CoolChainAssociation

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How technology is changing the cold chain

How technology is changing the cold chain

Shrewsbury, Shropshire, UK: Danny Glynn, managing director, Enterprise Flex-E-Rent, explains the impact of new technologies.

Danny Glynn, managing director, Enterprise Flex-E-Rent

Danny Glynn, managing director, Enterprise Flex-E-Rent

“The market for temperature-controlled logistics operations is continuing to develop at a rapid pace around the globe and in the UK the pace of change is mirrored by the latest developments, impacting everyone who works in the cold chain.

The vast food and drinks segment continues to dominate the industry but in recent times we have seen an explosive growth in the pharmaceutical sector, with the emergence of numerous significantly sized refrigerated pharmaceutical transport logistics companies.

As successive governments look at ways to free up hospital space and reduce costs, the trend towards personal care plans and offering treatment at the patient’s home has helped drive this growth. This has generated a noticeable increase in the number of cold chain pharmaceutical logistics providers needed to handle the high demand for the distribution of temperature-sensitive drugs and medicines.

Within this niche market, the tolerance on temperature control during transit is, of course, very tight. This is reflected in the demand we are experiencing for high-spec dual (sometimes even triple) temperature compartment vehicles, where the refrigeration system is mapped to ensure a higher level of control, whilst temperature monitoring takes place constantly during the transport process.

The environmental impact of cold chain transport continues to be high on everyone’s agenda, and whilst emissions and fuel consumption naturally feature at the top, noise reduction has become more important than ever, especially in the urban/home delivery environment. Within the Enterprise Flex-E-Rent temperature controlled rental fleet, we recognised this issue as being key and addressed the noise factor from day one by specifying silent refrigeration systems on all vehicles within our refrigerated fleet, an industry first for a daily rental operation.

Differing technologies continue to have an impact on the cold chain

Differing technologies continue to have an impact on the cold chain

Differing technologies continue to have an impact on the cold chain. We have started to see a noticeable movement towards alternator driven refrigeration systems, as opposed to traditional diesel systems for HGVs. These offer operators significant noise reduction benefits as well as very powerful capacity units.

Equally, relatively new technologies such as hydro-electric power for engine-less transport cooling appear to offer sustainable and energy-efficient refrigeration solutions. The manufacturers claim that, by sourcing power from the truck engine, they can improve fuel efficiency, lower noise levels and reduce maintenance, which are key considerations for any operator of temperature-controlled transport.

Traditionally in the rental sector the choice of readily available refrigerated vehicle specifications has been quite limited. At Enterprise Flex-E-Rent we take the opposite view, choosing instead to supply this important market with a wide range of highly specified vehicles through our daily rental fleet. And as you’d expect from Enterprise, it’s all supported by a total commitment to customer service at every level. For our customers this means that the fridge vehicles they rent from us will match the specification of their own fleet, making the integration of any of our rental vehicles into their fleet, and delivery schedule, seamless.

The introduction of new technologies within the cold chain vehicle supply sector certainly impacts on the funding costs for new fleet vehicles. This is where the flexible and popular rental offerings available through Enterprise Flex-E-Rent score highly with operators, as our finance plans can be designed to work around their individual businesses.”