Cold Chain Logistics: Which System Is Right for You?

Choosing the right cold chain system is key to keeping trials on schedule and free of logistical headaches. Xerimis guides clients toward suggested logistical plans and helps you to understand how and why we land there.

First, a distinction: Cold chain logistics has become shorthand for climate control at any temperature. Knowing this distinction can prevent confusion when discussing literal cold chain logistics – that is, methods of maintaining frozen or refrigerated states during shipping.

Your product’s cold chain logistical plan weighs fixed factors (product-specific criteria, budget) against variables including projected shipping time. The right balance differs from project to project.

Most trials opt for one of three cold chain logistics methods:

Passive cold chain supply involves no energy input, such as batteries or power, during transport. Products are placed in an insulated fridge or cool pack which can be sent via a standard courier service like FedEx. If the container ships within the projected time frame and behaves as expected, the necessary temperature is maintained through delivery.

Active transport uses shipping containers equipped with battery packs and HVAC. These sustain required temperatures for longer-than-expected time periods. With active transport, your project can weather minor shipping delays. There’s an added step and cost, though: active cold chain supply requires couriers and wide body aircraft specially equipped with charging systems that can power containers throughout transport.

Finally, there’s temperature-controlled ground transportation. Here, a validated truck or van moves supplies from point A to point B. Equipped with backup active HVAC systems in the event of failure, these vehicles’ parent companies also maintain backup transportation in the event that one of their vehicles breaks down.

Larger shipments with higher value products generally opt for active shipment to reduce the risk of excursion, or error. But active containers can be hard to secure, which can stall shipment in instances where early planning wasn’t in place.

Containers required for passive transport are relatively economical and accessible. Opt for a specialized courier when using them, and you reduce some of the risk of taking this more time-sensitive approach.

If you’re sending products to the European Union, tighter temperature control and tracking criteria almost always call for validated shipping methods and the qualifying of couriers to GDP standards.

Whatever the specifics and whichever route you choose, early and active planning is crucial. If you’d like to discuss the logistics of your next project, please contact us.