Just like it sounds, temperature controlled shipping is the transport of goods that are sensitive to climate conditions. These types of items require special handling and storage for the entire duration of transport so that stable temperatures are maintained at all times.
When moving products that are sensitive to temperature, delivery timeframes and interruptions become critical to plan out perfectly. Pulling off more basic shipments can often have some difficulties to maneuver. So, when you add additional needs of temperature control protection, there are all new considerations that arise.
But as with all things shipping and logistics, building out a strong strategy beforehand means you can ship climate-affected items with ease. Let’s take a look at how to best plan for temperature controlled freight shipping so your supply chain is expertly protected from mishaps.
Step 1: Identify critical shipping needs.
To have set in place the most efficient and cost-effective logistics, you must first identify and prioritize critical shipping needs. Of all the items you may be shipping, not all are going to be created equal as far as their needs go. No two shipments will require the same temperature stability, speed, distance covered, permits, hub transfers, or security requirements.
So, work to tailor your logistics approach to what these items are going to need. Isolate perishable items from those that are not as temperature-controlled shipping can have quite an impact on cost. You don’t want to be stuck in a scenario where you’re shipping non-perishable items with temperature control coverage that they don’t need.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) defines a shipment as perishable if its contents will deteriorate over a period of time if exposed to severe environmental conditions like extreme temperatures or humidity. Examples include (but are not limited to): pharmaceuticals, food and beverages, plastics, and electrical components.
Step 2: Plan for less capacity freight.
Trucks and vans equipped to move refrigerated freight will inherently have less capacity. This equipment has an extra layer of insulation in the walls that reduces the overall space inside. Keeping this in mind, you should adjust your packaging in relation to the smaller inside dimensions.
As you’re packing and preparing your freight, you’ll want to be very clear about the temperature guidelines at all points throughout transit. Most carriers work within a temperature range, so being very clear about an acceptable range will help to avoid any confusion.
At points along the shipment’s journey, standard practice would mean that your shipments will spend time in docks, especially for loading and unloading. Temperature-controlled docks help ensure that the integrity of the items is maintained until the truck is ready to move with the shipment or unload it for delivery.
Step 3: Plan for a perfect packaging fit.
During transport, it’s unavoidable that your shipment could be exposed to harsh environments like extreme temperatures or humidity. This is where your packaging for the items will make all the difference. Insulating your packaging is the most highly recommended deterrent to unforeseen issues. The most commonly used insulation materials are expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam, rigid polyurethane foam and reflective materials like radiant barrier films.
For some cool temperature-sensitive items, gel coolants are ideal. It’s suggested to freeze coolants, products and the insulated container all as one unit (if possible) before packaging.
Step 4: Partner with a trusted freight service provider.
The difference between successful temperature-controlled shipments and non-successful ones often comes down to the freight service provider you partner with on the shipment. Your business has the most options for equipment and cost when working with a provider who understands all the shipping solutions available for your particular circumstances.
At Pride Logistics, we have decades of experience from building a wide array of relationships within a vast carrier network so we can meet the needs of even the most complicated temperature-controlled shipments. While there is a lot to know about the needs and options when handling temperature-controlled freight, with the proper tools, preparation, and partner provider, your shipment will never be off track.