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Managing cold supply chain

Conference Paper · June 2016


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Managing cold supply chain
Anna Brzozowska Adam Brzeszczak
Politechnika Częstochowska, Wydział Zarządzania Politechnika Częstochowska, Wydział Zarządzania
Czestochowa, Polska Czestochowa, Polska

Justyna Imiołczyk Katarzyna Szymczyk

Politechnika Częstochowska, Wydział Zarządzania Politechnika Częstochowska, Wydział Zarządzania
Czestochowa, Polska Czestochowa, Polska

Abstract—Managing the supply chain of specialized products goods in a particular controlled temperature, including the
concerns the logistics services of many groups of products in transport as well as the storage. [6]
monitored temperature range. Each group has its own specific
parameters of storing and transporting, which if not kept are Fig. 1. The cold chain
dangerous for the consumers and may result in the withdrawal
of batches of goods from the market. These logistics services are TEMPERATURE COLD
provided by the specialized entities customizing the chain supply
according to the restricted requirements. Such an indispensable
link of the specialized supply chain is refrigerated transport and
its market share has been going up in recent years.
Fig. 2. The cold chain infrastructure
Keywords—managing supply chain, cold supply chain,
refrigerated transport, monitored temperature range, transport,
storing, package
Supply - Precooling System
I. INTRODUCTION Procurement - Farms (Rural Markets)
The supply chain is the process for multiphase flow of
goods from the producer, through all intermediate forms, up to
the final recipient. It concerns the coordination of activities Transport - Refrigerated Trucks
within the two-way flow of goods, services, information and - Refrigerated Railway Wagons
resources from the manufacturer to the end user. In its range, it - Refrigerated Cargo Containers
includes the international market. [1] The logistics chain
supply includes factors such as sources and suppliers of
materials, way of purchasing, flow of materials inside the Storage - Cold Storage
company, storing of prepared products, distribution and - Warehouse
transport. [2] It concerns as well the marketing analysis of the
market and the logistics customer service. The appropriate
control of the supply chain depends on carefully selected - Refrigerated Trucks
distribution and supply channels. [3] In case of international - Refrigerated Railway Wagons
supply chains, there are variable transport conditions which
- Refrigerated Cargo Containers
enforce the adequate protection of cargo from damage. The
specificity of some transported and stored goods requires
temperature monitoring during the flow and storage. The term
End Customer - Retail, Terminal, Markets,
related to the management of the flow of goods requiring
temperature monitoring is the cold supply chain.[4] Factory, Ports, Airport


The cold chain first of all concerns the transport of food,
pharmaceutical, or chemical products. These products require The cold chain infrastructure includes suppliers, transport
storing and transporting in strictly specified ranges of system, warehouses, and the end customers. The Figure 2
temperature.[5] The cold chain is the way of distribution of
illustrates the example of the cold chain scheme together with  Defining, maintaining and ensuring temperature
its all counterparts. specifications during transport

The cold chain management concerns the creating of the  Transportation study
integrated model of distribution focused on three key factors:  Acceptance criteria for storage and transport of
i.e. product properties, performance characteristics, material between sites
distribution channels, and places of origin and destination of
the product. [4] The Figure 3 shows the schematic areas  Validation of transport carrier
included in the cold chain. Product properties concern their
 Standard operating procedures, records and
physical characteristics and special requirements for
documentation to ensure the conditions
temperature and humidity during transport, handling and
storage. Places of origin and destination of the product  Time out of refrigeration
describe the place of the final production of consumption of
products sensitive to temperature fluctuations. The features of  transport conditions at various stages of distribution
distribution channels correspond to methods and including: manufacturer to third party between two
information[7] allowing the right choice of means of transport sites or to and from a filing contractor
of products in controlled temperature. Interaction of the given  Assurance that temperature and humidity controls are
three main elements enable the description of the cold chain in monitored during shipping
details by separating its subsequent subdivisions. Most of
products sensitive to temperature fluctuations, in case of even  Standard practice for performance testing of transport
the smallest damage during the transport, reloading or storing containers
lose the quality and their market demand goes down. Even
The integrity of cargo concerns the conditions of loading,
tiny short in time changes of temperature may result in
reloading and unloading of goods in a way that guarantees the
product quality loss and at the same time the market value
minimizing of risk of product quality loss during the transport.
declines. This leads to large losses gained by the supplier, as
It includes additionally the supplying of adequate packages
well as to the reduction of the profitability of the entire supply
and packaging techniques. Whereas the integrity of transport
is characterized by the actions and treatments to provide
Fig. 3. The areas of cold chain constant transport temperature for products sensitive to the
temperature fluctuations. [9]


The Conditional The goods requiring transportation and storing in precisely
integrity of demand specified temperature can be included in several different
cargo groups. Among them, there are food products i.e. meat, dairy
Product products, fruit and vegetables, deep-frozen products, flowers
and plants, as well as products of dissimilar sectors, i.e.
chemicals, pharmaceuticals and other medical purposes goods.
Industries using cold supply chain:
Distribution destination
 Fruits and vegetables
 Floriculture
 Meat and marine products
The integrity of  Pharmaceutical Products
 Dairy products
 Ice cream sector and confectionery
According to temperature range the products should be
kept in, the five groups of cargo can be distinguished:
Manufacturers in order to know the characteristics of the
products and to maintain proper conditions during the  Banana (12oC do 14oC), a group characterized by
distribution process should: [17] temperature range enabling to monitor ripening of
 temperature necessity inside the cargo and
maintenance  Pharmaceutical (2oC do 8oC), for most specialty
pharmaceuticals including vaccines
 Chill (2oC do 4oC), products for which the average IV. MODERN MODELS OF DISTRIBUTION IN COLD CHAIN
storage temperature include fresh fruits and The distribution in cold chain has not just one solution model
vegetables, dairy products, meat products and every time it is necessary to take into consideration the
 Frozen (-16oC do -20oC), category for frozen risk and limitations appearing in transport of products in
products including meat controlled temperature. All depends on type of distribution,
loading settlement, unloading possibilities, costs and
 Deep freeze (-28oC do -30oC), group with the lowest temperature range to be kept. The study of these factors
achievable temperature, designed to transport allows the choice of the safest and the most cost-effective
seafood. [4] model. [12] [13]
The variety of temperature range in relation to cargo Fig.4. Cold chain supply compliance
service is large and should be strictly complied at every step of
distribution. The above temperature ranges for groups of
products describe only the general division of temperatures for Personnel Training
the mentioned goods. In practice, there is even larger diversity
of requirements corresponding to the monitored temperature Regulatory Gap Analysis
transport. Specific requirements for storage conditions are set
in case of food products. For example, fresh meat is
transported in the temperature range from -1oC up to 7oC, Monitoring Solutions for Storage
whereas frozen in -12oC, and in case of deep-frozen, the Conditions of Cold Chain Products
temperature must be -18oC. In case of fruit, the temperature


depends on types of fruit. Bananas need to be transported in
temperature more or less 13oC, in other cases the banana skin Qualification of Storage Equipment

begins to turn brown and the product loses its quality. The
other types of fruit such as: plums, strawberries, kiwi, pears
require a bit lower temperatures, close to 0oC. Some goods are
transported in changeable temperatures with regard to season Temperature Profile Studies in
of the year. In the case of flower bulbs, they are transported in Transport
wintertime in 18oC, while in springtime they are kept in
temperature of 7oC. The strict requirements are set among the Test, Design and Qualification of
frozen products which must be kept in constant temperature Cold Chain Packaging Systems
not higher than -18oC according to the Regulation of the
Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development dated 19
September 2013 on the detailed requirements for the storage Maintenance of Cold Chain
and transport of quick-frozen food and agriculture goods. [11] Management and Compliance.
It allows exceeding the value of 3°C during loading and
unloading, except for ice-cream, where the temperature limits
are given by the manufacturer. Also pharmaceuticals are under Temperature Mapping of
strict requirements for temperature and humidity. In this case, Warehouse and Storage areas
the quality of products distribution decides about the safety of
patients' health and life. Therefore, the rules of distribution of
such products are specified in two legal acts: Act of 06-Sep-
2011 Pharmaceutical Law and the Decree of the Minister of The oldest model of distribution in the cold chain is the
Health of 26-Jul-2002 on the procedures of Good Distribution transport by vehicles equipped with refrigeration units which
Practice. The temperature of storage of medicines is adapted can control the temperature inside the vehicle compartment.
to the information of product characteristics and usually takes The solution is the most frequently used in door to door
three compartments [9]: delivery and in mass transportation. The biggest danger of not
maintaining the required conditions appears in the moment of
 Room temperature ( 15oC – 25oC) loading and unloading, thus, it is essential to adapt the
reception point to the cold chain standards. It should has its
 Cool range (8oC-15oC) own refrigerator compartment, protected gates, and should
 Cold chain (2oC-8oC) allow loading and unloading straight from the inside of the
building. From the economical point of view, the model of
Each of these groups is characterized by different methods of direct distribution is not beneficial because the process to have
transport, protection and storage. The methods and techniques fully loaded vehicle has its limitations. The solution to this
used to provide the product a suitable temperature are different problem is indirect supply, where the costs of transport are
as well. distributed among some recipients, the transport itself is more
effective because of fully loaded vehicle, however, there is the
risk of loss of the specific transport conditions due to more
frequent unloading processes. Inappropriate unloading
conditions at one recipient's place may cause the damage of
his or her products and also the damage of all transported management of building and products stored inside. The goods
cargo. In order to minimize the risk of loss, vehicles should in storage should be kept away from organic or mechanical
be adequately protected and the unloading should be done as contamination, microorganisms, pests as well as unauthorized
quick as possible with refrigeration units switched on. The risk access. In addition in the warehouses, there should be an area
not to maintain the permanence of cold chain exists also in of high storage for the pallet units as well as special facilities
case of the distribution based on reloading. Especially allowing to store the goods at specific temperatures. It is
equipped vehicles take the cargo from the producer and then required that the warehouses had a heating and cooling system
the cargo is reloaded on other smaller trucks or vans which allowing to maintain a certain temperature anywhere in the
directly go to the recipients, and the process takes place in
warehouse, at any time of the year. In order to control the
special reloading compartments which should meet all
efficiency of installed equipment, it is recommended in the
necessary temperature requirements. The transported cargo
often requires different storage conditions therefore, the warmest and the coldest month of the year to map the
companies more often look for the ways to organize the cargo warehouse, i.e. its detailed measurements of temperature and
transport form variable temperature ranges. It is possible with humidity in the strategic points. If the results do not
the use of vehicles with shared cargo space, providing a correspond to norms, the systems responsible for the
variety of temperature ranges. The use of this type of transport appropriate conditions should be modified, repaired, replaced
increases the effectiveness of stocking the vehicles. The other or auxiliary equipment should be installed. The essential part
solution used in transport of products requiring different of warehouses is insulation of walls capable of maintaining
temperature maintenance is the distribution based on thermal adequate temperature. Storage shelving should be
packs. The advantage of this model is the transport by characterized by the appropriate strength and stable
standard cargo vehicles used for goods requiring the construction. The walls and floors in the warehouse should be
temperature-controlled transportation. Application of proper finished in such a way that their cleaning meets the sanitary-
construction of packaging and cooling cartridges ensures the hygienic requirements. [10]
safety of the products contained therein. The disadvantage of
the model is the size of the good packed in such a way that VI. RESTRICTIVE PACKAGING
may become bigger up to 100% which will effect on the The transport of fresh and the temperature-controlled products
economy of transport. The use of thermal packages requires as is determined by restrictive regulations. The method of choice
well providing the adequate place for storing and packaging for manufacturers and distributors of transport packaging may
both at the supplier's and recipient's place. For each types of
have a significant impact to maintain appropriate physical and
products and their temperature ranges an appropriate size of
container should be provided and the right amount of cooling chemical properties of the products in transport. The most
cartridges and also the change of temperature in the period of frequently used are insulated plastic containers, thermal
time inside the container should be controlled. Within the cold trolleys, and insulating covers. The law clearly states that the
chain, refrigerated containers are used, too. In contrast to the products which do not have a packaging unit and those whose
isothermal packaging, there is much possibility of setting and packages do not provide adequate protection from damage,
controlling the constant temperature. The refrigerated contamination or deterioration of health must be transported in
containers can be used as bulk packaging in joint cargo sealed packages or containers. The choice of them depends on
transport, as a part of a vehicle equipment. The use of type of product. In case of food products, it is required to use
refrigerated container in groupage distribution, the risk of packaging certified by the National Institute of Hygiene. In
product quality loss is minimized during the loading and case the cold chain, it is necessary to maintain the adequate
unloading because the container is the cargo packaging at the temperature using special means of transport and cold storage.
same time. In case of bulk distribution, the use of container Safety guidelines regarding packaging include maintaining
requires the place of loading and reloading equipped with a proper temperature, constant monitoring and protection
ramp and forklifts. It is necessary as well to adjust vehicles to against pests. The exact requirements for the transport
the use of external power for refrigerated containers, which packaging are specified by the manufacturer who knows the
can be a major limitation of the reasons to use only suitably specificity of the product. Packages are specific to the
adapted for this purpose means of transport. The use of individual groups of products. In the case of fruit and
refrigerated containers is also the most expensive solution, vegetables, the most commonly used packages are cardboard
therefore, it is especially used for the transport of highly
boxes made of corrugated cardboard with locking elements in
sensitive and valuable products. [6]
the base enabling them to dam. Other packaging used to
distribute the vegetables are plastic bags as well as wooden
V. MONITORED STORAGE boxes. Boxes used in transport of fruit and vegetables and
Maintaining suitable temperatures requires special technical other food products are gaining popularity due to their
equipment in warehouses and the proper management of the flexibility. They are made of wood or plastic, so are easy to
storage space. Warehouses as the elements of the cold chain transport by forklift truck, and they are stable and durable.
should be constantly monitored in terms of temperature and Insulated boards are smooth and thus easy to clean, so bacteria
humidity in order to register and control the required and fungi do not carry on stored products. Pallets are also
conditions. They should be fully air-conditioned, equipped made of HDPE - a material suitable for contact with food,
with modern protection solutions in terms of security suitable for the storage of goods, both at room temperature and
in cold storage. In the transport of food, there are also mobile because only after comparing the actual road data delivery and
containers possible to mount on all models of vans. They data received from monitoring devices can confirm the
guarantee the maintenance of temperature from -20oC up to 25 correctness of operating of the cold chain. [6]
C. If there is a need, a mobile refrigerated container may be Currently, there is an increasing interest in solutions ensuring
moved to another means of transport and the required the active maintenance of conditions during transport. The
temperature is not lost. Refrigerated containers can transport search of new solutions is enforced by the need of providing
almost all goods requiring the temperature-controlled the right optimal conditions for products especially sensitive
transportation. Another way of transportation to minimize the to temperature fluctuations such as valuable goods or medical
risk of interruption of the cold chain is the truck insulated, products. Vehicles are equipped with the isothermal cargo
allowing transport without loss of quality of products by compartments, chillers and heating systems for recording and
maintaining the proper temperature. Some types of products measuring the temperature. In the warmest and the coldest
require special packaging types, as in the case of fish. Special month of the year, there should be mapping of the cargo
packaging enables the transport of fish in crushed ice and fish compartments carried out. Vehicles can also have the device
are not able to escape outside while placed on the respective to transmit data about the conditions of transport of products
pads to protect them from immersion in water if ice has requiring constant monitoring. Difficulties may arise in the
melted. The transport of products under controlled case of combined transport, the use of transshipment despite
temperature includes as well the use of thermal insulation the same vehicle equipment and the control of conditions in
hoods which allow coverage of pallets during transportation of each mode of transport requires the IT system. In the case of
frozen and refrigerated cargo that requires protection from combined transport it is also important to protect goods during
handling and providing the appropriate designation to ensure
freezing and super cooling. Hoods advantage is light, easy and
proper identification. [10]
fast in use and has high thermal performance. [15] For the
transport of pharmaceuticals isothermal polystyrene containers On the market there are many companies offering various
are used, the ones of appropriate thickness of the pack along types of vehicles used for transport of fresh products. Despite
with internal cooling cartridges to provide appropriate the plethora of bodybuilders and isothermal trailer, the used
conditions for transport. [4] technologies by them are similar. Most of vehicles bodies are
made of aluminium foil or laminate of polyester and glass.
VII. PERTINENT MEANS OF TRANSPORT Polyurethane foam or polystyrene are used as insulation
Requirements for the transport itself are equally strict, because material. It is also important to seal properly with isotherms
of the need to maintain the cold chain cycle transport. Suitable and chilling with multiple seals. Each vehicle is equipped with
conditions for transport and sanitary safety of food during the refrigeration unit inside or outside the refrigerator. Its
transport are controlled by means of an international power depends on the requirements of the transport and
agreement ATP on "International transport of perishable vehicle size. Choosing the right trailer or building isothermal
foodstuffs and the special equipment for such carriage", which is not simple and adjusting the vehicle to the needs of the
is the current legal act in Poland. According to the document, distributor is important due to safety reasons. On the market,
the international transport of food products requiring the there is a large number of types of specialized equipment and
controlled temperature should be carried out using isothermal technology. Among the leading Polish manufacturer is the
transport, icehouse, cold and heated transport corresponding company Wielton offering refrigerated semi-trailers with
precisely to the specific requirements. Regulations enforce cabinets glued with the type of "sandwich" plates isolated with
from the owners of specialized vehicles the control the cars' the CFC-free polyurethane foam. The trailer has a low weight
tightness and efficiency of chillers. Transport companies must and its inner skin and outer panels are made of polyester -
control the vehicles with a certain frequency, older ones fibreglass laminate with gel coat. Among the foreign
require more frequent review. The transport of deep frozen companies on the Polish market, the Koegel's chillers can be
products require cooling compartments certified by ATP type recognized. In the company's offer, a new silent cooling
FRC, meaning semi highest standard of tightness and a full system using aluminium floor structure reducing noise during
range of temperature setting on the chiller. At the same time, loading and unloading is included which also can prevent the
the aggregates must have enough power to maintain the proper absorption of moisture. Effective insulation is done due to
temperature throughout the transport. The carriers are obliged reinforced 45 mm wall, 85 mm roof and 125 mm floor.
to have safety certificates HACCP or IFS of the safety of food Vehicles of this type are particularly useful in groupage and
products. It is common phenomenon that the customers pallet cargo transportation. The company KRONE offers
themselves enforce appropriate conditions of carriage besides trailers with the chassis slightly sunk into the floor, reinforced
the law. A legal requirement is to have temperature recorders, against dents by sloped profiles at the back part. In the middle,
enabling customers to present printouts from thermograph of the aluminium side cover has been used, glued to the side
each incoming batch. [9] An important element of verification walls and welded to the plate floor. Schmitz Cargobull offers
of the conditions is to record events occurring during solutions tailored to the needs of specific customers, for
distribution. It is important to determine the actual road of the example the system to transport 66 euro pallets, using special
cargo: the moment of loading, time, place and length of cross beams mounted in the rails of the side walls. The
handling and unloading. The transport company should record company also uses an insulated partition wall enabling the
the data using waybills, records with barcode scanner or RFID division of semi-trailers into two independent temperature
reader. The records should be available to the involved entities chambers. The companies G.MAGYAR and Pro-Wam offer
thermally insulated tanks for the transport of liquid products, techniques that can help to maintain the adequate standards in
vulnerable to quality modifications due to temperature storage, packaging or vehicles equipment. Knowledge about
changes. The thermostats allow to monitor the temperature the specifications of products and their proper ways of
range from -20 ° C to 120 ° C. In Poland, the greatest interest distribution is not only required, but it is absolutely
do evoke the trailers for the semi-long-distance transport, with fundamental. Therefore, the managing staff should be fully
three or four compartments enabling independent distribution qualified. Future cold chain distribution will focus on the
of temperature. [14] complete implementation of information technology in each
stage of the chain, instant online monitoring and use of eco
Means for temperature-controlled transporting continuously friendly highly developed equipment that will provide no-error
evolve and are directed at new technological solutions. The delivery.
built-ins and semi-trailers have systems not only constantly
monitoring the temperature but immediately informing about
the unit failure or loss of containment in the chamber. Modern
semi-trailers are equipped with protection against interference References
by third parties, and the owner has the ability to monitor the
conditions of transported goods due to the recording and
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