Our Top 5 Best Practices for Shipping Refrigerated Inventory

Shipping refrigerated or temperature sensitive inventory comes with its own set of unique challenges. Whether you are shipping produce, pharmaceuticals, or fresh flowers, keeping your shipment at just the right temperature is critical to ensuring goods arrive at their destination undamaged. 

To help ensure your refrigerated inventory makes it safely and securely to its destination, we have compiled our top five best practices for shipping these types of items.

1. Work with a carrier that understands the type of inventory that you’re shipping.

One of the most important things you can do is to choose a carrier that has experience transporting refrigerated items. If you are shipping nationally or internationally, you need to ensure that the carrier you choose not only has access to temperature regulated facilities here at home, but globally as well. 

Particularly if you are shipping medical items, it is important to work with a carrier that has healthcare experience and who can navigate through complex regulations, packaging requirements and monitoring of temperature throughout transit. 

2. Learn and adhere to relevant regulations.

Refrigerated inventory may be subject to a wide range of provincial, federal and international regulations and restrictions. This is especially true of pharmaceuticals but there will also be rules concerning food and other items. 

If you are using dry ice to keep items cool, you will also need to keep in mind that this is considered a hazardous material and there are regulations (such as those of the International Air Transportation Association) that must be adhered to. 

3. The right packaging.

The right packaging will go a long way toward keeping your inventory at the appropriate temperature. Foam insulated containers that are at least 1.5 inches are a good choice for many items that need to be kept cool. These can be used in combination with a coolant. 

When less cooling is needed, thermal bubble wrap or foam planks may provide enough insulation to do the trick. 

For some items such as healthcare supplies, a very specific temperature range is needed. In these cases choose pre-qualified temperature controlled packaging. 

4. The right coolant.

In most cases, you will want to choose either dry ice or gel packs rather than regular ice which will begin melting almost immediately. If using dry ice, keep in mind that packaging must allow gas emitted from the dry ice to escape and that dry ice should never be allowed to come into direct contact with food items. 

For items that you wish to keep frozen, dry ice is generally the best choice. For items that you wish to keep cool but not frozen, we normally choose gel packs. Remember that dry ice should never be used for shipping flowers or live seafood. 

5. Monitor refrigerated inventory in transit.

To ensure that goods stay within their temperature range during transit and in any temporary storage locations, be sure to place a temperature monitoring device with those goods. A logistics provider will then be able to monitor the temperature of the inventory and provide assistance and intervention if necessary. 

By keeping these five best practices in mind, you can be confident in knowing that your refrigerated inventory is being properly shipped and that it will be kept at the appropriate temperature until it reaches its destination.