Temperature controlled logistics is the process by which businesses better understand and organise the storage, preservation and transportation of temperature-sensitive products. It is vital, minimising the risk of sickness in end customers, protecting a company’s reputation and keeping the highest standards at all times. Although important to a number of industries, including food & drinks, it is the pharmaceutical industry that needs to hold this process at the highest level. Spoiled drugs are a serious health hazard and, with the nation’s heightened awareness of the implications these lifesaving products can have, a necessary avoidance to keep your business growing well.

Why is temperature controlled logistics so important?

Many products need to maintain a constant temperature to stay at their best. Medicines particularly can become chemically unstable in too hot or too cold environments. This can alter the physical properties of the drug and cause it to either not work at all or produce adverse sign effects. Many drugs that we distribute around the UK are vital for the health and wellbeing of the sickest people. There are those who cannot pass a day without taking specific medicines and need them to survive. Spoiled medicines present serious implications and, therefore, businesses temperature-controlled logistics is stringently monitored by regulators.

Who’s responsibility is temperature controlled logistics?

From the manufacturer through to transport courier, the responsibility lies on many people’s shoulders. However, it is the manufacturer who produces and supplies a product under their brand name. Therefore, it is their responsibility to ensure that every contractor that comes on board or stage in the transportation and storage of a product is under the best conditions. They must stringently ensure every contractor they take on meets the specifications set out by each industry’s regulatory partner. And, this needs to be monitored on a regular basis to ensure compliance is consistent.

What factors do I need to consider?

The specific considerations you’ll need to make vary depending on the industry. However, some of the key points you need to take into account include:

  • Your product’s required temperature and humidity range
  • Temperature margin for error
  • Acceptable risk levels
  • Risks to a product’s integrity
  • How temperature is controlled
  • Whether there are back-up temperature controls
  • Airflow and its impact on temperature
  • Temperature logging and data tracking

Temperature Controlled Logistics – Couriers

When it comes to couriers, there is an argument that one of the biggest risks is delays due to traffic, roadworks or vehicle breakdown. There are ways to factor this into your plans, including allowing extra shipping time, working with vans that can maintain their temperature for longer and those that have back-up generators, should they be required.


When creating your own temperature-controlled logistics, there are a number of times throughout shipment that you will need to analyse. These include:

  • During the preparation of a product before it is shipped to the courier
  • This transportation time from manufacturer to courier
  • The physical loading of products on to a temperature-controlled van – there is the chance of a delay in shipment and temperature variations here.
  • During transportation from courier to the customer

At all of these points, you should undertake a risk assessment. This will analyse the chance that your product’s temperature may dip below the safe level, what actions need to be taken in the event of this happening and what your tolerance levels are.

Types of temperature-controlled storage and transport

When it comes to maintaining a consistent temperature, there are a number of vehicles and storage units available.

Temperature-controlled vehicles

The safest and most reliable way to transport temperature-sensitive goods, these advanced vehicles are built with a host of features. Think dual-evaporators to maintain chilled and frozen temperatures, transcan temperature monitoring equipment to keep 2-year long logs and remote temperature monitoring technology. Many can accommodate large loads with some of our own 18T HGV’s offering a 14 pallet / 8000kg capacity.

Shipping Containers – Passive

Requiring no human or external input, these containers can maintain a consistent temperature for a set period of time. After this, they expire. This option is better suited to shorter journeys while having the capacity to minimise temperature fluctuations or error. They also provide an additional layer of protection for, particularly sensitive products.

Shipping Containers – Active

As the name suggests, there is an active level of interference required for active shipping containers. They are largely used on air freight and sea freight shipping and are powered by internal batteries or an external electricity source. They are more suited to long-term shipments and can be programmed by the managing company to meet your exacting requirements.

Optimal Temperatures For Medicine Shipments

All of your planning and logistical strategy leads back to one thing – maintaining the right temperature for your item. And, as we’ve mentioned before, medicines are a particularly temperature-sensitive product. According to the Care Quality Commission, there are a number of medicines that need to be refrigerated. These include insulin, certain antibiotic liquids, eye drops and many creams.

It states that the recommended temperature for the storage of these medicines should be between 2ºC and 8ºC. The temperature should be recorded daily and users should make sure the thermometer probe cable doesn’t interfere with the door seal – this could cause fluctuations in temperature. More information on this can be found on their website, here.

ICEOTemp is a leading supplier in temperature-controlled distribution. We specialize in ambient, chilled and frozen goods with our vehicles travelling across the UK. Our temperature-controlled vehicles meet all legal standards and have the facilities to accurately record and monitor both the air and product temperature.

Let us take part in your temperature-sensitive distribution and help create a logistics plan that minimises the risk of spoiled medicines for the customer. Get in contact today to discuss your specific needs.