The Cold Chain Market is estimated to be worth $278.2 billion in 2023 and is projected to grow to $428.4 billion by 2028. This growth is driven primarily by the pharmaceutical market, with drugs and biologics needing effective and compliant passive packaging and active cold storage and transport to reach their destination intact.1frequently asked questions - cold chain logistics

A large part of this significant growth is in the Asia-Pacific region, where there is increased demand for perishable goods, including various processed foods, dairy products, and meat. As infrastructure capabilities grow to meet demand, so too will the need for cold chain shipping means.

The continued development of personalised drugs is also increasing the strain on the cold chain, as more localised, last mile temperature-controlled logistics legs will demand smaller, handheld passive packaging, along with smaller active transport solutions such as vans and motorcycles, complementing the trucks, ships and planes delivering large-load cold chain logistics.

Growth, diversity of logistics legs, and expansion of available temperature-sensitive products are significant contributing factors in the ever-increasing cost of cold chain shipping, making it more important than ever to tailor your cold chain solutions to your product and shipping lane.

This is specifically relevant to packaging, with each solution designed to offer different benefits depending on the type of cold chain you’re operating. Let’s look at some of the different types of cold chains and how they might affect the type of temperature-controlled packaging you invest in.

How understanding your cold chain requirements can save you money without reducing quality

The journey to understanding your cold chain, its specific challenges and opportunities, and crucially what solutions to invest in starts with three simple questions: how often do you ship? What do you ship? Where do you ship?

No two cold chains are exactly the same, with variables including:

  • Delivery legs

Delivery legs increase cold chain links, where packaging moves from one vehicle (truck, train, plane, ship), to another. Depending on when and where two legs intersect, packaging can be left outside or not in active temperature-controlled environments for a period of time that might put your validation timings at risk.

  • Distance

An intercontinental cold chain naturally presents more challenges than a local cold chain.

  • Time

Distance doesn’t always dictate time. The number of delivery legs, the borders being crossed, and the types of logistics being deployed can all impact your payload’s time on the road.

  • External temperatures

If intersecting legs meet in a country with extreme hot or cold weather conditions, this will need to be factored into your planning, as validation times may need to be altered to meet the demand.

  • Active or passive logistics available

Not all cold chain logistics legs will offer active temperature control, so essentially your packaging will be doing all the work. This is especially true of air freight transport, where active temperature control is very rare.

  • Security

Is your payload passing through security hotspots? It’s worth working closely with logistics providers to understand any hot points in your cold chain and whether they can be mitigated with logger technology or other solutions designed to protect high-value shipments.

  • How many borders are being crossed?

Some border crossings take longer to pass through than others. This is often down to the processing power of the local officials, who may require 24 hours or longer to process paperwork that allows your payload to keep moving. These challenges will be picked up in advance by all good logistics providers.

All of these things will impact the type of logistics you deploy and the packaging you use to keep your payload safe. The number of variables involved in deploying an effective cold chain demands a bespoke approach to your cold chain needs.

You can read our article on the 5 main risks in cold chain shipping here.

Below, we demonstrate the value you can gain from understanding your cold chain requirements and then deploying a specific packaging type to meet them, whether it’s purchasing single-use shippers, multi-use shippers with return logistics, or a rental product designed to cut stock holding costs and waste.

Single-use, multi-use, or rental: what packaging offers the best value for money?

Single-use versus multi-use: cost-efficiency

  • For one-off shipments, single-use packaging is up to 104% more cost-efficient than a multi-use option.
  • For five shipments, however, this flips, with multi-use packaging up to 70% more cost-effective than single-use alternatives.
  • For regular, monthly shipments, this efficiency grows up to 294%, and then up to 1577% for 52 shipments (weekly).

In summary, if you’re sending ad-hoc or infrequent one-off shipments, it makes more sense to utilise single-use packaging, but for regular, more organised cold chains, investing in multi-use packaging will save you money, with efficiency growing the more you ship.

This is only tempered by storage and conditioning costs, which are variable depending on volumes and temperature ranges and need to be factored into planning from the outset.

Multi-use versus rental: cost efficiency

  • For one-off shipments, renting is far more cost-effective, with up to a 283% reduction in cost.
  • For five shipments, the cost difference is negligible, but this doesn’t include pre-conditioning and storage costs attached to owning a multi-use solution, so renting would still present a more cost-efficient option in this case.
  • However, for 12 (monthly) shipments, and 52 (weekly) shipments, multi-use becomes up to 136% and 891% more cost-efficient, respectively.

In summary, for one-off or low-level shipping, rental packaging makes more sense as it removes storage and conditioning costs, with the added bonus of removing any packaging waste and damage to the environment.

However, for more established cold chains sending regular shipments, multi-use packaging becomes more cost-efficient the more you ship.

Again, this is tempered by storage and conditioning costs which you should always factor into costs before making a decision.

ORCA temperature-controlled packaging

ORCA temperature-controlled packaging offers single-use, multi-use and rental cold chain packaging solutions. These are divided further into handheld, 1L solutions, right up to pallet-sized solutions for large-scale pharmaceutical shipments.ORCA Packaging Product Range

As detailed above, which solution you deploy for your cold chain will require multiple inputs, which our expert Technical Team and Customer Service Team can support you with every step of the way.

All ORCA solutions can be ordered with pre-conditioning included, meaning you’ll receive your packaging ready to use.

You can explore ORCA further here.

ORCA Rental

ORCA Rental has three essential benefits as opposed to owning single or multi-use solutions:

  • No storage requirements
  • Only use what you need – cost-effective
  • Pre-conditioning and cleaning built-in – cost-effective
  • No waste – achieve your carbon goals

As detailed above, ORCA Rental comes into its own for ad-hoc, less frequent cold chain shipping, as you get to access the best in temperature-controlled packaging without needing to make room at your warehouse, time-consuming and costly conditioning and needing to find ways to dispose of the packing at the end of its lifespan. We take care of all of that for you.

So, if you’re operating a fluctuating and infrequent cold chain, ORCA Rental could be the ideal solution. Click here to find out more.

If you know what you’re looking for and want to buy now, visit our online store here.

Extra protection: PalletGuard pallet covers

PalletGuard Pallet Covers provide an added layer of protection for pallet-sized shipments. So, if your payload spends longer than planned outside active temperature control, PalletGuard extends the life of your passive temperature-controlled packaging system.Assembled pallet cover

PalletGuard pallet covers are broken into three sub-brands, all offering slightly different benefits. To find out more about PalletGuard and how it can extend the life of your passive temperature-controlled pallet shipper packaging, click here.

Let’s collaborate

If you’ve got a cold chain challenge that requires sector-leading cold chain packaging, we’d love to hear from you. Click below to get in touch.

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External Sources:

  1. Yahoo Finance (2023) – Cold Chain Market Worth
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