What is a cold chain? 2023-10-08
What is a cold chain?
According to relevant definitions, cold chain refers to a special supply chain system in which products are harvested or caught from their origin, processed, stored, transported, distributed, and retailed until they reach consumers, and all links remain in the necessary low-temperature environment to ensure product quality and safety, reduce losses, and prevent pollution.

The concept is a bit abstract, let's observe from the physical equipment required for the cold chain. Firstly, the product needs to be quickly frozen and kept fresh by the quick freezing equipment, and then stored in the cold storage. If necessary, it is loaded into refrigerated containers and transported to distant ships, or pulled out by refrigerated trucks to deliver to the refrigerated cabinets in various shopping malls. In this way, under the protection of various devices, the product remains in a low-temperature and fresh state all the way, forming a complete "chain".

The products transported in the cold chain generally include three categories: food (fruits and vegetables, meat, aquatic products, frozen foods, etc.), medicine (vaccines, blood supplies, etc.), and chemical (precision instruments, etc.). The combined proportion of pharmaceuticals and chemicals is less than 10%, while food alone accounts for 90%. Let's take a king crab fattened in the icy waters of Alaska as an example to see how it became a delicacy on the Chinese dining table..

Shuttle refrigerated trucks
The emperor crab does not stay in the cold storage for long. It has to climb onto people's dining tables in time for festivals such as the Mid Autumn Festival. This time, it is being pulled by a refrigerated truck.
Refrigerated trucks are the core transportation equipment of cold chain logistics. Compared to stationary cold storage, mobile refrigerated trucks are a more difficult link in the chain of infection to prevent and control. Most of the increment in 2019 were light refrigerated vehicles, which are also the main force in urban cold chain distribution and can meet the requirements of fragmented and timely orders in fresh food distribution.
According to incomplete statistics from the Cold Chain Logistics Professional Committee of the China Federation of Logistics and Procurement (referred to as the "China Federation of Logistics and Procurement Cold Chain Committee"), the production of refrigerated vehicles in China exceeded 10000 units in 2013, and continued to grow rapidly at an annual growth rate of over 20% from 2018. As of November 2019, the national refrigerated vehicle market had exceeded 210000 units, with an annual growth rate of about 19.3%, a decrease from the previous year, entering a stage of steady growth。

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