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7 Elements of a Cold Chain

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A cold chain is a temperature controlled supply chain. This typically involves keeping items cold from point-of-manufacture to point-of-use. This has several elements:


Packaging designed to be energy efficient and secure such as insulated shipping containers for fresh seafood. These may be designed to safely endure short periods of increase temperature as a means of risk reduction.


Monitoring the temperature of items throughout the supply chain with tools such as a temperature data logger. Depending on the cargo, it may also be necessary to monitor other environment parameters such as air quality.


Cold transport such as refrigerator trucks, refrigerated boxcars, reefer ships and reefer containers.


A cold chain may pay particular attention to anything that can be done to reduce customs delays. This is essentially a process of controlling customs paperwork to ensure it meets all known requirements.


Cold storage facilities such as temperature controlled warehouses.

Quality Assurance

The process of quality control and managing any quality failures.


Delivery to end-customers and communication of storage requirements. This may involve integration with the customer's processes for accepting cold deliveries.
Overview: Cold Chain
A temperature controlled supply chain.
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