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The Booming Cold Chain

on October 25, 2016 No comments

In its loosest definition, the cold chain is a supply chain that is temperature controlled. There are many branches and areas that come under the cold chain umbrella, ranging from items that must be stored in a cool area to those which must not exceed a very specific minimum temperature for any prolonged period of time. When thinking of items that must be kept in temperature controlled conditions there are two products that quickly spring to mind, food and medicine. In each case, the mishandling of these products in relation to temperature can hold serious and potentially life-threatening consequences for the end consumer or patient.

A recent study by Pharmaceutical Commerce has shown that we are in the midst of a sharp upward trend in the shipping of cold chain pharmaceutical items. The value of cold chain pharm products is estimated to be $12.6 billion in 2016 while growing at a steady rate of 8-9% per year. Perhaps more importantly is that the value of the items being shipped is thought to be in the region of $260 billion and will grow by 65% by the year 2020.

By 2020, pharma cold-chain logistics will be worth $16.7 billion

The sharp rise in the value of cold chain logistics and cost of products being shipped is attributed to a shift in the pharmaceutical industry towards biologics and other speciality medicines, many of which are expensive and also require refrigeration. Details aside one things is for sure, this is big business and is being treated as such by many logistics companies who are putting together special offerings in order to tap into and service this market.

Trials of ParceLive relaying accurate location and temperature data in real time

Products that require refrigerated storage and transport are worth around $260 billion, and will rise 65% between 2014 and 2020

With increases in the volume and value of cold chain items entering the supply chain the need to ensure the correct treatment of these items is greater than ever. While live temperature tracking is currently available to those shipping cold chain items it often requires the implementation of large amounts of infrastructure or an element of control at both ends of the supply chain. For example should a pharm company wish to add temperature tracking to their shipment it may currently require purchasing a device that they are now responsible for. How does this device get returned to them? If it is not returned and designed to be thrown away then is this a feasible solution at scale?

Parcelive offers the best of both worlds. Live cold chain temperature tracking capability at a low price point without the need for any additional infrastructure or return logistics capabilities. Rather than buying expensive devices and having to maintain them, users of Parcelive are ‘renting’ devices which are serviced by Parcelive and sent to the customer in time for their shipment. Once the shipment is completed the receiver simply takes the device and throws it into any mail box without the hassle of any additional packaging or stamps. By taking away the pain of return logistics Parcelive ensures that what is being offered is a low cost solution that enables companies to gain a live look on the temperature of their shipments across their entire network.

If you are interested in adding real time temperature tracking to your cold chain shipments:

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Stephen HartnettThe Booming Cold Chain