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Sustainable Ways to Protect your Perishable Goods in Transit.

Posted by Michael Steedman on Jul 18, 2022 10:59:52 AM
Michael Steedman
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Transit damage. Perhaps one of the biggest, and most common threats to your business.

We have all been in that situation; waiting impatiently for your consignment to arrive… but when it does, the packaging is dented and damaged, and your goods - not in the same condition you ordered it in.

Protecting perishable goods from damage in transit

In turn, ultimately this leads to an extremely negative impact on your customer satisfaction, creating a downhill spiral into an undesirable brand perception and a limit of potential for repeated sales and customer loyalty.

Happy clients = loyal clients, who are likely to spend more with you, and recommend you to others, whereas unhappy clients who are frequently receiving imperfect items, won’t.

 The detrimental impact on your business and it’s future growth can be harmful.

 This of course leads us onto the question how can you protect your perishable goods in transit?’

 It is first wise to understand why your item is being damaged in the first place; though the list can be long and wide.

  • Depending on the packaging that has been used, combined with fragility of your item, damage can occur due to repeat handling and transportation and from the environment in which it is being transported.
  • Another reason is damage from condensation that forms inside shipping containers when the trapped moisture condensates and drips onto the goods (or its packaging) as the outside temperature fluctuates.
  • Possibly the most frequent reason is lack of temperature control leading to temperature spikes that cause spoilage and consequently consignment rejection.

Of course, there are also issues that you cannot control, and are completely out of your hands: this can include humidity, extreme temperatures and delays in transit.

In fact, the main reasons air freight is damaged are because:

  • Goods are poorly secured inside ULD’s
  • Damage caused by shocks and vibrations
  • Temperature fluctuations
  • Inadequate packaging used
  • Damage from moisture and condensation

Air freight protected by thermal foil covers

Air freight is widely considered to be the best way to transport perishable goods. Airports have specifically created dedicated areas with temperature-controlled refrigerated chambers and freezers to make handling perishable goods a simple process - the cost of shipping by air reflects that difference, too.

The key factor to shipping perishables and keeping them from spoiling are refrigeration and insulation. These 2 factors are put in place to keep the temperatures cool inside, whilst keeping the heat and humidity outside.

Insulated packaging that protects temperature sensitive goods.

Packaging is the first element you should consider when protecting your perishable goods from getting damaged or going bad during transit.Fresh fruit packed carefully

  • Ensure your goods have been packed with added padding inside the box; whether this is with crumbled paper or another alternative, this will enhance protection and is more likely to prevent damage. 
  • Making sure your products have been packed in an airtight container is crucial for clarity that your items will not spoil during shipping. It allows the perishables to maintain freshness right through to its destination. 
  • When shipping by air freight you can rent a refrigerated ULD or use a thermal liner in a standard ULD and use gel ice packs to maintain low temperatures. The Envirotainer pictured below uses dry ice to maintain low temperatures in transit.

This point leads us smoothly onto the second, and perhaps the most important element to consider when protecting your perishable goods; cold storage.

Whilst ensuring the maintenance and longevity of perishables which are highly temperature sensitive can be challenging, is it absolutely essential that they are consistent in the perfect temperature for the length of their journey. A wavering in the slightest of temperatures can be all it takes to ruin your perishables.

Global warming

Insulation and refrigeration is essential.

  • There are many options you could use to insulate your perishables, so it is down to what is best for you and the type of perishables you are shipping.
  • Any perishables that need to stay chilled, ensure they are placed in a watertight container. Line the inside with a liner to protect the box in case items start to melt, or if the contents contain liquid. Absorbent sheeting can be placed on air freight pallets or inside the air freight containers to absorb any leaking liquids, or condensation run-off.
  • Using ice packs or gel ice packs inside your container will maintain the temperature of the fresh food items during transit for up to 72 hours. For pharmaceutical products, dry ice is often used when required, and there are limits to the amount of dry ice used per aircraft load. Dry ice gives off carbon dioxide which could be a hazard on an aircraft if large amounts were on board. Hence there are restrictions on the amount of dry ice used for air freight.

    Dry ice in use.

Need some inspiration?

At CargoWise, we have a range of products and solutions with the aim of protecting goods from thermal excursions, keeping products at required temperatures, and ensuring that consignments meet customer expectations to eliminate consignment rejection.

Take a look here:

We’d love to hear how you go about protecting your perishable goods in transit, or perhaps you’re struggling to get started.

Either way, get in touch!

Topics: airfreight, foil covers, IATA, transporting chilled products, temperature control airfreight, temperature control of pallets, temperature control pharmaceuticals, transporting products by air, chilled salmon by airfreight, gel ice packs

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