Kushal Nahata takes a look at the losses that can be incurred due to improper cold storage in supply chains

The global cold chain market size is valued at $147.55 billion in 2018 and is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 15 per cent from 2018 to 2025. Growing penetration of connected devices and automation of refrigerated warehouses across the globe are anticipated to spur industry growth over the forecast period. The increased number of organised retail stores in the emerging economies are demanding more solutions for cold chain. Across the globe, products are stored and shipped at improper temperatures and are delivered past their shelf lives which leads to a humongous loss of billions of dollars.

Prevention of waste
It has been estimated that 30 per cent of global food production is wasted annually; food loss represents a significant challenge to closing the food gap for the global population. In developing and middle income countries, food loss is often highest at the production and distribution level where the lack of infrastructure poses threats to safe food storage.

On top of warehousing and storage solutions there is a need for quality assurance and product protection services that mitigate spoilage. ‘Temperature True’ options for temperature-sensitive air and ocean freight, all with proactive monitoring and intervention services are one of the solutions to diminish wastage and losses incurred in the industry. The term ‘cold chain’ for uninterrupted refrigeration has given way to ‘temperature-controlled.’ Many products also react to humidity, light, vibration, and shocks.

A potential solution, or at least partial solution to reduce post-harvest loss, is the introduction of a temperature-controlled supply chain. A cold chain for perishable foods is the uninterrupted handling of the product within a low temperature environment during the postharvest steps of 9the value chain including harvest, collection, packing, processing, storage, transport and marketing until it reaches the final consumer. An integrated cold chain encompasses the management of the movement of perishable food products from the field, ranch or body of water through the entire postharvest chain to the final consumer. Cold chain logistics is the planning and management of the interactions and transitions between these five segments, in order to keep foods at their optimum temperature for maintenance of quality, food safety and prevention of waste and economic losses. Speed is often the key to success when handling and marketing perishable foods using a cold supply chain.

Synchronised storage
The cold chain is a well-known method for reducing food losses and food waste, and has long been. The required infrastructure and investments in needed facilities, equipment and management skills, however, are generally lacking in developing countries. There has been reasonable growth in cold chain infrastructure in Morocco, Egypt, and lately in Libya, but in all developing countries there is still major room for growth and much great efforts to improve capacity training to form better technicians and to improve applications. Hence, logistics play a key role in synchronising the cold storage in supply chain processes across the world. Proper utilisation of technology and SaaS platforms can reduce food wastage to huge extents. Startups across the globe are coming up with Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning enabled technology that can solve the issue of food storage during the transportation process. Also, Internet of Things (IoT) is modifying the efficiency of long distance perishable and food supply chains.

The use of cold is not a cure-all or a one-size-fits-all proposition, but is an important component of an agricultural handling system or value chain in its entirety. Each type of fresh produce and/or food product has a specific and limited storage potential related to its physiological nature and lowest safe storage temperature, and the use of the cold chain can help reach this potential and reduce perishable food losses.

Kushal Nahata is CEO & Co-Founder at FarEye, a global predictive logistics platform enabling predictability & real-time visibility of goods movements.FarEye is constantly bringing innovations to market with products like elastic logistics, food logistics, delivery happiness score and powerful analytics module et al. FarEye platform has the capability to rapidly create custom logistics/supply chain processes for the business, that are secure and scalable and can be integrated seamlessly with existing hardwares or softwares. To help organisations go-to-market faster, FarEye platform automates your business processes, deliver benefits of mobility and more.