In 2022, the U.S. cold chain logistics market, which includes over the road transportation, cold storage facilities, and monitoring technologies, was valued over $52bn. Industry reports predict that this market share will likely double by 2030, highlighting just how crucial food shippers are for feeding millions of people each day. North American service providers account for over 30% of the world’s reefer market. Our blog published last week highlighted some of the ways that automation is helping cold chain shippers reduce cost on their reefer loads. This article looks to expand on this topic, and will help outline some of the ways that tech-driven food logistics providers are empowering shippers to streamline their supply chain, and gain transparency over their operations.
What is Cold Chain Logistics?
Cold chain logistics refers to the storage and transportation required for time-sensitive perishable commodities. From fresh produce to medical supplies, cold chain operations must adhere to proper handling and custody at every touchpoint within the lifecycle of the shipment in order to avoid spoiling the product. For example, a major egg manufacturer in Ohio might require all reefer carriers to wash the inside and outside of their trailers before picking up their load. The shipper might have a requirement that the reefers be pre-cooled to a certain temperature before loading. When the truck driver receives the BOL, he might also be asked to fill out a cold chain custody form, that ensures the reefer temperature remains the same through the entire shipment. Once the driver delivers to the receiver, the load of eggs will then get moved to the cold storage facility for processing.
Most food and beverage shippers outsource their distribution and transportation of their cold chains to 3PLs with industry specific expertise in food and beverage logistics and supply chain solutions.
How Technology is Transforming Cold Chain Shipping
In order to mitigate the risks involved in handling and transporting temperature-sensitive goods, the logistics industry utilizes technological solutions that create more transparency over complex supply chains. Shippers who partner with Wicker Park Logistics get access to a customizable and fully integrated digital portal that offers end-to-end visibility on every touchpoint within the cold chain. Shipping managers can integrate an API-connected TMS that offers a full range of features available at the click of a button. The online portal streamlines communication, providing automated load notifications and updated delivery times. This helps eliminate the time and energy spent sending emails and check calls on the status of the load.
On-Demand Capacity Sourcing
Tech solutions also enable shippers to get dedicated reefer capacity on their national and cross-border freight into Mexico and Canada. Wicker Park Logistics offers door-to-door and transloading service, helping cold chain shippers connect their products throughout North America. Shippers get access to a vast network of carefully vetted reefer carriers, ensuring that the best trucks are assigned to your time-sensitive shipments. Carriers can utilize Wicker Park Logistics’s digital portal as well, where they get instant rate quotes, can bid, and accept loads on the lanes they want to run.
The vast majority of cold chain shippers still rely on time-consuming manual data entry for their supply chains. Most of this data is siloed on individual computers, shared Excel sheets, and bloated email servers. The problem with this method is that it makes analyzing this data virtually impossible. Modern cold chain logistics providers like Wicker Park Logistics use automation to help shippers optimize their routes, helping to reduce empty miles, eliminate detention fees, and improve on-time deliveries for all loads. Data analytics helps cold chain shippers lower their transportation costs.
What’s Next for Cold Chain Logistics?
As most shippers know, technological solutions are providing the type of visibility necessary to ensure cold chains run as smoothly as possible. Fully-integrated and customizable APIs are helping shippers organize their data and communication into a single easy-to-use cloud-based platform. Automation helps companies improve efficiencies, supplement labor shortages and eliminate time-consuming tasks, and also logistics managers gain more visibility on their supply chains.
Cold Chain Shippers Get Total Transparency Over Their Supply Chains with Wicker Park Logistics
There’s a good reason why thousands of shippers turn to Wicker Park Logistics to help manage their cold chain. Wicker Park Logistics provides dedicated reefer capacity when shippers need it most. Their technology offers the peace of mind logistics managers deserve, enabling them to gain real-time visibility on all shipments during each touchpoint in the cold chain. Their pricing and analytics team help shippers save on their transportation costs, and their tech-solutions help optimize your lanes, making sure your supply chain is running as efficiently as possible. Get more from your cold chain and contact an expert at Wicker Park Logistics today!