Everything You Need to Know About Cold Chain Packaging

defense logistics agency logo

Cold chain packaging is a system of packaging and shipping goods maintaining a consistent temperature from manufacture to final destination. JetCo Federal has developed relationships with manufacturers to supply off the shelf cold chain solutions for sale and lease, but our expertise is in custom cold chain packaging design. We can provide the full range of cold chain logistics, from packaging to conditioning to shipping.

We began developing these capabilities as a part of a strategic plan to supply more specialty packaging, but the pandemic accelerated those plans when existing clients began asking us to consult on packaging solutions for the vaccine. We are currently working with the government domestically and abroad to support the supply chain for vaccinating service members.

Types of Cold Chain Packaging

There are three types of cold chain packaging: Active, Passive, and Hybrid.

  • Active Packaging
    • Does not use phase change materials (PCM) such as water/ice or dry ice.
    • To maintain proper product temperatures, active systems use mechanical or electric systems powered by an energy source, combined with thermostatic control.
    • Typically highest cost.
    • Highest temperature accuracy.
    • High reliability.
    • Typically easy to use.
  • Passive Packaging
    • Uses PCM and is the most basic and cost-effective shipping system.
    • Lowest cost and lowest temperature accuracy.
    • High reliability with proper procedures.
    • Requires PCM conditioning.
    • Typically the hardest to use.
  • Hybrid Packaging
    • Uses a combination of PCM and thermostatic control.
    • PCM are used as an energy source that is regulated by some type of thermostatic control.
    • Moderate to high cost and moderate to high temperature accuracy.
    • Moderate reliability with proper procedures.
    • Requires PCM conditioning.

The most common types of refrigerants are dry ice, gel packs, gel bricks, phase change material (PCM), and EPS panels (expanded polystyrene or styrofoam). This type of packaging is important to ensure safe transport of pharmaceuticals, such as the COVID-19 vaccine.

How Businesses Rely on Cold Chain Packaging

Businesses in the pharmaceutical, medical and food industries are increasingly relying on cold chain packaging. Food products (such as produce, meats, and frozen food) and medical products (such as vaccines, blood, and insulin) are the most common items that utilize insulated shipping products. The quality of food and medical products degrades with time since they maintain chemical reactions, which can be mostly mitigated with lower temperatures. It takes time and coordination to move a shipment efficiently, and every delay can have negative consequences to the product.

Having a company that has expertise in not only the packaging, but in conditioning, storage, and transport is critical. We have a national network of partners who support these functions, not just local or regional partners. Additionally, our experience working with mission-critical products in high-compliance environments makes us uniquely positioned to execute in this space.

There is a high demand and low supply for these products, making it essential to have a partner who can deliver. At JetCo Federal, we embrace challenges and want to win, every single day. Whether it’s a demanding contract or thorny sourcing problem, our team delivers on time and on budget.

Interested in learning more about our cold chain packaging solutions? Talk to our team today.

Share this entry