‘Thrucool’ launched for pharmaceutical shipments

Singapore Airlines (SIA) has announced the launch of Thrucool, a new service to transport high-value, time-sensitive and temperature-controlled pharmaceutical cargo.
Thrucoolis a set of dedicated cold chain services to safeguard the integrity of pharmaceutical and healthcare shipments during air transport. These include priority uplift and handling, quick ramp transfers at airports, cold room facilities, as well as thermal blankets and covers for crucial insulation from external factors. Customers can also opt to place shipments in temperature-controlled containers, and track their location during shipping.
SIA has partnered with terminal operators SATS, Cargologic and Qantas Freight to launch a ‘quality corridor’ along the Zurich-Singapore-Sydney route as an initial service. Complying with standards adopted from the IATA CEIV Pharma1 program, the quality corridor addresses the industry’s need for safety, care and efficiency in the transport of pharmaceutical and healthcare products. This reduces the potential for product loss attributed to handling and environmental factors such as temperature excursions during carriage.

Swire Cold Storage sold to US newcomer

Australian cold-chain logistics provider Swire Cold Storage has sold its business, including 15 warehouses, customer and employee contracts and land, to US refrigeration technology company Emergent Cold, the Australian Financial Review reports.
Swire Cold Storage’s network covers over 65 million cubic feet (275,000 pallet spaces) of refrigerated storage, in 15 facilities across Australia.
The deal reportedly went through before Christmas, though financial terms have not been disclosed.
Emergent Cold also acquired Swire’s Vietnamese cold-storage business in the deal.
Emergent Cold was founded in May 2017 by Neal Rider, former President of US cold-storage behemoth Americold Logistics.
Emergent Cold’s LinkedIn page already reflects the acquisition, calling the company, “the market leader in Australia, with capacity for 320,000 pallets in 75+ million cubic feet of temperature-controlled space, ranging from fully automated high rise to traditional sites.”
“Over the past 60 years, Swire has built the leading cold storage businesses in Australia and Vietnam through dedicated service to customers, commitment to employees and investment in high-quality operations,” said Rider.
“We are excited to partner with this outstanding management team, and we look forward to supporting the continued growth and expansion of the businesses throughout Asia Pacific as part of Emergent Cold.”

How to keep cool things cool in order fulfilment

Dematic has released a new automated tool for cold chain order fulfilment.
Proper handling of refrigerated and frozen goods is one of the most challenging tasks in order fulfilment. The addition of the Multishuttle 2 Freezer completes the line of equipment for the cold chain market.
“Our focus continues to be on reducing operating costs for customers,” said solutions development manager at Dematic Darren Rawlinson. “The grocery and food production industries are especially competitive and automation can create an advantage.”
The Multishuttle 2 Freezer application is said to offer a high-density, low energy-cost product designed specifically to meet cold chain requirements.
Specific benefits of the Multishuttle 2 Freezer are said to include:

  • Reduced energy use and refrigeration costs.
  • Decreased labour requirements.
  • Improved product handling and FIFO rotation.
  • Increased inventory accuracy and full shipment traceability.

The Multishuttle is an automated storage buffer for cartons, totes, trays, containers and individual bundles. All variations of the Multishuttle (static and flex) can now operate at temperatures as low as -30°C, which offers grocers and food manufacturers a full range of energy efficient, high-density and high-throughput storage equipment for ambient, refrigerated and freezer environments.

Cold chain technology to support Australian food exports

The global markets for technology, beauty and food products are growing at an impressive rate, with consumers in all corners of the globe expecting availability, prompt delivery, and a visible supply chain.
Food is perhaps the most challenging export for any country, as it necessitates precise delivery timings, strict customs compliance and sophisticated and reliable technology to maintain freshness and prevent contamination – with no margin for error.
For Australia to maintain food export compliance as global demand grows, its logistics industry will soon need to invest in the development of cold-chain technology, an industry expert told Logistics & Materials Handling.
“As Australian food exports reach further afield, it’s crucial that the cold-chain technology used during transport can be trusted to maintain freshness, consistently,” said a representative of logistics technology manufacturer FEMC Australia.
According to the expert, improving technology will be increasingly important for transporting perishable items to countries with immature cold chains.
“While the Australian cold chain is robust – a necessity given the tough climate – many countries importing its goods do not have the technology required to guarantee safe delivery,” she added.
The representative noted that by expanding into new markets, Australian exporters have the opportunity to further their reputation for quality, but the health implications of substandard cold storage through the supply chain could put this at risk.
Trade agreements with emerging markets will compound the issue of cold-chain compliance, she said.
“Initiatives by the Australian and world governments, such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership and recent free-trade agreements, highlight the fact that the importance of geographical borders is diminishing in the face of global demand,” the FEMC expert noted.
“Quality perishable goods are integral to Australia’s global import value proposition, so cold chain logistics technology needs to grow alongside the industry.”

Australian cold-chain industry forms food-waste advocacy group

Australia’s first advocacy group to improve compliance and standards in the handling of food at all levels of the cold chain has been established at a meeting in Queensland.
The inaugural session of the Australian Food Cold Chain Council (AFCCC) on 7 August 2017 brought together representatives from the manufacturing, food transport, refrigeration and cold chain industries.
The Council has reportedly been established in response to mounting community pressure about the costs and environmental damage of food wastage, with the AFCCC positioning itself as an important part of the solution, encouraging innovation, compliance, waste reduction and safety across the Australian food cold chain.
“The new Council is not about promoting an industry – we want to change the industry for the better, said Interim Chair, Mark Mitchell.
“One of our priorities will be to apply whatever pressure is needed in industry and in government to make sure the existing Australian standards for cold chain food handling are properly followed.
“There’s lots of rhetoric in government programs, associations and among food handlers and suppliers about commitments to food waste reduction and cold chain compliance, but little, if nothing, is being done at any level about improving the cold chain, and ensuring that standards are followed. Australia’s track record in efficient cold food handling, from farm to plate, is far from perfect.”
The interim directors of AFCCC are Stephen Elford General Manager Australia New Zealand, Carrier Transicold; Mark Mitchell, Managing Director, SuperCool Australia Pacific; Peter Lawrence, Technical Director ANZ, Thermo King; Kyle Hawker, Transport Manager, Simplot Australia; Adam Wade, National Transport Leader, Lion; Kevin Manfield, General Manager – Products & Markets, MaxiTRANS Australia; plus a nominated individual representing the transport industry.
The AFCCC asserts that on average, Australians waste 860kg of food per person annually, with at least five per cent of Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions coming from food wastage.
Mitchell noted that Australian industry is well placed to attack the issue.
“Performance across the cold-food chain can be improved with better equipment and handling processes as well as with improved monitoring and assessment to determine where the weaknesses lie,” he said.
The new advocacy group’s first priorities will be contributing to both the development of the National Food Waste Strategy and becoming part of the CRC designed to address food waste and fraud.

McColls: Pure Logistics was never going to work

One of Australia’s most successful transport companies has gone back to the future by reverting to its traditional name as it continues another growth phase.

McColls has been operating under the Pure Logistics brand for the past year after the family business and the Scott’s Refrigerated Freightways company were purchased simultaneously by ABN AMRO Capital in late 2005.

Last week, the Cold Chain division of Pure Logistics (largely the former Scott’s operations) was placed in receivership under KordaMentha, which plans to sell the business as a going concern.

The chief operating officer of McColls, Peter Williams, said that since the ABN AMRO purchase, the two companies had operated under separate managements and were quite different businesses. The McColls business was in dairy, bulk chemicals, general food and general freight, while the Cold Chain business was in refrigerated and frozen goods as well as general freight.

“It is also true that our business was not as much exposed to fuel price increases because the refrigerated transporters are running two engines – one for the vehicle and one for the freezer,” Mr Williams said.

“There was never much opportunity for synergies between the companies and it is reasonable to expect that both will do better from now on.

“From McColls point of view, it was probably a mistake to abandon a 56-year-old brand that was synonymous with great service and success in the haulage industry.

“So now the name is back in business.”

Mr Williams said revenue had grown 30 per cent in the past two years and the company was on track to repeat that performance over the next two years.

The company was expanding from its traditional eastern seaboard operations. It had purchased the South Australian wine transporter Valley Transport last year and was looking at Western Australia for further expansion.

The company had also appointed Robert Thomas as sole director of the company. Mr Thomas is chief executive officer of Greyhound Australia.

Mr Thomas said: “We are now back as a strong independent logistics player and will be assembling a new Board to drive the business into the future. We have a strong general management team who have delivered many wins over the past few years.

“Several parties have expressed interest in investing or acquiring the McColls business. The Board will consider all options, but the management focus is on delivering customer service and pursuing new contract opportunities.”

Mr Thomas said the Board and management were committed to fleet renewal, facility improvement, systems upgrades and development of people.

McColls has 1400 staff, about 200 prime movers and around 360 tanker combinations.


Pure’s Cold Chain falls apart

Corporate recovery services provider KordaMentha has been appointed receiver and manager to Pure Logistics’ Cold Chain divison, AAP has reported.

Cold Chain is a nationwide cold haulage and storage business for frozen goods, with about 360 employees and 100 contractors.

KordaMentha’s appointment came after secured lenders had been working with the division for a long period of time to resolve the company’s financial problems.

The company’s representative Janna Robertson said the main aim of the administration was to sell the business as a going concern, and its operations would continue while seeking expressions of interest.

Mr Robertson said the entitlements of related workers were protected, and the operations of McColls Transport, which has operated under the Pure Logistics brand, would be unaffected.

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