Cold Chain and Food Logistics: the Girteka Logistics story behind your frozen peas - Girteka - Responsible Logistics

Cold Chain and Food Logistics: the Girteka Logistics story behind your frozen peas


Cold chain and the logistics industry

Working with seafood, fresh food and other processed food products and beverages has been a stable part of our cold chain logistics business for close on 25 years.

At Girteka Logistics we are unique because we handle the entire cold chain from end-to-end. We own and operate both the truck and trailer, and manage the whole comprehensive logistics process.

And 2020 has been a busy year, with almost 800,000 FTLs of which over one third have been transporting fresh and frozen food products.

800 000 FTL / YEAR

Cold chain logistics favours higher levels of integration. Since maintaining temperature integrity across all the supply chain requires a greater degree of control.

To maintain the quality and integrity of perishables, a cold chain involves the transportation of temperature-sensitive products from the point of origin through the distribution chain to the final consumer. An uninterrupted series of refrigerated production, storage and distribution activities at low temperature that preserve and extend the shelf life of products.

Cold chain logistical challenges

If you look at the story of the humble pea, it is the most consumed frozen item in a typical week by consumers! And to get that bag of frozen peas from farm to fork, the peas must be grown, processed, packaged, stored, transported and then sold.

Each product has a different journey through the supply chain, and at every stage the temperature must be maintained at a prescribed level.

Product quality can rapidly degrade with time, the rate of which can be mostly mitigated with lower temperatures. But, any variation in temperature leads to product degradation, triggering bacterial growth that consequently could become a risk to public health if not checked in time.

There are also other factors to consider, such as the length and route of the journey, the size of the shipment and the ambient or outside temperatures. All of which can have an impact on deciding what type of packaging or transportation is required to maintain the required temperature.

Furthermore, key considerations should be made for important processes, such as the final stage of transferring the shipment or custom procedures, so as not to breach product integrity and damage the goods.

In the EU, an estimated 20% of the total food produced is lost or wasted, with inadequate storage or transportation being a contributing factor.

A growing demand for cold chain logistics

There has been in recent years a growth in demand from consumers for a greater variety of fruits and vegetables. And as dietary preferences change, there has been an increase in the consumption of higher value food products such as fresh fish and meat.

As consumers increase their purchasing power, combined with the desire for more healthy eating options, producers and retailers have responded with a wider selection of more exotic produce. Products that need cold chain distribution.

“Girteka Logistics has a robust order management request process for cold chain transport. With our team of experts, we have in place sophisticated route planning and transport solutions with continuous temperature monitoring,” explains Mantas Litvinavičius, Chief Commercial Officer, Europe, at Girteka Logistics.

Simple Process

Also, with the recent demands because of the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses require cold chain transportation for medicines such as vaccines.

Having a robust and efficient cold chain

Girteka Logistics is constantly innovating, adapting to a changing food, beverage and pharmaceutical industry. Cold chain clients who in turn are having to evolve to the shifts in their customer tastes and buying behavior. Our dedicated transport professionals ensure on time deliveries, applying transportation protocols that protect product integrity.

We also monitor cold chain shipments in real-time around the clock and have constant contact between the trucks and our operations centre. In particular for our pharmaceutical order management process we prepare our cold chain facilities for the processing of pharma products.

Preparing trailers in advance to be at the right temperature and maintaining the highest sanitary conditions by cleaning trailers to prevent contamination.

Our clients are also able to login to Girteka Logistics’ GPS system and monitor shipments 24/7, with online thermograph reports and cargo safety assured with TAPA-approved locks.

We have the right technology and solutions in place to store, transport, and monitor temperature-sensitive products. Building up over time the expertise required to understand the chemical and biological processes linked with perishable goods.

We provide extensive facilities for cold storage, before the products embark on their temperature-controlled distribution.

Typically, with two experienced drivers on each truck, along with temperature tracking solutions, we can stabilise temperature and humidity conditions.

“By applying the highest standards of cold chain care, we preserve the quality and integrity of our customers’ brands and their products,” says Mantas Litvinavičius.

Cold chain temperature standards and regulations

The requirement to be aware of local rules, customs, and environmental regulations has made cold chain logistics a specialist transportation segment.

It requires logistics companies to understand perishability and how to utilise technology to ensure temperature and humidity are managed along the entire supply chain, from end-to-end.

Depending on the perishables, they need different temperature levels or atmospheric controls to ensure product integrity throughout the cold chain.

In terms of standardisation, the industry has responded with the setting of temperature standards that accommodate the majority of products. The five temperature standards most prevalent are related to specific product groups:

  • “banana” (13 °Celsius) a temperature range for most tropical fruits.

  • “pharmaceutical” (2 to 8 °C) for most pharmaceutical goods, but for vaccines –20 °C is needed for transport.

  • “chill” (2 °C) standard temperatures in a refrigerator, commonly used to transport fruit, vegetables, and fresh meat.

  • “frozen” (-18 °C) for transporting frozen meat and bakery products.

  • “deep-frozen” (-29 °C) used mostly for transporting seafood.

Staying within these temperature ranges is essential to ensure optimal shelf life. Falling outside of these ranges can have disastrous effects on product integrity, severe enough to make the products worthless.

Companies within the EU also have to adhere to various legal regulations for food requiring refrigeration. Foremost among these legal requirements, is the General Food Law, Regulation (EC) 178/2002 of the European Parliament and of the Council of January 28, 2002, which sets out general principles and requirements of food law. Since this standard and the EU Hygiene Package 852 came into effect, food logistics operations have been subject to the same standards as food producers.

This means that transport companies must ensure end-to-end traceability of the temperature-sensitive goods that they deliver, including documentation of vehicle temperatures.

Managing the cold chain requires a group of professionals with specialist skills, experience, dedicated facilities, vehicles and technology driven processes.

Girteka Logistics continues to invest in the latest available equipment, from fuel efficient Euro 6 trucks to trailers with cooling equipment that ranges in temperature controls from -25 to +25oC.

We have available more than 7 500 trucks with an average age of 2 years and nearly 7 800 trailers single and double decks ready for transport.

All of which Girteka Logistics combines while serving the agricultural products, livestock related, fishery, and retailing industries with frozen and chilled food services.