store pharmaceuticals, drugs, tissue samples, and other medical items, there’s a wide variety of laboratory refrigerators and freezers capable of supporting the required temperature.
As for packaging, there’s a huge range of cooling products to keep perishables cold. There are two main categories of such technologies.
- Passive cold containers rely on dry ice, gel packs, gel bottles, liquid nitrogen, eutectic plates, quilts, and other cooling/auxiliary stuff to keep the internal temperature low. Pharma products can be more demanding and require ultra-low freezing, so specialized containers are being developed
to satisfy industry needs.
- Active cool containers can monitor and control the internal temperature level. Such powered refrigeration units include sensors, a control unit, and ventilators that adjust the temperature automatically to keep it stable. Comparing the two, active containers seem pricey at first, but they often turn out to offer more cost savings than traditional passive ones. They are reusable, take less space, require less handling, don’t need cooling material replacing, provide better-guaranteed temperature control, and can be shipped with other cargo or as LTL freight (which is cheaper than hiring dedicated reefers).
In addition, active containers include a monitoring device that provides an opportunity to track shipments and related activities. Let’s look deeper into which technologies make it possible.
Author: Danish Mairaj, CISCOM, PMP