Cold Chain

TTSP transportation need new strategies for safe and sustainable delivery


Yogesh Bhamare, a Technical Expert, underscores the prospects of automation, AI, and IoT technologies in enhancing warehouse operations for streamlined logistics processes. Moreover, with the increasing need for efficient cold chain logistics, maintaining the effectiveness of vaccines and temperature-sensitive medical supplies emerged as an essential priority.

Please state your views about the growth potential of the cold chain warehousing and logistics market.

The cold chain warehousing and logistics market in India is gaining immense importance. It has witnessed significant growth in recent years, with demand for efficient temperature-controlled logistics and storage solutions. The rising need to preserve the quality and integrity of perishable goods across industries such as pharmaceuticals, agriculture, and food has necessitated the establishment of long-term, energy-efficient cold chains. 

The demand for cold chain storage facilities is growing and driving the cold chain market. The logistics industry is experiencing significant growth. It has shown remarkable resilience. The market will experience growth through the rise in trading activities involving perishable and time-sensitive products. In short, the cold chain sector is bound to grow and hold a significant market share in Asia-Pacific. 

 The Indian government is actively putting aggregate efforts into bolstering the cold chain sector by formulating several initiatives. These efforts include the introduction of attractive financial incentive schemes for various stakeholders and establishing the “Integrated Cold Chain and Value Addition Infrastructure” scheme by the Ministry of Food Processing Industries. This scheme aims to provide a seamless cold chain and preservation infrastructure from the farm gate to the consumer. 

Additionally, the government organises workshops to raise awareness and guidance for the refrigeration industry. These workshops focus on understanding future growth opportunities, exploring new product development, and researching opportunities in cold chain technologies. They also encourage the identification of technological gaps and the development of potential solutions to address quality requirements.

Please discuss new technologies to manage the growing logistics demands in the country.

Technological advancements and a strong emphasis on sustainability drive the digital transformation in cold chain logistics. Artificial intelligence (AI) is especially pivotal in optimising cold chain operations. AI-driven platforms are rapidly emerging to enhance the transportation of temperature-sensitive products.

Transporting TTSP products provides greater visibility in the supply chain and ensures careful handling. Integrating AI into warehouse and supply chain management software reduces the risk of mismanagement, tending to a more predictable and smooth workflow.

Furthermore, Data Management Systems, particularly Big Data analytics, are becoming increasingly essential in supply chain and logistics. These systems analyse data from various sources, including shipment tracking, warehouse operations management, real-time visibility, and user feedback to improve efficiency and decision-making processes.

The cold chain industry has recently transitioned to enhance sustainability and efficiency. These include the widespread adoption of renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind power, to power cold storage facilities. Additionally, there has been a shift towards sustainable packaging solutions to ensure the quality and safety of temperature-sensitive products while minimising environmental impact.

Another notable transition is the increasing use of electric vehicles in logistics operations, which reduce carbon emissions and lower transportation’s overall environmental footprint. Furthermore, the industry is moving towards eco-friendly refrigerants to minimise environmental harm and improve energy efficiency in refrigeration systems.

Phase Change Materials (PCMs) have also emerged as a cost-effective solution to maintain a continuous cold chain. PCMs offer autonomous and passive climate control capabilities, contributing to uninterrupted cold storage conditions.

Moreover, the use of IoT-based technologies assists cold storage monitoring systems. These IoT solutions use Smart tracking devices and advanced software applications for real-time data monitoring, ensuring maximum resource utilisation, security, quality assurance, and visibility throughout the supply chain.

How can automation innovations be implemented to address the demands of e-commerce?

In India’s Immunisation Programme, cold rooms have curtains, but there has not been an experimentation with automated door technology yet. However, shortly, two proposals will likely be introduced. Firstly, there is a plan to utilise advanced technology curtains capable of regulating the speed of the air jet based on the door opening. Secondly, there is a consideration for installing automatic doors to conserve energy and enhance sustainability by regulating the air exchange from inside and outside and allowing only a minimum of air to flow in and out.

How can automation address the growing demands of e-commerce in warehousing and logistics?

Automation innovations are essential to meet the growing demands of e-commerce in warehousing and logistics. Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), and Internet of Things (IoT) technologies play significant roles in logistics automation. These technologies encompass automation solutions such as Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs), conveyor belts, robotic picking systems, and Automated Storage and Retrieval Systems (ASRS). These innovations streamline operations, increase efficiency, and improve logistics management in e-commerce warehousing.

Further, Blockchain technology enhances transparency, traceability, and security. It ensures that every transaction or movement of goods is recorded and can be traced easily throughout the supply chain. 

These technologies enhance operational efficiency and better accuracy, accelerate workflow, and reduce labour dependency.

Please suggest initiatives to augment the cold chain industry in India.

The Indian logistics industry is growing and becoming one of the most wanted sectors of the economy. Reviewing the need & promoting the cold chain-supply chain logistics business, the government has undertaken several measures formulating supportive policies to expand and build the cold storage and warehousing industry. One initiative is releasing the National Logistics Policy (NLP), which is very comprehensive. 

The government has implemented several tax exemptions and subsidies to facilitate the potential growth of the cold chain industry. Few actions are deemed necessary in this pursuit. These include adopting newer technologies to streamline processes, enhancing cold chain and supply chain infrastructure, and establishing strong collaboration among various stakeholders and key players in the sector.

Additionally, there is a call to promote Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the cold chain industry and provide funding support for integrated cold chain projects. The strategy has to assist in attracting investors and raise awareness among Indian refrigeration industries regarding the business opportunities in the cold chain segment and its potential in national and global markets. Moreover, efforts involve future growth prospects and exploring opportunities for product development and research opportunities in cold chain technologies.

cold chin

 What is your opinion about the future of material handling systems to meet the requirements for expedited shipping?

The material handling system is experiencing phenomenal changes driven mainly by technology. The industry involves automation, the adoption of AI and ML, the integration of IoT technologies, and the deployment of energy-saving machinery. Additionally, there is a great emphasis on promoting Green Logistics and implementing sustainable packaging solutions. Another emerging trend is using autonomous vehicles and drones for material handling tasks. Furthermore, predictive analytics is utilised to anticipate and prevent potential system failures before they occur.

Please talk about safety issues related to the transit of temperature-sensitive goods.

Safe transportation of Time-Temperature Sensitive Products (TTSP) has always posed challenges due to exposure to various damaging factors, such as extreme temperatures, humidity, and spoilage during transit. This is impacted by factors including the type of transportation mechanism, recommended temperature and humidity levels, shipment size, transit duration, and ambient temperature.

In addressing these challenges, safety considerations involve adhering to established norms, protocols, and applicable standards. Moreover, ensuring sustainable packaging that is airtight and watertight across primary, secondary, and tertiary levels is crucial for maintaining the integrity of TTSP during transportation.

For active cooling systems, many measures ensure the safe transportation of Time-Temperature Sensitive Products (TTSP) like reefer vehicles. These include temperature controls and monitoring, positioning TTSP according to temperature profiles for adequate air circulation around the products, and maintaining the functionality of the cooling apparatus throughout transit. Additionally, standby cooling systems are operational to address any potential issues arising during transportation.

On the other hand, passive shipping or cooling systems, utilised in insulated containers, offer a practical and cost-effective solution for transporting TTSP. These systems involve lab-certified insulated containers constructed from suitable insulating materials like HDPE or LDPE. Coolant packs are employed to maintain the desired temperature and hold over time. Temperature monitoring and recording are integral aspects of passive shipping systems to ensure the safe transportation of TTSP.

Which AC equipment is better for cost-effectiveness and efficiency for public spaces?

Commercial or industrial air conditioning systems have two main classifications based on capacity: those designed for medium-sized offices and those intended for buildings and big facilities.

To maintain good air quality, a well-designed and maintained air conditioning system is essential. However, the selection largely depends on the Cooling/heating capacity required. Hence, determining the capacity appropriate to the intended use is essential.

A chiller-based system with air handling units is one of the preferred systems in public spaces and malls. This is because it offers benefits in terms of peak period savings, efficiency, and low energy consumption.

What measures will you recommend to maintain the required temperature range during the transportation of vaccines?

In India’s Immunisation program, passive cooling (Cold boxes-vaccine carriers with conditioned ice packs) is used for vaccine transportation. The temperature maintained is +2°C to +8°C . Vaccines are at risk if exposed to freezing or high temperatures, which may decrease vaccine potency and efficacy.

Several measures suggest maintaining the desired temperature during transportation. These include following standard operating procedures (SOPs) and protocols with compliance checks. Other measures are utilising conditioned ice packs to prevent thermal shocks or freezing incidents and employing freeze-free cold boxes or vaccine carriers. Further, it involves tracking alarms or alerts in temperature monitoring devices and implementing real-time monitoring and temperature recording.

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