Cold Chain Monitoring System for Country’s Development

Published by Patrick Famisaran on

Cold Chain Monitoring

The cold chain is instrumental in the modern world. This is especially true with nations striving for economic development. A cold chain specializes in the technology and the process of ensuring the quality of goods. It is a technology supplemented by science to provide the best temperature conditions for the storage of goods. The cold chain is also a process as it takes several steps to transport goods to their destination. Activities such as storing, transporting, and cold chain monitoring temperature-reliant resources are done using a cold chain.

Due to the supply sector’s fast-changing needs, the cold chain industry evolved. From a straight-up logistics platform to a specialized and customized method of distribution. Logistics companies are also in the race to innovate. The increase in imports of raw materials worldwide demands them to do so. Such innovation is to address certain logistical preconditions. Hence, the development of cold chain facilities.  

Why is there a need for cold chain facilities?

The supply chain demands to distribute the raw materials and supplies well.  Of course, this is with due adherence to preserving quality and avoiding error in the process. With that in mind, the cold chain industry is a reliant partner at pace in addressing such stringent logistical guidelines.

The race for vaccine distribution

The cold chain industry is gaining the hype for its service. It addresses the large-scale vaccine distribution in our fight against COVID-19. But, cold chain facilities have been at the forefront of vaccine delivery ever since. These facilities have made it easier to conduct clinical trials. They provide the needed reliability for the continuation of research and integrity of results. The cold chain caters to a wide array of storage prerequisites for the vaccine program of many nations. Pharmaceutical companies rely upon the shipment of their drugs to patients.

Now, more than ever, the cold chain for a vaccine is of significant importance. With the race to inoculate as many people with the COVID-19 vaccine, these cold chains are an integral part of the puzzle.

Economic development through globalization

As economies expand, the need to source goods and services is also increasing. To further develop into sustained economies, import and export of resources are essential. Each nation is a market player to source out the best goods and sells their local product to the rest of the world. 

This is very evident in the access and production of food. Perishable food products like vegetables and fruits need proper storage transport. They are ensuring that it retains its quality. Sustaining the produces’ quality translates to valuable income. Other products such as meat and fish also need temperature specific distribution process. As with other raw materials, a good market reputation means achieving the best quality standards.  This is why quality assurance is best achieved through logistical aids such as a cold chain facility.

Use of Cold Chains in Developing Countries

Global market players are very limited to developed countries. These are the nations that afford and invest in ample facilities to put their products at the forefront of the global demand. Leading nations can build such market reputations. They have the facility to ensure that their products are of high quality.

Developing nations still struggles to get a piece of the market. Most of these developing countries still lack third-party logistics for cold chain facilities. Farmers in rural areas still use the traditional method of storing produce. It degrades quality and affects the volume that would gain them a higher income. In turn, these post-harvest chokepoints limit their produce to local markets. Some of the many issues faced by farmers in developing countries include:

  • Climate conditions
  • Lack of infrastructure and facilities
  • Lack of reliable power source
  • Investment decisions are problematic because it is costly
  • Farmers rely on traders to ensure storage conditions
  • Food safety accreditations are hard to achieve with the lacking resource on hand
  • Lack of available financing options

Many cold-chain investors are looking to maximize the resources in developing countries. But, there are still hurdles to people’s buy-in. Farmers are afraid of the technology cost. Worst, they aren’t aware of such technologies in the first place. 

Governments should focus on investing in proper infrastructure as a start. It will pave the way for better transport flow. The presence of private and public partnerships can be a collaborative medium. It will ease out investment costs. Food manufacturers and logistical partners can shoulder facility investments. They can provide a stable institutional collaboration with the farmers.  Moreover, the academe can aid in research and development. This is how initial cold chain facilities can gain start-up. It is essential to develop such a cold chain system to maximize agricultural supply.

Cold Chain in the Philippines

Much like other developing countries, the Philippines is still initiating a robust cold chain industry. The country is abundant in high-value commercial crops of the highest quality. In 2018, the agriculture sector’s contribution to its gross domestic product (GDP) was 8.1 percent. A 0.8 percent increase in the industry helped the economic performance of the Philippines. 

The improvement in production bolsters innovation and the development of farming tools and facilities. Right in line is the rapid growth of cold chain logistics services. The US-funded Philippine Cold Chain Project is improving its role in the Southeast cold chain industry. The change in the buying lifestyle of Filipinos affects the logistics sector as well. The need for pre-packed, delivered food currently is now a trend. The need for cold chain monitoring is important to address this.

Adding value to perishable goods is a goal for cold chain facilities. Food safety standards and hazard control points should be addressed by temperature-controlled equipment.  One of the significant hurdles to put in place a cold-chain system is the lack of fundamental infrastructure. Issues on power outages are rampant all over the Philippines. Power stability is especially hard for remote islands. Other than that, the country is thrust within the typhoon belt. Extreme weather conditions are a staple for the rest of the year. This rough weather contributes to the limited or even failure of food production. 

Cold Chain in the Philippines
Photo Credit: apfoodonline.com

Despite that, the cold chain industry is growing. The demand for food supply is at its highest. Crucial developments to address the storage and logistical process are at a premium. Farm-to-market roads are being developed. Private food production centers are acquiring new cold chain facilities. The government prioritizing providing better agricultural trade activities for the masses. In 2020, the Philippine Department of Agriculture had allocated PHP 280 million to put up cold storage warehouses. They will be installed in three provinces through its National Meat Inspection Service. The department also looks into transforming an integrated farmer trading center. The Cold Chain Association of the Philippines (CCAP) currently has 130 members. The membership amounts to 450,000 metric tons of varying food products. To cater to such a number, the CCAP has 10,000 temperature-regulated containers. This fleet transports goods to any point of the country. CCAP projects that the cold chain in the Philippines will annually grow to 9 percent. 

Improvements in Cold Chain 

The development in the cold chain industry is much to the effect of the rising challenges it faces. Cold chain specialization is the current trend. The specialization delivers expected logistical solutions and is ahead of a competitive industry. 

Many trade requirements now constitute traceability. It perfectly documents the flow of the goods from the point of origin to destination. Data logging is observed during transport. This can be done through battery-operated wireless sensors. Companies like AKCP have cold chain monitoring solutions. It functions by logging in data and synchronizes it through the AKCP gateway. These sensors ensure compliance with regulations and required parameters during transport. 

Technological solutions to track temperature will make or break cold chains. Proper cold chain monitoring is an utmost priority. This will ensure correct temperature ranges during transport. The use of temperature sensors can help manage this challenge. Specific sensors have a wide temperature monitoring range. It is best suitable for ultra-cold shipments. 

Conclusion

In a larger perspective, cold chains are one of the many technological tools to answer nations’ development needs. It decreases food insecurity that leads to lower poverty incidence. It is crucial to feed people and provide the necessary food resource to them. This is how to address a country’s human resource development. Cold chains also transport vaccines to aid in preventing the spread of diseases. Through proper cold-chain transport, life can be saved. 

Many countries have particular regulations for storage controls and cold facility measures. This is to ensure quality and adequate provision to their citizenry. These standards will maintain the supply chain and guarantee the best product transport. Couple this with cold chain monitoring, then we have more tools to solve society’s development needs. 

One can argue that the race is not within common pace. Some nations are ahead of the game; others may be lagging behind. As the development in cold chains, the ones who invest in innovation and improvement are at the forefront. One thing is for sure; a lot will benefit from these developments. Your cold chain investment will better lives, and it’ll be worth it.

References

https://blogs.adelaide.edu.au/global-food/2016/03/08/why-is-improving-cold-chains-needed/

https://transportgeography.org/contents/applications/cold-chain-logistics/

https://www.inspirafarms.com/whats-new-how-is-the-cold-chain-growing-in-developing-countries/

https://psa.gov.ph/sites/default/files/Selected%20Statistics%20on%20Agriculture%202019.pdf

https://www.aeb.com/intl-en/magazine/articles/cold-chain-logistics-philippines.php

https://www.philstar.com/business/agriculture/2020/03/01/1997067/da-calls-more-cold-storage-facilities

https://blog.solistica.com/en/cold-chain-a-challenge-for-the-supply-chain

https://www.da.gov.ph/da-allots-p280m-for-meat-cold-storage-post-harvest-centers/

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