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Maintaining the Cold Chain: The Growing Importance of Temperature Controlled Packaging


Maintaining the Cold Chain: The Growing Importance of Temperature Controlled Packaging

The global temperature controlled packaging boxes market is anticipated to accumulate a market value of US$ 11.81 billion in 2023 and is expected to garner a valuation of US$ 30 billion by exhibiting a CAGR of 9.7% in the forecast period 2023 to 2033. The market of temperature-controlled packaging boxes market reflected growth with an 8% CAGR in the historical period 2018 to 2022.

Rising demand for temperature-controlled packaging boxes across various industries like food & beverages, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, and others are anticipated to drive the market growth during the forecast period. In the pharmaceuticals sector, these boxes are used for the transportation of medicines at a certain temperature which is necessary to protect the product from damage.

The recommended temperatures for vaccine storage include -80°C (dry ice), -60°C, -20°C, and the most common 2-8°C temperature range. Additionally, these boxes are used in the food and beverages sector to preserve the shelf life of frozen foods such as meat bakeries and others. Thus, the increasing adoption of cold chain packaging solutions in various sectors is expected to drive market growth during the assessment period.

Future Market Insights says, the increasing use of cutting-edge technologies in the pharmaceutical industry presents a potential for the expansion of the market. The digital platforms keep track of temperature, vibration, and other variables for cold chain payload transfers. The market reflects faster growth when information like flight schedules, weather, and the promise of express delivery of goods is made available.

Apart from this, the growing use of vacuum panel insulation (VPI) with stage modification materials might extend the shelf life of pharmaceutical products that are stored thereby supporting market expansion. Another significant factor for market growth is the increasing emphasis on pharmaceutical companies developing medications and treatments for uncommon illnesses.

Such medications have a limited shelf life and are made of expensive ingredients. They demand a strict temperature-controlled environment as a result. Thus, in the coming years, this factor will shape the market growth. Also, considering the growth in the e-commerce industry, insulated packaging is expected to witness high sales with smaller e-commerce and food delivery platforms across meal kits and other perishable food and beverage items.

As various packages containing fresh and frozen items need good insulation, the pandemic-led behavioral change has led to packages being left outdoors for some time which will boost the product demand even more.

On the regional end, Asia Pacific is expected to dominate the market by commanding over 40% market share by end of the forecast period. The market in this region will also grow with fastest CAGR of 9.5% during the forthcoming period. Due to the rising geriatric population, escalating demand for medicines will drive the pharmaceutical market in the Asia Pacific. This will directly create demand for cold chain packaging boxes.

How Competitive is the Market?

Recent developments and breakthroughs in technology, mergers, acquisitions, tie-ups, and partnerships within the companies involved in manufacturing temperature-controlled packaging boxes are expected to create lucrative opportunities for market growth during the forecast period.

·         In March 2022, Packaging Technology Group, LLC, a leading supplier of environmentally friendly, curbside-recyclable thermal packaging materials for the life sciences sector, has been purchased by Cold Chain Technologies, LLC, a portfolio company of Aurora Capital Partners and a key provider of thermal packaging solutions for the transportation of temperature-sensitive products.

·         In December 2022, Sonoco ThermoSafe, a division of Sonoco, a manufacturer of cold chain packaging solutions, is expanding its Orion Rental packaging program in the United Kingdom as the demand for eco-friendly packaging for temperature-sensitive pharmaceuticals rises.

Temperature controlled packaging boxes are used for shipping the medical products and vaccines, which are prone to get damaged caused by temperature variations. The temperature controlled packaging boxes usually have insulated inner body, which helps in maintaining the temperature of the inner contents.

Temperature Controlled Packaging Boxes Market: Regional Outlook

The worldwide temperature controlled packaging boxes market is very popular in the Asia Pacific. China holds the biggest market for cold chain development, owing to well-established infrastructure in large urban populations and growing demand of frozen products in the world. India is estimated to have a rapid transition in the temperature controlled packaging boxes market due to rapid increase in the pharmaceuticals industry.

North America is also holding a potential business market of the temperature controlled packaging boxes and is required to observe growth. Followed by Asia Pacific and North America, Europe is also expected to witness high growth in the temperature controlled packaging boxes market due to high disposable income.

On the other hand, the demand for temperature controlled packaging boxes in Middle East & Africa and Oceania is sluggish as contrasted with different areas.


Cold Chain Turns the Heat Up on Emissions

Cold chain makes up a large part of the logistics industry, with refrigerated transport a key component of the sector. With more people now doing their shopping online, both for special items and, more importantly, groceries, the number of refrigerated trucks or refrigerated transport units (TRUs) has increased. The refrigeration systems on TRUs need to be powered, with the majority of regular auxiliary engines powered by diesel put into the trucks for fuel also powering generators.

However, TRUs are incredibly bad for the environment. The WHO estimates 4.2m people die each year from air pollution related illnesses. 1 TRU produces anything between 3-15 tonnes of CO2 per year, making it equivalent to 9 diesel vehicles. Scaled up, 1m TRUs has the same impact on air pollution and emissions as 56m diesel cars. A 2021 research paper concludes that in the UK, TRU CO2 emissions are 15% higher than a normal delivery vehicle, with nitrogen oxides (NOX) emissions 18% higher. In the US, light-heavy duty transportation vehicles make up over 80% of its total transportation greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, TRUs making up to 9% of this total.

It is clear to see there is an emission problem with TRUs, but it creates a difficult situation for companies which provide services using these vans, as solutions have not been cheap. However, many companies are beginning to consider their options for a more sustainable future. There are also small but significant changes that companies can make to reduce TRU emissions. For example, a simple colour change from a dark brown and black to yellows and silvers can produce less emissions due to heat absorption. The weight of the vehicles also impacts the level of emissions. These factors all need to be considered when thinking of how to move away from diesel powered generators.

There may be opportunities arising to address TRU emissions in the not too distant future. In the UK for example, there will be a removal of the red diesel subsidy. TRUs use red diesel to run the vehicles and fridges. It is taxed at 50% less than regular diesel, which has been used as an incentive for the continued use of diesel to run the engines and fridges of the trucks. In 2022, that subsidy will end for all vehicles apart from agricultural. The extra cost for red diesel to fuel the trucks and power generators is estimated to reach at least £1,750 per truck per year. It is at this point in time which offers an unprecedented opportunity for a wholescale change to alternatively powered TRUs.

Hultsteins is a British-Swedish diesel-free refrigerated transportation company. It has proposed the use of its own tried and tested solution to bypass the utilisation of diesel power on board TRUs. It owns a series of trucks in its fleet that counter the use of diesel to power its generators and fridges. The main truck model is called Ecogen, a truck which uses a small electric generator. The Hultsteins system does not fully replace the diesel power but creates a hybrid system. Using both the diesel from fuel and the small electric generator, the hybrid system constantly produces 400V of potential, even when sat idle.

The company states it saves up to 90% of diesel consumption per unit. Hultsteins estimates Ecogen can save 20 tonnes in carbon emissions per unit per annum. Additionally, carbon and nitrogen emissions can be reduced up to 95%. As such, sustainable investors will be looking at this in more detail in the future, with some UK-based road freight companies already looking into this, such as Gist.

More than just the Ecogen system is available on the market, with other companies exploring the use of large-scale batteries and solar panels to power generators. A collaboration between Sunswap and Cenex is aimed at reducing emissions in TRUs through the development of solar powered generators. The energy is stored in high-power batteries, however there is also the scope to include solar panels on the roof of vehicles. This will help companies to reach a variety of demand from customers.

Other companies such as Sainsbury’s are also exploring the opportunity to innovate its own emissions-saving technology, and has rolled out five fully electric TRUs to its fleet in 2021. It is now further investing further in innovation to continue decreasing its emissions. The company claims the new TRUs will help save 4 tonnes of carbon per year.Sunswap itself has secured further funding of £3m from Barclays Bank to accelerate the development of fully electric, zero emissions TRUs, promising between 80-93% global warming impact savings. Although there is still a long way to go, it is clear that some companies are attempting to embrace the chance to make major climate-orientated changes.

cold chain logisticsc controlled

4 Ways the IoT Helps Optimize Cold Chain Logistics

Industry 4.0 technology can help to make cold chain logistics much easier to manage. Internet of things (IoT) devices are already used in a wide range of industries to gather real-time information on business processes.

In the cold chain, IoT technology can help businesses track important data on shipments — potentially allowing them to prevent temperature excursions and provide better data to stakeholders.

Here’s how businesses are already using IoT to optimize their cold chain logistics.

1. Temperature Monitoring

A key feature of IoT devices is their ability to monitor the temperatures that cold chain shipments are exposed to.

By attaching an IoT temperature monitor to the outside of a package or pallet, sensors can be used in a variety of transportation modes — including trucks, rail freight or air cargo — to continuously track the temperature of food items, important pharmaceuticals and other items that need cold chain logistics.

These sensors will gather and report this data in real-time. Because IoT sensors can automatically store data on the cloud, all relevant stakeholders can have access to the temperature data that they collect.

In the event that an IoT sensor detects a temperature excursion, an alert system can automatically notify managers, drivers, administrative staff and other workers — allowing them to take action to prevent spoilage.

Stored data can also be used to improve processes, identify bottlenecks and determine fault in the event that an excursion causes spoilage. At any time after a sensor collects temperature data, stakeholders can review captured information and trends — or use analytics software to automatically extract valuable insights from historical temperature data.

IoT temperature tracking devices can also monitor other aspects of a shipment’s journey — for example, a combination vibration, light and temperature sensor can monitor for heat as well as exposure to light, shocks, vibrations and sudden stops.

Many cold chain products don’t just require low temperatures. Many vaccines that need cold chain logistics, for example, may spoil or lose potency if exposed to light. Sudden shocks can also risk damage to vaccine containers and packing materials.

IoT devices that monitor for temperature can also help to monitor for these potential threats.

2. GPS and RFID Shipment Tracking

IoT devices are also excellent at tracking the current location of a shipment or individual product. By using technology like GPS or RFID, it’s possible for an IoT device to gather information on a shipment’s movement.

With GPS, this information will be in real-time. With RFID, the system will depend on RFID readers installed at important locations that continuously scan for RFID tags. These systems will provide instant updates whenever an RFID tagged shipment arrives at a warehouse, fulfillment center, retail location or delivery destination.

These systems can automatically alert stakeholders when an item is on the move, allowing them to track the position of all their shipments, 24/7. The same IoT device can be used to monitor both temperature and location.

The same technology can also help businesses and logistics providers offer better delivery estimates to their clients. With real-time tracking, it’s much easier to accurately forecast when an item will arrive at a destination.

3. Automated Reporting and Cloud Data Storage

Because IoT devices are connected to the internet and can collect data continuously, they can also be used for automatic report-generation and cloud data backups.

For example, data from an IoT device can be automatically delivered to relevant stakeholders or stored for monthly documentation of important information.

In addition to delivering data to the cloud, an IoT device can send information to logistics management platforms, where the information can be analyzed by stakeholders with the help of dashboards and other data visualization tools.

The device can also stream information to AI-powered analytic tools, allowing businesses to use the IoT data to power delivery time or temperature excursion prediction algorithms.

These algorithms can help businesses see a crisis coming based on patterns in IoT data, potentially long before the issue would be obvious to a manager or analyst following the data on their own.

4. Equipment Health Monitoring and Predictive Maintenance

In addition to monitoring shipments directly, IoT devices are also an excellent tool for tracking the performance and health of cold chain equipment — including delivery vehicles, warehouse machinery and even HVAC systems.

Existing IoT performance monitoring systems can track a wide variety of performance and environmental variables. Information from these systems can help businesses track machine performance and health.

For example, an IoT fleet may capture information on a machine’s timing, vibration, temperature and lubrication. If one of these variables leaves its safe operating range, the system can automatically notify site technicians.

IoT devices may also measure local temperature, humidity and CO2 levels, allowing managers of a warehouse or fulfillment center to know if local environmental conditions may be negatively impacting the performance of a site machine.

Equipment monitoring is already a popular application of IoT devices in many industries, meaning that cold chain logistics professionals wanting to adopt the technology have access to a large and growing market of IoT equipment monitoring solutions.

Experts predict that the market is on track to grow quickly over the next few years, meaning that logistics companies will have access to even more options in the near future.

With enough data, businesses can also use IoT devices to lay the foundation for a predictive maintenance system. These are systems that use AI and IoT machine performance data to predict a machine’s maintenance needs.

By analyzing information collected from IoT devices, it’s possible to predict when a machine will need maintenance or repairs.

These systems can also alert managers when they predict that machine failure is imminent — allowing for an emergency shutdown that can help to prevent significant damage to a machine that may result in more expensive repairs and greater downtime.

How IoT Devices May Help to Transform the Cold Chain

With new IoT devices, cold chain logistics providers may be able to streamline their operations. A fleet of IoT devices can provide crucial information on both shipments and the equipment used to move them.

Cold chain professionals are already using IoT devices to prevent spoilage and more effectively monitor shipments as they move from location to location.

IoT devices can also lay the foundation for predictive analytics algorithms that can accurately predict delivery times or machine maintenance needs


Emily Newton is an industrial journalist. As Editor-in-Chief of Revolutionized, she regularly covers how technology is changing the industry

cold chain

The Future is Cold Chain Solutions: Don’t Risk an Unmanaged Supply Chain

As medication therapies continue to innovate and rely on cold chain delivery, including the COVID-19 vaccine, health systems need to evaluate their programs, leverage technology and ensure their systems are fully managed to best help patients, reduce costs and streamline efficiency. Patient-centered cold chain supply chains focused on last-mile prescription delivery have evolved significantly over the last 15 years. This advancement might be due to the relative novelty of cold chain, which did not play a key role in patient interactions in the past.

Overcoming Initial Growing Pains

Because there has been no template for how to incorporate cold chain solutions into health systems’ and hospitals’ supply chains, they have had to rely on their staff, pharmacists, and partners to create what could be said is an ad hoc program. One of the greatest challenges they faced is determining how to verify a shipment — which product is best? How can a transaction be monitored? Thanks to advancements in technology, we can now use low-energy Bluetooth monitors to track micron-level environmental readings and use systems to verify a shipment’s progress.

Packaging is another area that has made significant strides in the past few decades. The industry has transitioned from status quo styrofoam packaging to making environmentally friendly packaging a priority. These advancements provide us with the resources, systems, and information we need to provide safe, consistent, and timely medication to patients everywhere.

Anticipating Future Innovation

The evolution of medicine forces insurance companies to redefine reimbursement to health systems, which in turn redefines priority around cold chain and accreditation. As researchers continue to advance medicine and cure diseases earlier, the health system supply chain must quickly catch up in support.

The industry will rely even more on mail medication and virtual healthcare in the future, and we can likely anticipate additional innovation soon. From packaging infused with chemicals to help products stay within temperature range during transport to incorporating technology within every shipping container so we have a live monitor to verify the conditions via an app every step of the way, cold supply chains will become even more accessible and reliable.

Investing in a Managed Cold Chain

To streamline current operations and prepare for future innovations, health systems should prioritize a managed cold supply chain, or create a process and leverage technology that delivers full transparency and awareness of inbound and outbound products. A managed system has processes in place to know if and when a shipment gets delivered, is opened in a timely manner and is properly stored. It also utilizes technology controls to track audits, losses and complaints, and fix potential issues before they materialize. Managed chains can be spearheaded within an organization or through a partnership that fills the gaps more easily than a custom process, such as TRIOSE’s Pharmacy IQ, which allows pharmacies to seamlessly incorporate delivery services into their existing structure.

On the other hand, an unmanaged system can be incredibly scary because it leaves systems vulnerable to the unknown. From a patient safety standpoint, when products can’t be verified, medicine to a patient’s home might arrive expired, useless or even dangerous. Unmanaged supply chains are also dangerous from a cost perspective. Consider the cost of specialty medication, which can have values of over $60,000 and be rendered useless because it circled via UPS or FedEx for five days without anyone knowing about it. There is a spectrum of significant risks to an unmanaged cold supply chain — safety, finances, lawsuits, etc.

Cold chain solutions might still be a relatively new frontier for healthcare providers, but there are a number of industry best practices that can be leveraged to maximize success. Prioritizing an assigned accountability person to manage inbound and outbound processes and investing in technology that boosts transparency at every turn aids in avoiding risks, increasing patient safety and improving health systems’ bottom lines.


Envirotainer’s CryoSure® Transforms Low-Temperature Shipping

The future of cryogenic shipping is now met with a sustainable and revolutionized option thanks to Envirotainer – a leader in secure cold chain solutions for intercontinental shipments of pharmaceuticals bringing more than 30 years of expertise to the industry.

“For many years, the strategy of Envirotainer has been to extend our offering through new innovative products and services and to expand into new segments. This technology fits perfectly into our circular business model and is going to be an important part of our offering going forward. The unique, premium quality, and completely reusable technology matches perfectly into Envirotainer’s global footprint”, says Fredrik Linnér, Chief Business Development Officer at Envirotainer.

The company announced the release of four models representing its latest solution for pharma-related shipping known as the CryoSure® platform (X1, X2, X5 and X11). This platform offers multiple competitive capabilities and elements including  -70oC performance. Particularly beneficial for longer shipments, the CryoSure® technology addresses risks resulting from delays and human errors, ultimately providing safer, sustainable, and more reliable pharmaceutical shipping to benefit patients.

“This new CryoSure® technology takes pharma transportation to the next level by mitigating most if not all risks currently faced when shipping pharma products below -70°C. It is a game-changer and is going to revolutionize this part of the market”, says Mattias Almgren, CryoSure® Platform Executive at Envirotainer.

“Envirotainer has been leading the way ever since the beginning of the temperature-controlled shipments and it is with great pride that we today announce the launch of CryoSure®. We believe CryoSure® fills a substantial gap in the cryogenic -70°C shipment market and significantly improves patient safety”, says Peter Gisel-Ekdahl, CEO at Envirotainer.

Added benefits provided by CryoSure® include duration of three weeks, heat resistance, ease of use, and is known as the most sustainable solution currently on the market.

To learn more about CryoSure®, please visit:



Port of Nansha, which is part of the Guangzhou Port Group, is now the fifth-largest port globally and the fastest-growing port in South China. Encompassing the Guangzhou, Foshan, Zhongshan, and Jiangmen regions, the Port of Nansha continues increasing its international presence through strategic infrastructure projects. 

The latest development, which was deemed the International Logistics Center, serves as a mega-warehouse complex accommodating dry and cold warehouses with new on-dock rail connections for incoming manufacturers and vendors.

As part of the overall goal driving the International Logistics Center, Shenzhen Warehousing is officially at max capacity, further reiterating the importance of port diversification to promote a balanced and agile supply chain. The cold chain warehouse will accommodate a total storage capacity of 460,000 tons upon completion–the largest cold chain facility in South China. 

“Port of Nansha Cold Logistics Warehouse, with rail access to/from the Hinterlands and Europe, will undoubtfully be a game-changer in our industry,” stated an International Logistics Center executive.

The port’s developing dry warehouse will support intermodal logistics and general-purpose warehousing services with 1.8 million square feet of total coverage. Nansha’s on-dock railway station will cover 1.05 million square feet of that area as well. Long-term goals for this development will support expansions in consumer goods, distribution, 3PL and e-commerce services.

“We were attracted to Nansha because of its strategic location and business-friendly approach to helping companies like ours to grow,” stated a 3PL anchor tenant. “The opening of this new dry warehouse will drastically save on warehousing cost, origin dray, and reduce lead times for our  e-commerce customers.”

Nansha’s $231 million railway project spans from the Guangzhou Nansha Port in the east, connecting the Beijing Guangzhou Railway via the Guangzhou-Zhuhai Railway to the north and the Guizhou-Guangzhou, Nanning-Guangzhou and Liuzhou-Zhao Qing railway to the west. This massive project is known as the only on-dock rail in South China and serves as a gateway into the Belt & Road Initiative.

Meeting unprecedented demand brought on by the pandemic inspired the latest addition of a fourth new terminal offering fully automated capabilities starting this year. The construction of the new terminal will support the addition of 5 million TEUs to Nansha’s container throughput capacity and increasing the total ship-to-shore crane count from 65 to 78.

Port of Nansha America CEO and Founder John L. Painter confirmed they will continue to capitalize on additional growth opportunities, particularly to and from the North American market, which is requesting more ocean services. In 2020, Nansha saw a 55.4 percent increase in TEU movement to/from North America compared to 2019 reports, bringing the total number of TEUs moved globally to more than 17.5 million of the 23.51 million TEUs Guangzhou Port Group moved globally in 2020.


Global Berry Trade Intensifies Driven by Rasing Demand for Blueberry and Raspberry

IndexBox has just published a new report: ‘World – Berry – Market Analysis, Forecast, Size, Trends and Insights’. Here is a summary of the report’s key findings.

The global berry imports rose by +2.6% y-o-y to 2.9M tonnes, reaching $14.8B in 2020. Global imports of blueberries, cranberries, raspberries and blackberries have been rising steadily over the last decade. The U.S., Germany, China, Canada, Hong Kong SAR, the UK and the Netherlands remain the largest markets for imported berries. Spain emerged as the fastest-growing berry importer worldwide. Spain, Chile, the U.S. and Mexico constitute the largest berry exporters in the world. 

Global Berry Imports by Country

For the seventh year in a row, global berry imports increased by +2.6% to 2.9M tonnes in 2020. It indicated a strong increase from 2012 to 2020: the volume increased at an average annual rate of +5.4% over the last eight years. In value terms, berry imports rose significantly to $14.8B (IndexBox estimates) in 2020.

In 2020, the U.S. (689K tonnes), distantly followed by Germany (309K tonnes), China (236K tonnes), Canada (225K tonnes), Hong Kong SAR (172K tonnes), the UK (164K tonnes) and the Netherlands (153K tonnes) were the major importers of berries, together constituting 67% of total imports. Russia (119K tonnes), France (96K tonnes), Spain (91K tonnes), Italy (70K tonnes) and Austria (55K tonnes) followed a long way behind the leaders.

In 2020, the most prominent spike in the volume of purchases from abroad was recorded in Spain (+16.3% y-o-y). Spain emerged as the fastest-growing importer in the world, with a CAGR of +20.8% from 2012-2020.

In value terms, the U.S. ($3.8B) constitutes the largest market for imported berries worldwide, comprising 26% of global imports. The second position in the ranking was occupied by China ($1.8B), with a 12% share of global imports. It was followed by Germany, with an 8.9% share.

In 2020, the average berry import price amounted to $5,129 per tonne, growing by +5.8% against the previous year. Last year, the most notable rate of growth in terms of prices was attained by the U.S., while the other global leaders experienced more modest paces of growth.

Global Berry Imports by Type

The imports of the three major types of berries, namely strawberries, cherries and blueberries and cranberries, represented more than two-thirds of total imports. It was distantly followed by raspberries and blackberries (467K tonnes), which make up a further 16% share of total imports.

In value terms, the largest types of imported berries were blueberries and cranberries ($4.3B), cherries ($3.9B) and raspberries and blackberries ($3.4B), with a combined 78% share of global imports. Strawberries in tandem with currants and gooseberries lagged somewhat behind, together accounting for a further 22%.

From 2012 to 2020, the most notable rate of growth regarding the volume of purchases, amongst the leading imported products, was attained by blueberry and cranberry (+11.9%). Raspberry and blackberry followed these products with a CAGR of +11.5% from 2012-2020.

Largest Berry Suppliers Worldwide

Spain (437K tonnes), Chile (381K tonnes), the U.S. (299K tonnes) and Mexico (280K tonnes) represented roughly 50% of total exports of berries in 2020. It was distantly followed by Hong Kong SAR (181K tonnes), the Netherlands (152K tonnes) and Peru (151K tonnes), together comprising a 17% share of total exports. Turkey (115K tonnes), Morocco (99K tonnes), Canada (90K tonnes), Greece (64K tonnes), Belgium (49K tonnes) and Poland (45K tonnes) held a minor share of total exports.

In value terms, Chile ($2.4B), Spain ($1.7B) and the U.S. ($1.6B) appeared to be the countries with the highest levels of exports in 2020, with a combined 43% share of global exports. Mexico, the Netherlands, Peru, Hong Kong SAR, Morocco, Belgium, Turkey, Canada, Poland and Greece lagged somewhat behind, together accounting for a further 44%.

Source: IndexBox Platform


The Unique Benefits of a Climate-Controlled Warehouse

Deciding on whether or not to use a climate-controlled warehouse is often tricky. Sure, people know that there are benefits to doing so. But, if you add up the cost, you naturally wonder whether the benefits are worth it. Well, in some instances, they aren’t. But, in some cases, using a climate-controlled storage unit is practically mandatory. So, to make things a bit clearer, we will elaborate on the benefits of a climate-controlled warehouse and when to make use of them.

Top Benefits of a climate-controlled warehouse

Once people see how much climate-controlled storage costs, they are often taken aback. Even relatively simple climate-controlled storage can cost you substantially more than the standard one. And seeing that people are actively looking for ways to reduce warehousing costs, you might be wondering whether climate-controlled warehouses are necessary. Well, in certain instances, they definitely are. All you need to recognize is whether your items can survive without the protection that climate-controlled units provide.

Protection from temperature fluctuations

Even if they are pretty well-built, standard storage units cannot protect you from temperature fluctuations. Thick, well-placed insulation does help. But, it can only go so far in ensuring that the temperature inside the unit stays the same. In certain regions, even day to night changes can be substantial enough to deform or even damage your items. This is one of the reasons why North Carolina got its first In-Port cold storage facility. And why climate-controlled storage is overall necessary.

With a climate-controlled storage unit, you can ensure that the interior temperature remains the same 24/7. This is achieved not only through insulation but also through proper venting and temperature monitoring. Climate-controlled units also have sensors that can tell the workers if the temperature goes above a certain level. So, all in all, the benefit of using one is that you can rest easy knowing that your items will remain at the same temperature throughout storage.

Humidity maintenance

When it comes to certain items, the temperature might not be your primary concern. For instance, if you plan on storing wooden furniture, humidity may pose a much more significant problem. Too much humidity and your furniture can swell up and deform. Too little, and it can start to crack and splinter. To avoid this from happening, climate-controlled units take great care in maintaining the humidity.

Maintaining humidity can be surprisingly difficult in certain areas. If there are constant rains or temperature fluctuations, it can be challenging to keep the excess moisture away from the storage. A common misconception is that dry rooms are best for storage. And while this is often the case, there are exceptions where too much dry air can cause damage. Climate-controlled storage units are set up to maintain a certain level of humidity at all times.

Extra protection from dust and debris

All these extra layers of protection serve another purpose. Namely, they also stand as additional safety measures against dust and debris. Ideally, every warehouse should protect its items against dust and debris. But, the larger they are, the harder it is to notice flaws and cracks. Even a seemingly small crack can cause substantial damage, especially if it goes unnoticed. But, the need to maintain both the temperature and the humidity demands that the storage company keep a close eye on the structural integrity of the storage facility.

In this case, a small crack can show as hundreds of dollars wasted on inefficient climate control. Therefore, the company is extra careful to notice and mitigate any issues the moment they occur. This means installing systems not only to help with warehouse management but also with safety monitoring. As a result, the items stored in climate-controlled units are under much better protection, even if humidity and temperature are not the primary concern.

How to make the most out of your climate-controlled storage

To reap the benefits of a climate-controlled warehouse, it is not enough to simply put your items in it. All these benefits can only help you if you first prepare your items for storage and do the necessary research.

Proper packing

Seeing that you are considering using a climate-controlled storage facility, you probably need to store fragile items. In this case, you first need to pack them properly. This means using proper packing containers, as well as padding and wrapping supplies. While you can use standard cardboard boxes, we would advise you to consider using plastic containers. For long-term use, they are much better as they are sturdy and exceptionally resilient. When it comes to padding and wrapping, you want to do your part in giving your items the necessary protection. Sure, the climate-controlled environment will do its part. But, it is still wise to protect your goods from potential harm.

Consult with your storage providers

If this is your first time using climate-controlled storage, we advise you to consult with your storage providers. More often than not, there are important details specific to your situation. And you not being aware of those details can put your items at unnecessary risk. Explain to your storage providers what you plan to store and how long you wish to store it. They can give you helpful guidelines on how to prepare and how to store.

Get the necessary insurance

Even if you properly prepare and hire the best possible company, you should still get storage insurance. Know that the insurance provided by the storage company might not be enough to adequately cover your items. This is usually the case with luxury or antique items. Here you want to first carefully read the insurance they offer you. And then consult with an insurance agent to see if there are better options. The one thing you don’t want is to find yourself without necessary coverage if something happens.

As you can see, there are some pretty unique benefits of a climate-controlled warehouse. However, whether you should go with this option will depend on the type of goods you plan to keep in there.


Dustin Thompson worked as a storage operator and a moving consultant at SOS Moving Los Angeles. Now, he focuses on shipping industry research and writing helpful articles about various subjects related to shipping and warehousing.

pharma pharmaceutical

Resilience of Pharma Supply Chains and the Impact of Covid-19 Pandemic

How is the COVID-19 crisis influencing pharma supply chains for the future? Is the global pharma supply chain under sustained threat? And what about Asia and its dominance in the supply chain? These are all valid questions considering recent and current events.

It is generally agreed that COVID-19 marks a point in the understanding of medicine supply risks, but will it fuel efforts to establish local supplies of chemicals and APIs as a “matter of national security”? In the last 12 months, Pharma companies have become acutely aware of their dependency on complex supply chains. As the result, the pandemic has finally convinced all stakeholders to build more resilience into their supply chains going forward.

In the last 10 years or so, lower costs have been a key decider in relocating a significant share of manufacturing capabilities to China and India. We have, therefore, seen a large increase in production volumes in these countries where we know that almost 40% of registered sites for APIs were located in India or China, according to FDA data published in 2019.

The relocation of manufacturing to Asia has a direct impact on supply chain reliability and has led to drug shortages.

Believe it or not, drug shortages are not rare events and don’t just happen when there are worldwide pandemics. The average drug shortage in the US lasts 14 months…some last for years.

Before COVID-19, the FDA had already placed 145 pharmaceutical products on its drug shortages list. In April 2021, there were 175 drugs on the FDA drug shortages list.

Covid-19 didn’t have the foreseen catastrophic effect. There are several reasons for this:

-The pharma industry had a sufficient inventory buffer (average inventory is about 180 days for the entire industry)

-Drug manufacturing has long lead times, so the effect of 1-2 weeks manufacturing cessation in China would take some time to cycle through the supply chain.

-Supply disruptions of APIs or finished products made in China were not hugely prolonged, otherwise, the effects would have been more severe.

-Regulatory challenges for medicines were largely overcome, where required, by flexibilities introduced by regulators to fast-track regulatory processes. For example,

-Fast-tracking approvals to alternative sources of supply of reagents

-Ensuring availability of GMP certification to manufacture and import

-Remote auditing options

-Labelling and Packaging flexibility

Switching sources of supply (which is not straightforward in the pharmaceutical industry) was not extensively required…

-There was a relatively short period of logistical and distribution challenge. Demand spikes for transportation capacity was placed under enormous strain compounded by (i) surge in international demand for PPE, sanitiser, critical care medicine and medical devices (ii) Disruptions at ports (iii) Decreased capacity on Air Freight (iv) Re-routing of transportation (v) Personnel availability constraints due to lockdowns/quarantine (vi) Increased prices. Routes have already opened, and lockdowns are slowly being phased out.

However, despite all of this, local, regional, shorter supply routes are preferred in the current crisis and the environmental agenda is driving this theme globally.

Even if the manufacture of APIs or fine chemicals was more regionally dispersed or locally based, the raw materials for these manufacturers may not be available in these locations anyway.

It appears that we will have to manage the reality that raw material availability and cost are critical factors in where pharmaceutical manufacturing resides. As a result, increased resilience will need to be factored into our supply chains which will include sourcing, at some level, from Asia and the ROW. Moving production closer to home markets would be costly and would take years to accomplish. The smarter approach is to build resilience into the supply chain. How is this achieved?

The key is to ensure there is a risk management plan in place that focuses on the evaluation of potential issues arising from the loss of a supply chain partner or a region. This requires

-Alternate supply arrangements

-Inventory levels to provide a potential buffer

-Agile Manufacturing

This is infinitely more challenging than it seems. It means that organizations need to precisely know the quantity of each raw material or medicinal product in the supply chain and where it is at any given moment. This leads to hyper-complexity where advanced algorithms (and data analytics/AI) will be required to help design supply chains with greater resilience and risk monitoring capability.

Designing resiliency into the supply chain should incorporate placing inventory at the right points of the supply chain network (i.e., the right inventory commensurate to the risk at that point in the supply chain).

Investment in real-time production monitoring systems and integrated planning and scheduling tools (LEAN tools) could increase the agility of existing manufacturing sites to speed up supply and reduce requirements for additional expensive production equipment.

The pharmaceutical industry will continue to build resilience and secure itself against volatility in supply from Asia…perhaps at a faster pace than before.

Next time… could it be another virus, a mosquito, or a resistant bacterium?

However, we should not lose focus on the immediate supply chain challenge.

Supply chains need to plan now for resilience to navigate the current turbulent market.

covid vaccine

The Logistics Challenges of COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Prove the Need for Data Integrity

Logistics companies are often described as being in the business of moving goods from points of origin to end-use destinations, and that is, of course, true — but they are also in the business of data collection, processing, and analysis. That’s because efficient transport and delivery require data from sources such as real-time navigation systems, enterprise resource planning systems, transportation management solutions, analytics solutions, and more, as well as from sensors that track internal and external environment factors: location, the temperature of shipping containers, vibration, speed, sudden stops and starts, and so on.

But just having this data isn’t enough. To successfully navigate the intricacies of the global supply chain, logistics companies must also ensure data integrity — and the challenges of COVID-19 vaccine distribution are proving just how critical that is.

What is Data Integrity, and Why Does it Matter?

Transporting mission-critical supplies around the globe is innately challenging, but successful COVID-19 vaccine distribution is proving particularly tricky for a number of reasons. A high volume of vaccines must be quickly moved from a handful of pharmaceutical manufacturing facilities to tens of thousands of global locations ranging from government facilities to private pharmacies, and deliveries must be coordinated around cold-storage availability at the receiving end. Timing is critical, because the vaccines have a limited shelf life, and the stakes are sky-high. Any vaccines that don’t make it from port to end destination on time and in compliance with certain metrics, such as appropriate temperature thresholds, represent a lost battle in the ongoing war against the pandemic.

That’s why logistics companies need to ensure data integrity, which comprises:

Quality: Vaccine shipment data must be complete, unique, valid, timely, and consistent. For example, most vaccines, that must be kept frozen, can be shipped and stored between -58°F and +5°F (-50°C and -15°C), but Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine must be stored at -94°F (-70°C) to remain stable. Sensors must provide real-time, accurate readings of shipping container temperatures to ensure vaccines remain at the optimal temperature throughout transport, so they can be administered to people. About 25% of shipped vaccines are compromised due to poor temperature management, according to a 2019 report from the International Air Transport Association — an untenable figure for a vaccine on which global population health and economies depend.

Location intelligence: Location data, is often used, to help identify connections between people, places, or things at specific geographic places, and what exists or occurs there. The critical need for efficient last-mile delivery of vaccines, especially to rural and remote healthcare facilities, shows why location intelligence is so important. It takes more than an accurate delivery address to complete the last mile; logistics providers also need up-to-date data on weather, road conditions, road restrictions, and traffic along the route to the destination, as well as site-specific information such as loading dock location. Location data that is outdated, inaccurate, or lacking in context can make the difference between a community that receives viable vaccines, and one that doesn’t.

Enrichment: This gives context, nuance, and meaning to the logistic firms internal data by supplementing it with data from outside sources. For example, a logistics company must supplement its own routing and scheduling data with external data on cold-storage availability at end destinations. Without this context, drivers may arrive at facilities that have no room to store the vaccine shipments, and the vaccines go to waste.

Integration: All of the systems and technologies logistics organizations use to get shipments to the right place at the right time collect and provide their own data, but none of it is much good if the systems can’t talk to each other. Seamlessly integrated data provides complete situational awareness to support decision-making at each link in a supply chain. This helps companies get time-sensitive, mission-critical supplies like the COVID-19 vaccine where they need to go, exactly when they need to be there, using the most efficient path.

Data Integrity is the Key to Logistics Success

Accurate, consistent and relevant data, integrated across all platforms and enhanced by location intelligence and enrichment, help logistics companies achieve data integrity. This elevates data’s usefulness and usability, helping companies react quickly and in real-time to any issues, and make better overall business decisions.

The need for data integrity has never been more clear — and more urgent — than it is now, and lessons learned from vaccine distribution may redefine the way the logistics industry thinks about data. By achieving data integrity, logistics organizations are better equipped to get shipments to the right destination on time — and, in scenarios such as this vaccine distribution, play an integral role in saving lives and protecting global population health.


Clarence Hempfield is the Vice President, Product Management, Location Intelligence at Precisely. Clarence has been with Precisely through the Syncsort and Pitney Bowes days and first joined Pitney Bowes in 2006. He holds degrees from the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Maryland. Clarence is based in the Washington D.C. area.