Things are starting to warm up in the Northern Hemisphere, making it more difficult to safely ship heat sensitive items. However, the following tips will help ensure your items get from point A to point B in good shape.
- Know what, exactly, a heat sensitive item is. Some items such as dairy products, seafood and live fish are obviously heat sensitive and extremely perishable. Other items, such as certain pharmaceuticals, might not be easily identifiable as sensitive. The go-to resource for handling time- and temperature-sensitive items is the Perishable Cargo Regulations (PCR) manual. Not only does this document present a comprehensive list of sensitive items but also the specific rules regarding proper shipping and handling of these items.
- Know federal guidelines. While knowing federal guidelines is extremely helpful, trying to stay on top of them all can consume time you just don’t have. Working with an experienced third party logistics company can be extremely helpful, as it’s the company’s job to stay abreast of federal guidelines such as those set out by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and other government agencies.
- Know how to properly package your item. How well your perishable item is packed is extremely important. There is an art and science to keeping items at specific temperatures and pulling off the delicate balance of keeping an item cold without accidentally freezing it. This is generally done with the right mix of insulation and refrigerants. Everything from meats and fruits to plants and flowers and beyond can be shipped successfully as long as the proper packaging is used.
- Choose an expert partner. This is critical. A high-quality, experienced shipping company not only ensures your item is shipped in the most effective way possible but they can also be a great source of advice on the best ways to prepare and package your item. These shipping companies can provide options such as packing your item in dry ice and temperature controlled shipping, where the environment the cargo is shipped in itself is the proper temperature.
In addition to these tips, make sure the shipping company you choose has extensive visibility and monitoring services. Even when your item is prepared and packaged correctly, problems can and do arise. Having the ability to know exactly where your item is and being able to intervene or adjust at a moment’s notice will give you the peace of mind you need that your item will arrive in the condition you shipped it.