COVID-19 has surely had an impact in so many ways. We have all seen the empty shelves at the stores and the demand for temperature-controlled items to be in stock has greatly increased. There’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes in getting these sensitive, essential items to you. Not to mention that spring has arrived and that means many industries like produce are ramping up productivity.
We’ve pulled together 4 tips for shipping temperature-controlled items and will guide you through the most important steps to ensure your customers have safe, quality products right off the shelf.
Choose the Right Packaging
Items such as produce, food and pharmaceuticals are perishable and must remain at a specific temperature during transit. In addition, they require special handling. As with all things shipping, proper packaging is one of the most important steps, but it is even more important with sensitive items.
When packing your temperature-sensitive package, keep the following points in mind:
- Sturdy insulated foam containers work well for food, flowers and frozen items.
- Pack all foam coolers and planks within new sturdy corrugated boxes
- The thicker the foam, the less coolant you’ll need
- Insulated foam planks, thermal bubble wrap and other sturdy items need less cooling
- Hire professionals to package any healthcare shipments that must maintain a specific temperature
- Choose a thermostat-controlled refrigerated (TCP) container for especially sensitive shipments. It is powered by an internal power source.
No matter what kind of temperature-sensitive items you may be shipping, there are certain types of items you may need on hand. Here is a simple list of items you may need when shipping any kind of temperature-controlled freight:
- New corrugated box
- Refrigerant (gel packs, dry ice)
- Insulation (foam cooler, foam planks, thermal bubble wrap)
- Cushioning (bubble wrap, packing peanuts, foam)
- Temperature-monitoring device
- Labels for hazardous materials (including dry ice)
For more information on other types of freight packaging, be sure to download our free Guide to Freight Packaging, you can explore your options and choose the packaging method that works best for your shipments.
Choose the Right Shipping Method
When it comes to transporting temperature-controlled items, you want to be sure you do your due diligence and select the right services. Truckload shipping is ultimately the preferred method for transporting these types of shipments because it provides essential expedited and refrigeration shipping services that you need. In addition, truckload shipping provides an added benefit of the ability to dedicate the full space of a tractor trailer to your shipments, so you can move more product.
Choose the Right Carrier
You’ll want to select a carrier that has proven experience with temperature-controlled freight and that complies with the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) food safety rules if you’re shipping food, produce or other types of temperature-sensitive items. Carriers with experience know how to regulate temperatures to keep food at the right temperature during transit, and they can deliver in the quick timeframe required for many food items (i.e. 30 hours or less). Additionally, these carriers keep a temperature log, tracking your shipment's temperature every step of the way.
Other options to consider are add-ons like a temperature monitoring device that provides you with real-time updates of your item’s temperature and freeze protection services.
Choose the Right Shipping Partner
As we previously mentioned, packaging plays a key role in protecting your temperature-controlled items, but there are also rules and regulations that vary depending on what you are shipping, its weight and more. It’s important to understand the rules and regulations, or to work with a 3PL who knows the ins and outs before sending your shipment.
As the winner of the 2019 Food Logistics’ Top 100 3PL & Cold Storage Provider award, FreightCenter can help you find the right carrier, help you understand the rules and regulations or help solve the complexities involved with shipping your sensitive products, especially in unprecedented times like these. FreightCenter has the resources and tools you need to keep your supply chain moving during COVID-19 and always.