The cold chain logistics industry has gained immense popularity in the recent years. The main reason for this being, industries like food and pharma on the lookout for ways to make perishable items last longer and ship them to different parts of the world. Players in the cold chain market are adopting new techniques to improve their supply chain processes and incorporate new technologies to make their operations more efficient. The food industry is facing several dramatic changes to its supply chain, which are primarily fueled by rapidly shifting consumer demands. Consumers are largely focused on the food retailers’ “perimeter” real estate, which includes foods that generally require temperature-controlled storage throughout the supply chain. From the use of robotics in warehouses to the deployment of automation and using innovative ways to manage energy, ideas that were once confined to brainstorming sessions are now getting the significant investment they need to be deployed in the supply chain. Here are four trends in cold chain logistics that you can expect to see in 2018:
Globalization of cold chain
Globalization of the supply chain is becoming the new aim of cold chain logistics. As a result, countries that once could not even afford eating out of season produce can now import all the food they want. This has greatly raised the demand for higher-end products that must be shipped quickly in order to ensure peak freshness and quality. Currently, the region expected to grow the fastest in the refrigerated transport market is the Asia Pacific region.
The highly sensitive nature of products in industries like pharma and food are forcing players in cold chain logistics to resort to superior packaging technologies. However, with better, more insulated packaging, also comes higher shipping costs. For most small parcels, a 3PL can choose packaging ranging from a 24, 48, or 72-hour time period – and the cost will increase depending on how insulated the package is. International shipments must be given special attention to ensure they are working with a partner who can receive a shipment if a delay were to occur. Furthermore, manufacturers are adopting disposable green packaging materials, as well as reusable containers to help reduce waste.
Improved product quality
Spoilage of goods is a common occurrence especially in the case of perishable goods. Due to this, the food industry is increasing their focus and attention towards ensuring integrity, health, and quality of cold chain logistics. To accommodate this rising focus on quality and the consumer experience, refrigerated warehouses are working to maintain as many as five different temperature zones. This helps to prevent the changes in taste and texture that occur when a shipment stays outside recommended temperatures for an extended period.
3PLs cold chain
A shipper’s demand for visibility, efficiency and overall product freshness is what’s motivating cold chain 3PLs to offer a wider range of valuable services. For instance, shippers are increasingly requesting that food processing be postponed. Products are being held in cold chain warehouses and only once a specific order is placed is a product then prepared and packaged for shipment. This helps companies to generate higher capital cost and inventory savings.