Development of the Cold Chain 2024-01-09

The roots of the cold chain reach back to the late 1700s, when fishermen ventured to sea with a simple yet effective method of preserving their catch—natural ice. Ice was harvested and transported from the eastern coast of the United States to the Caribbean and later from Europe to Asia. This ingenious approach allowed precious cargo to survive long sea journeys, opening new horizons for trade and culinary delights.

With the advent of cold storage and industrial ice production, the stage was set for the cold chain’s expansion. Frozen meat products began to travel from warmer regions to Europe, bridging local shortages with surpluses from productive territories, creating a win-win solution for all.

Sailing into the Future

In the early years, manufacturers primarily managed cold chain processes. However, as the demand for refrigerated transportation grew and local authorities imposed stringent regulations, manufacturers turned to specialty transport companies. By the 1950s, the expertise in handling perishable cargo was well-established, and third-party logistics providers emerged as key players in the cold chain industry.

Managing the cold chain involves numerous stakeholders, from growers and carriers to retailers and consumers, and covers modal choices and the last mile delivery. The complexity of cold chain management has grown in parallel with its evolution.

Today, the cold chain industry has evolved significantly. While most perishable goods are transported by sea, air freight has become the go-to choice for time-sensitive and sought-after products. As the cold chain continues to evolve, so do the logistics providers. What began as a niche service has transformed into a global industry, and forwarders have become indispensable partners, offering end-to-end services from field to fork.

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