Cold chain logistics is the expertise or know-how and the process that allows for the safe transport of temperature-sensitive goods and products along the supply chain. Precisely, the cold chain is dependent on the knowledge or skill to evaluate and accommodate the link between temperature and perishability.
The cost measured in terms of economic, social, and environmental is massive. Yet, a large proportion of the populace doesn’t give much thought or attention to the issue of food silently spoiling or perishing in warehouses, markets and trucks around the world. On a more serious note, food wastage would rank third in carbon emission if it were a country.
Food spoilage and wastage have a significant carbon footprint, resulting in approximately 4.4 gigatons of carbon dioxide per year. The spree spoilage and wastage of food result from the inadequate temperature-controlled logistics (TCL) infrastructure around the world, with no exception to Ghana.
Approximately half of the annual global food production is wasted through poor storage. The wastage of food presents the loss of valuable resources such as labor, energy, water, and land. The need for temperature-controlled logistics infrastructure is more volatile now than ever as the wastage reduces the available food to nourish the world’s growing population, a significant threat to the world’s food security.
In addition, for pharmaceutical purposes, the much-awaited covid-19 vaccines currently developed, together with those in various stages of development, require careful temperature control during all phases shipment, storage, and distribution. Over the years, millions of vaccines and other essential medications have failed to reach the people who need them most due to the lack of TCL infrastructure. These products require stable or vefrigidemperatures all the way from the manufacturing plant to the patient body.
Temperature-controlled logistics is a vital but often under-recognized tool for achieving world Bank Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)of improving food security, ensuring economic prosperity, limiting carbon emissions,s and guaranteeing public health. AsTheack of cold storage and refrigerated transport in the medical sector alone contributes to 1.5 million vaccine-preventable deaths among children annually.
THE SOLUTION TEMPERATURE CONTROL LOGISTICS (TCL)INFRASTRUCTURE HAS TO OFFER
The covid-19 pandemic vaccination is placing a high demand on TCL infrastructure worldwide. To maintain the stability and potency of the covid-19 vaccines, they will need to be transported and stored at low temperatures from the factory to the point of use. Health officials have indicated that most vaccines will likely need to be maintained between 2° and 8°C (36° to 46°F) throughout the shipping process to stay potent. Specifying that some vaccines require as low as -70°C (-94°F) is essential. “The recent promising announcements regarding the effectiveness of the leading vaccines will not translate into results on the ground without additional investments in TCL infrastructure around the world.” We must be conscious of pumping so much money into finding the solution and so little into the logistics and supply chain to get the vaccines to the needed masses.
Moreover, TCL infrastructure is crucial for storing and shipment of perishable essentials such as seafood, vegetables, fruits, cosmetics, and pharmaceuticals. Handling these products within a low-temperature environment in an unbroken chain starting from the collection, packing, processing, storage, transport, and distribution are critical parts of the comprehensive TCL strategy. Maintaining the cold chain is vital for food products from the farm to the table. Each product has different characteristics. Hence, it places additional requirements on its treatment in the supply chain. For example, ice cream must remain frozen, while fresh salad maintains its quality best when chilled.
Medical products, vaccines, and other consumer goods can have varying temperature requirements. Cold chain logistics has many moving parts;
- Cold storage: facility that stores goods and products waiting to be transported.
- Cooling systems are systems that bring food up to and keep it at an appropriate temperature during processing, storing, and transporting.
- Cold transport: Ensures goods remain at a stable temperature and humidity levels.
- Cold processing: Facilities that allow for processing goods with sanitation in mind.
- Cold distribution: Deals with loading boxes or crates and pallets to distribute goods.
Depending on how long the transport is, the package shipment’s size, and the seasonality, cold chain transportation relies on several methods to keep goods at a proper temperature.
- Gel Packs: Often used for medical and pharmaceutical shipments.
- Dry ice: Keep goods frozen for extended periods, used for dangerous goods, pharmaceuticals, and food. Dry ice sublimates rather than melts when it comes in contact with air.
- Liquid nitrogen: This is used to transport biological cargo (organs, tissues)
- Eutectic Plates: These are cols plates similar to gel packs but can be reused.
- Refers: A temperature-controlled, insulated van, semi, truck, or standard ISO container. It allows for temperature-controlled air circulation.
Temperature-controlled logistics (TCL) has a lot of benefits to offer in the niche market of cold chains in Ghana. It possesses the potential to serve the pharmaceutical and food industry through a variety of services.
How often does food get damaged in your care? And to what extent do you think Temperature Control Logistics can help to mitigate the spread of Food damage?