Frozen shipping, commonly called cold chain shipping, allows the safe transport of perishable goods by keeping them at their optimum temperature. It is essentially required in a variety of different industries, such as the food industry, meat and agriculture industry, dairy industry, floral industry, chemical industry, and pharmaceuticals.
The goods transported using frozen or cold chain shipping need to be kept at a specific set temperature during packing, loading, transport, unloading, and delivery to maintain their quality and integrity. Even a slight fluctuation in temperature during any step of shipping can cause the items to go bad, resulting in thousands, potentially millions of dollars in losses!
Moreover, spoiled goods will affect your brand’s reputation and drastically decrease customer satisfaction, potentially causing a decline in sales. This is why it is so important to minimize the risk of errors during cold chain shipping. This can be done by anticipating challenges and being well-prepared with their best solutions.
In this blog post, we will discuss the most common challenges faced in frozen or cold chain shipping. We will also tell you the best practices to manage them. So stay with us till the end!
What Actually Is Frozen or Cold Chain Shipping?
Frozen or Cold Chain Shipping is used to transport temperature-sensitive, perishable products from one place to another. Temperature changes affect the quality, shelf-life, and integrity of certain goods, such as food items, meat, dairy products, flowers, and medicines, which is why they must be shipped through frozen shipping.
There are various steps in frozen shipping, and it requires the use of specific packaging, special equipment, and specific transportation methods. A large number of industries require and utilize frozen shipping to transport their products.
Most Common Challenges in Frozen Shipping and Their Solutions
Frozen shipping is a complicated process, and there are a lot of challenges in it. Let’s have a look at the most common problems faced in cold chain shipping and their possible solutions.
#1. Choosing the Right Shipping Container
One of the primary challenges in cold chain shipping is choosing the right shipping container. A regular container does not control its inside temperature and where it might be best for non-perishable goods. It is useless when it comes to temperature-sensitive products.
A special type of container is used in cold chain shipping, and these containers are called Reefers. Reefers are actually refrigerated containers that control their inside temperature. Reefers are ideal for cold chain shipping and are widely used in it.
A Reefer is set at a specific temperature according to the goods contained in it, and it maintains that temperature throughout the shipping process. Not just temperature, but a Reefer also controls humidity, atmosphere, and ventilation. All these can be set according to the goods being shipped so they stay fresh throughout the journey.
#2. Lack of Documentation
A major problem when it comes to cold chain shipping is the lack of documentation. If the transporter does not have proper documentation of the goods he or she is transporting, they will be held at the border with the cargo. This can cause a delay, and where this delay won’t affect non-perishable goods, it can cause perishable, temperature-sensitive goods to quickly go bad if it takes too long.
Proper and timely collaboration with the shipper and the transporter can easily overcome this challenge. Make sure that you provide your transporter with proper and complete documentation before they set off on their journey. Keep in touch with them so that even if they are held up due to something missing, you can quickly provide it.
#3. Temperature Fluctuation
Probably the biggest issue faced in frozen shipping is temperature fluctuation. There can be extreme temperature changes when moving from one place to another. Items shipped through frozen shipping are extremely sensitive to temperature fluctuation and can quickly go bad if the fluctuation stays for a longer period of time.
In addition to that, temperature fluctuation can cause moisture buildup, which can promote fungal and germ growth. Your frozen cargo will be at a greater risk of spoilage as a result.
There are various methods you can use to ensure that your cargo stays safe through temperature fluctuation. As a first step, ensure that the packaging you use is suitable for frozen items. Regular packaging, which is used for non-perishable cargo, is useless when it comes to temperature-sensitive goods. Use insulated packaging that will maintain the temperature of your goods.
To cope with moisture build-up, try utilizing large, industrial-scale fans. These fans are slow and cause a consistent airflow so that there is zero chance of humidity and moisture buildup.
Dense storage is another method that can also help protect goods from spoilage in case of persistent temperature fluctuation. When items are closely and densely packed in deep and tall assortments, there is less area of exposure which means less chance of heat loss.
If you find all these challenges overwhelming, allow Cold Chain 3PL to efficiently manage all your frozen shipping for you. The brand’s shippers and transporters are highly trained and professional and will make sure that your cargo reaches its destination without even a slight change in its condition. Visit Cold Chain 3PL’s official page right now for the best frozen shipping solutions!
#4. Delays Due To External Circumstances
Various unanticipated external issues such as slow or jam traffic, weather conditions, storms, or transport vehicle breakdown are also major challenges in frozen shipping. These issues arise unexpectedly and cause delays. This can affect the products’ shelf life and quality.
These issues can effectively be dealt with by preparing beforehand for them. Proper coordination with the transporter during their journey and providing necessary help when needed can reduce delays in case the aforementioned problems unexpectedly arise. Moreover, an experienced transporter can handle unprecedented challenges much better than an inexperienced one.
In case you decide to employ a logistics company to take care of your frozen shipping, make sure that you select a reputable, trustworthy, and experienced name. We recommend Cold Chain 3PL. Its highly experienced transporter can efficiently handle any unexpected challenges so that even if delays occur, they are short, and your cargo reaches its destination without even a slight change in its quality.
#5. Problems During Transportation
Various problems can arise during transportation. Container cooling system breakdown is one of the most important to consider. If the cooling system in your container unexpectedly breaks down, it will no longer maintain its temperature, causing temperature fluctuation and humidity and moisture buildup. Your frozen cargo will be at risk of going bad if the problem is not quickly fixed.
Employing a trained and experienced transporter and choosing a high-grade container are effective solutions to such problems.
#6. Hygiene Maintenance
One of the biggest and most common challenges in frozen shipping is hygiene maintenance. Frozen cargo is more prone to contamination as compared to regular cargo. This is due to moisture buildup. Humidity and moisture promote fungal and bacterial growth. A mold anywhere in your cargo can quickly spread in all directions and damage the products’ quality.
Before anything, we suggest that you use plastic pallets instead of wooden ones. Bacterial and fungal growth is much quicker in wood as compared to plastic. To control moisture and humidity buildup, make sure that there is consistent airflow maintained inside the container. Large industrial fans can help with this.
#7. Heat Exposure During Loading and Offloading
Your frozen cargo will be exposed to heat during loading and offloading. Little exposure won’t affect the products because of their insulation packing, however, longer exposure to heat can cause quality deterioration and reduce the shelf life of your temperature-sensitive cargo.
Various solutions can be employed to minimize heat exposure. Use automation to minimize loading and offloading time and, thus, less heat exposure. In addition to that, choose the right shipping company. Experienced and reputable shipping companies employ techniques and practices to reduce heat exposure during loading and offloading. One of these techniques is using a drive-through design dock.
#8. Human Mistakes
No matter how much high-grade machinery you use or how well-reputed your employed logistic company is, there are always chances of human mistakes. Human errors can occur in documentation, loading, transportation, and delivery. These errors can cause delays in various stages of the shipping process.
Employing trained and experienced shippers and transporters is the best solution to minimize the chances of human errors. Such people have proper knowledge and understanding of the process, the machinery, and all the essential protocols, which minimize the chances of errors. Even if these errors occur, trained professionals know how to deal with them in the best possible way.
Frozen or cold chain shipping involves the transportation of perishable, temperature-sensitive goods from one place to another. Frozen shipping is a complicated process, and there are various challenges involved in it. These challenges must be effectively managed to minimize delays that might occur because of them and cause the deterioration of your temperature-sensitive cargo.
In this article, we have summed up the most common challenges in frozen shipping along with their best possible solutions. If the challenges seem overwhelming, you can also employ an experienced and reputable logistics company such as Cold Chain 3PL to handle all your frozen shipping for you!