Refrigerated Transportation & The Cold Chain: Making Innovation & Globalization Possible

Globalization and innovation rely on the cold chain for the safe, prompt transportation of perishable products ranging from foods to temperature-sensitive pharmaceutical products, chemicals and medical devices.


The refrigerated transportation (or reefer freight) industry is booming, with massive growth in demand year after year.

Many pin this growth on increased regulation and stringent measures taken in the United States by the FDA, and it’s very true that these measures have had a big role in growing the industry.

But there’s something much bigger at play here:

Globalization and innovation rely on the cold chain for the safe, prompt transportation of perishable products ranging from foods to temperature-sensitive pharmaceutical products, chemicals and medical devices.

Additionally, research shows that refrigerated transportation in developing countries can dramatically improve quality of life by reducing food loss and making these previously isolated countries players in the global marketplace.

Innovation and globalization are powerful processes that will continue unfolding as technology improves and the world becomes even “smaller” and more interconnected.

Refrigerated and temperature-controlled transportation provided by means of cold chain logistics are vital in keeping the wheels of these developments turning.

Check out the infographic below for impressive statistics that demonstrate refrigerated transportation’s role in supporting innovation!

The Refrigerated Transportation Industry is Growing Like Crazy!

Refrigerated Transportation Market Graphic

The refrigerated transportation market in the U.S. is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 12.44 percent from 2014 to 2019.

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The market is projected to reach 3.25 billion tons by 2022.

What’s Driving this Growth? Innovation is Driving the Cold Chain.

Global Pharma Industry Graphic

The global pharma industry is projected to rise by 41% between 2015-2021. Within that, products that require refrigerated storage and transport are worth around $283 billion, and will rise 70% over the same span, while non-refrigerated products are projected to rise by about 32%.

temperature-controlled pharmaceutical graphic

Managing the transportation of temperature-controlled pharmaceutical products will total $13.4 billion in 2017, growing at a 5-6% rate.

Refrigerated Transportation Market Graphic

The value of temperature-controlled pharmaceuticals being shipped is projected to grow 10.7% this year.

cold-chain logistics purchases graphic

By 2021, pharma cold-chain logistics purchases will be worth $16.6 billion, and non-cold chain at $76.5 billion. Also in 2021, cold chain biopharma product sales are estimated to be $396 billion.

thermometer graphic

Today, approximately 95% of the shipments of blood, stem cells, cancer biopsies and patients’ specimens are shipped at or below freezing temperatures.

The Cold Chain Facilitates Globalization and Helps Developing Countries

Cup Graphic

Food loss is a significant economic, environmental and social justice issue. One third of the food grown globally for human consumption never reaches the consumer.

Trillion Dollar Graphic

Not only does this have significant climate and human health implications, but the annual economic value of this loss is almost a trillion dollars.

200 million tons graphic

Where cold chains are lacking worldwide, 200 million tons of food spoil before reaching market every year.

The Solution

The value of access to refrigerated transportation in developing countries translates into:

drugs graphic

Access to better medical care and life-saving pharmaceuticals.

high quality graphic

The ability to produce consistent, higher quality products.

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The ability to use cold storage to store produce and sell during times of peak demand without risking food loss.

snow flake

Access to higher quality, more nutritious foods in need of temperature-controlled storage and transportation.

While refrigerated transportation and the cold chain are growing globally to support the increasing demands of technological innovation and globalization, none of this innovation would be worthwhile if not for the cold chain logistics and temperature-controlled transportation that keep perishables in their optimal state throughout the supply chain.

The industry is projected to continue growing at a massive rate, which has the potential to improve quality of life in developing countries and provide cutting edge medical and pharmaceutical products to people in need across the globe.

Whether refrigerated transportation is used to transport perishable products across oceans or simply across cities, the global impact of the cold chain will continue to increase for the foreseeable future.

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