Logistics and supply chain management are two of the biggest challenges facing the global economy today. The need for efficient transportation of perishable goods and materials has gotten more heightened than ever, with the dynamics governing intra-national and international trade undergoing unprecedented changes. With companies engaging in the development of niche products, the demand for high-quality, reliable, and durable temperature-control technologies is at an all-time high. The introduction of smart technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT) has accelerated the advancements in the cold chain packaging industry. The global cold chain packaging market size is projected to reach USD 39.45 billion by 2027, growing at a 10.7% CAGR, according to Fortune Business Insights. The opportunities in this domain are vast and diverse and companies in this market are adopting different strategies to expand their businesses.
Sonoco’s Pegasus ULD to Fly with AirBridge Cargo
Sonoco ThermoSafe, a US-based temperature assurance packaging company, announced in November 2020 that its flagship bulk temperature-controlled container, the Pegasus ULD, will now be delivered directly to clients by AirBridge Cargo Airlines, part of the Volga-Dnepr Group. Sonoco and AirBridge entered into a Master Lease Agreement under which the cargo airliner will transport Sonoco’s game-changing packaging solution to end-users. The Pegasus ULD is the world’s first passive bulk temperature-controlled container designed for use for pharmaceutical purposes. The solution is also an FAA-approved unit load device that enables it to pass international customs and ground handling processes speedily.
Sealed Air and Gastromotiva Team up to Fight Food Insecurity
In October 2020, the US-based packaging giant, Sealed Air, announced that it had entered into a three-year partnership with the Brazilian non-profit organization, Gastromotiva, to support the global fight against food insecurity. The partnership will involve investment from Sealed Air to aid Gastromotiva to reach its food security goals. For example, the two organizations will jointly develop an educational module to teach students about sustainable packaging technologies and ways to reduce food wastage. Furthermore, Sealed Air will also enable Gastromotiva to expand its activities in Brazil and Mexico as well as help vulnerable populations to access job opportunities.
Pelican BioThermal Expands Its Rental Network in South Korea
In May 2020, US-based Pelican BioThermal unveiled its new network station drop location in Incheon, South Korea to capitalize on the country’s aggressive development of its national pharmaceutical industry. Pelican has selected the network location for its strategic value, being located near Seoul, which allows the region to leverage its proximity to the Crēdo™ on Demand rental option for temperature-controlled containers. The quick access to flexible, high-quality rental services for shipping temperature-sensitive pharmaceutical products will amplify South Korea’s reach to Asia and beyond. The new network point and drop location joins Pelican’s global network of its rental program.
Softbox Revolutionizes Cold Chain in the Pharmaceutical Industry
Softbox Systems, a specialist in temperature-controlled packaging based in the UK, released Tempcell ECO, the company’s path-breaking sustainable packaging product for the pharmaceutical cold chain industry, in June 2020. Touted as a curbside-recyclable temperature control parcel shipper, Tempcell ECO utilizes Softbox’s Thermaflute plastic-free insulation technology and is made from 100% corrugated cardboard. This eco-friendly product has been engineered to facilitate the transportation of temperature-sensitive pharmaceuticals and is designed in a flat-pack format to save space during delivery and storage.
COVID-19 Vaccine: Mounting an Effective Response through Cold Chain
The significance of cold chain packaging and storage has reached a new level of criticality amid the COVID-19 pandemic. After months of apprehension, the coronavirus vaccines developed by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna finally got cleared in November 2020. However, the battle is only half won because challenges of vaccine storage and distribution remain persistent. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that more than half of the vaccines are wasted worldwide due to poor temperature-control logistics and shipment issues. Similar roadblocks have cropped up for the COVID-19 vaccine as well, but cold chain packaging companies are preparing their facilities and services to efficiently and effectively overcome these challenges. For example, Cold Chain Technologies opened a new facility in Tennessee on 24th November 2020 to meet the temperature-sensitive supply chain requirements of the COVID-19 vaccine. Similarly, on 19th November 2020, Pelican BioThermal launched deep-frozen temperature-controlled packaging solutions to serve the needs of pharmaceutical companies for the last-mile delivery of the COVID-19 vaccine. Pelican’s solutions cater to temperatures ranging between -80 degrees Celsius to -20 degrees Celsius. Another company that is offering its technologies for vaccine storage and distribution is the Swiss container leader, SkyCell. The company claims that its IoT-powered temperature-controlled air freight containers will ensure safe transportation of the coronavirus vaccine across the globe, regardless of the external temperature. Such support from the private sector will play an instrumental role in the global war against the coronavirus.
Looking Ahead: What Does the Future Hold for the Cold Chain Industry?
Cold chain technologies will have the greatest impact in developing economies such as India as, due to their large populations, the last-mile delivery of life-saving drugs and essential food and beverage items has evolved into an unconquerable monster. Modern cold chain packaging and storage solutions can help governments in these countries to serve their citizens in a more efficient and dynamic manner. The current pandemic has only reinforced the paramount importance of cold storage and supply technologies, shaping global response and bolstering the resilience of mankind if and when such crises arise in the future.