- January 8, 2022

What are cold storage facilities used for?

A cold storage is, in most cases, a storage unit that is kept at a low temperature, sometimes below freezing to store perishable goods in order to prevent them from being damaged or spoiled due to temperature fluctuations. They are used in a variety of industries to preserve materials. Additionally, cold storage systems can be mounted on trucks and other vehicles to enable logistical functions with the same facilities and are used heavily in these industries. While many organisations will be required to purchase cold storage units for storage in-house, refrigerated logistics solutions are generally outsourced to specialist companies that already have delivery fleets in order to utilise their network and specialisation.

The Food Industry

The food and restaurant industries are one of the largest customers of cold storage facilities and adjacent services. Refrigerated logistics services are used to transport fresh ingredients from their suppliers to the restaurants or stores. This includes frozen pre-prepared foods distributed to franchise stores such as McDonalds or ingredients fresh from storage for use in the restaurant itself.

In addition to the transportation, each site would also have cold storage units on site to store the food or ingredients until they are ready to be transported or used. It is less likely that the storage will be outsourced as the organisation would have to incur additional cost every time the items are required to transport them from the storage on demand.

The food industry uses cold storage for frozen foods, meats and seafood, which are required to be transported over long distances but are prone to spoilage and health risks, fresh produce such as fruits and vegetables, along with finished products such as ice cream. Cold storage services in the food industry are managed to high standards due to the health risks involved.

Medical and Scientific Uses

Cold Storage is also used for medical and other scientific purposes for the preservation and transport of organic matter or chemicals. For medical use, many hospitals have their own in-house cold storage facilities built to the required standards for storing various samples or human blood and organs. In this instance too, the adherence to strict quality standards is important.

Many chemical and biological laboratories use cold storage facilities to store chemicals and organic matter. Certain chemicals decompose or react due to the temperature and require special storage and transport. Similarly, various viruses and microbiological cultures can deteriorate when exposed to higher temperatures, which necessitate the use of industrial grade cooling facilities.

Retention of cold storage facilities is a significant cost to an organisation, but it is often unavoidable, especially when on-site storage is considered. However, organisations may outsource their cold storage logistics division to specialised companies to gain cost savings and higher standard of service due to specialisation. Cost of on-site storage primarily comes from the power consumption of cold storage equipment whereas the cost of refrigerated transport is generally based on the weight of material to be transported and the distance.

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