We’ve discussed the origins and importance of refrigerated transportation and the cold chain. We’ve also described the industry’s astronomical growth in past years.
But at this point, you may be wondering:
How does all of this apply to me—and what are some real world cases of refrigerated transportation and the cold chain in action?
We’ve got you covered.
In this post, we’re going to explore four everyday examples of refrigerated freight. You will walk away with an understanding of how refrigerated transportation is vital to the supply chain of multiple industries.
Let’s get started!
Foodservice distribution is a massive piece of the global supply chain. Without food distributors, food service operators would have to source their ingredients directly from manufacturers, and farms.
Sure, there are plenty of farm-to-table restaurants in the United States, but not all restaurants and restaurant chains can operate on that level.
Even so, the vast majority of ingredients that food service operators ultimately serve—even those that source directly from farms—have at some point needed to be transported. This transportation relies on refrigerated trucks and other vehicles to maintain the integrity and safety of the ingredients.
Let’s use the example of a small Minneapolis restaurant that specializes in seafood:
In order to source fresh seafood for its revolving menu, the restaurant may choose to rely on a specialty seafood distributor.
This seafood distributor will have an established relationship with fisheries across the United States which enables the distributor to procure fresh seafood upon the request of the food service operator.
Obviously, seafood spoils quickly, and needs to be delivered and transported in a very specific way in order to pass food safety standards.
The Minneapolis-based specialty seafood distributor needs to be equipped with a refrigerated freight in order to safely transport fresh seafood to the food service operator.
We’ve learned how a food service operator that specializes in fresh seafood sources its ingredients, but how about an end consumer who loves cooking seafood and doesn’t want to dine at a restaurant or drive to a grocery store?
This individual may choose to use a grocery delivery service to bring ingredients directly from the food service operator (in this case, a grocery store) to the customer’s home.
In this case, the grocery delivery service will likely be delivering products that need to be transported at specific temperatures, even in the case of last mile delivery.
The need for refrigerated transportation in the foodservice industry makes perfect sense.
But it’s less commonly known that the pharmaceutical industry also relies on refrigerated and temperature controlled transportation for the safety and integrity of its products to the end user.
Take the case of a local pharmacy as an example:
Let’s say the owners of a small pharmacy in a small town in Iowa is the only source of prescription products for a 30 mile radius.
The customers of this pharmacy rely on it to carry their prescriptions, as they do not have another resource nearby.
It becomes imperative for the pharmacy to promptly receive shipments of all necessary medications.
Many pharmaceutical products need to be transported at a specific temperature to ensure that they are safe for the end user, so our small pharmacy needs to hire a refrigerated transportation company to safely transport pharmaceutical products from a manufacturer or regional distributor to the pharmacy.
Did you know that fine art can be considered a perishable good?
It’s crazy to think it, but items of fine art such as paintings need to be transported in a temperature controlled environment.
Temperature controlled doesn’t necessarily mean refrigerated. In fact, the ideal temperature for the transportation of artwork is around 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
If a high end art gallery in Milwaukee wants to display rare paintings located in France, the gallery will need to arrange for temperature controlled overseas transportation of the paintings in order to prevent them from being damaged.
Odds are, quite a few.
Most of the products in your fridge or freezer were once on a reefer truck, being transported from a manufacturer to a foodservice distributor to a grocery store near your home.
Your prescriptions and the art on your walls may have traveled in a temperature controlled container—same with the plants in your living room.
As globalization continues to take its course and the medical and pharmaceutical industries continue to evolve, the need for global and regional refrigerated transportation will increase even more.