What is Cold Storage and how does it all work?

Cold Storage is one of those terms that is thrown around a fair bit. You will find it is interchangeable with Frozen Storage, Chilled Storage, Refrigerated Storage and Cool Rooms. It simply refers to storage that involves some type of refrigeration to maintain temperatures in a room.

When discussing your needs, you can simply look for cold storage providers, such as APF Cold Storage and Logistics, and then discuss with them what temperature zones you are looking for. As not all Cold Storage & Refrigerated Logistics companies offer all temperature zones.

Cold Storage Temperature Zones

The traditional temperature zones are:

  • Frozen (-18)
  • Chiller (0 to +5)
  • Ambient (+10-20)
  • Dry (No Climate Control in affect)
  • So when looking for Cold Storage, you will need to ask for the specific zone you are after.

Typically the colder you need to store your goods, the more expensive it gets. This is due to increased energy costs, and maintenance costs for the plants to operate. With Frozen temperature zones, there is additional infrastructure as well that is required, such as subfloor heating.

How Will Cold Storage Work For Your Business?

So now that you know what temp zones you need to ask for, here is how it typically works for businesses. Cold Storage is one of those things that you don’t realise you need until you desperately need it. Producers usually have some type of Cold Storage at their own premises, but due to an increase in production, or increase in costs to run and service their own cold storage, look elsewhere.

This is typically where APF Cold Storage and Logistics fit in. We are able to provide cost-effective storage, using our economies of scale to provide Cold Storage that you only pay for when you are using it.

Cold Storage works as a 3PL (3rd Party Logistics) provider, where we operate as if we are a logistics arm of your company. We provide documentation of all stock received into storage and then provide live reporting of what is in stock 24/7. We also provide documentation on despatch and deliveries which automatically are sent to you, the client. This integration enables you to continue with your business while having peace of mind knowing that your stock is looked after.

Key Points Of Cold Storage

The client needs to be involved at certain points in setting up and managing Cold Storage. It’s key to ensuring your Refrigerated Logistics work efficiently.

Shaking hands with APF Cold Storage and Logistics in an Adelaide Business

On Set Up. You will need to discuss with your provider how your pallets will fit their cold storage racking. Traditional Cold Stores have 1.2m racking limitations, with 1000kg max load weight including the pallet, and packaging. This must be considered when deciding how many cartons to put on pallets when placing them in the store. If you are unsure of how pallets should be stacked for optimal storage, it’s best to always ask. This way the Cold Store can make sure your goods are looked after, which is best for everyone.

Receival (Putting goods into storage). Always give a notification of when stock is to be put into storage. Refrigerated docks are always busy, and cold storage products can’t simply sit in a chilled dock all day, as they must be put away into their correct temperature zones upon receipt. This means that if you are not scheduled to drop goods off, it can lead to long wait times. This costs you money, so it’s always good to talk to the Cold Store about suitable times.

A truck backing onto a cold storage dock in Adelaide

Dispatch (Load Out). As with load receival of goods, notification is required. Then it’s important to check with the receiver at the next stage, whether it’s the end client or another cold store how they require their products to be sent. Some require weight sheets per pallet; total weight per pallet; load lists; or delivery labels as well as many other options. It’s best to check before sending out stock, as it stops you from being charged for not meeting another user’s requirements. It’s important when loading out to a new customer to check what requirements they have.

Note that Receival and Dispatch are often referred to as movements. Movements typically have on costs associated with them if pallets are correctly set up, such as charges to down stack to fit in to racks, or charges to wrap and label pallets that are not labelled.

I hope that helps anyone new to Cold Storage. It’s a simple idea, made complex through the fact its huge amounts of clients and pallets that are de-conflicted with each other to make it seem seamless. But that’s our problem, and we enjoy it, which enables you to expand your business.

By Tom Colyer, Managing Director

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