The demand for specific logistics processes and technologies is greater than ever. A glance at the most important trends in the logistics world shows that a far-reaching cold chain, including cold stores with extremely low temperatures, is becoming the rule rather than the exception. 'The demand for refrigerated space is extremely high. Everyone is looking.'
The importance of a strong logistics chain has never been so clearly revealed as in the past year. The initial coronavirus outbreak at the start of 2020 confronted us with empty shop shelves. Furthermore, the Ever Given cargo ship recently getting stuck in the Suez Canal showed how the global supply chain can be instantly blocked. In the meantime, a complex cold chain has been set up in Europe that distributes coronavirus vaccines around the world under extreme time pressure.
Race against the clock at -75 °C.
The distribution of the various COVID-19 vaccines has made it clear how indispensable a far-reaching cold chain has become in international logistics. 'In the world of pharma and healthcare logistics, everyone is looking for cold storage,' says Michiel Heller, site manager at WDP client Movianto. The Oss-based company was chosen by the Dutch government to coordinate the storage and distribution of vaccines in the Netherlands… a race against time at a temperature of -75 °C.
Movianto specialises in cold rooms that vary from room temperature and standard cooling to ultra-low freezers with a temperature of -80 °C. The company has the largest capacity -40 °C freezers in the EU.
What gave rise to the trend? The answer lies in recent market developments and the continued development of new pharmaceutical products. The large-scale development of these specific products requires increasingly specialised technology. Moreover, the market is rapidly being internationalised and this creates the need for a widespread cooling infrastructure around the world.
A new ecological challenge
It should come as no surprise that the standardisation of extreme refrigeration technology has a huge impact on the energy bills of logistics companies. Can this be reconciled with their sustainability ambitions? Michiel Heller of Movianto is positive about the future. 'We're currently looking at how we can tackle this together with WDP in the most sustainable way possible,' he said. 'The environment and ecology are very important parts of our identity, so we want to do this in a responsible way. A possible shift to more natural refrigerants, such as CO2, is one of the options.'