The cold chain in logistics requires a set of transport, handling, storage and distribution procedures to maintain, at all times, the required environmental conditions, as we have once discussed. On the other hand, it is a sector that needs a specific technology that we have also dealt with since, we must not forget that the cold industry represents a business volume of 200 million euros and is made up of more than a hundred companies in Spain.
As far as vehicles are concerned, not all means of transport are suitable for transporting perishable goods, as the cold chain must always be preserved. With the mission of controlling the constant temperature established by law, it is possible to distinguish the different types of carriers:
- Isothermal carrier. It has a cabin equipped with insulating walls, including floor, doors and roof. Thanks to this, the heat exchange between the interior and the exterior is considerably reduced.
- Cold carrier. It has cooling technology that allows the interior temperature to be reduced and always maintained within a range of 12 to -20 °C, depending on the type of vehicle used.
- Refrigerated carrier. It is a type of vehicle that helps to reduce the temperature inside the passenger compartment and to maintain it for an average outside temperature of between 30 and -20 °C.
- Heat carrier. It has a device that generates heat and involves increasing the temperature of the interior and maintaining it for 12 hours at a constant temperature and never below 12 °C.
In all special vehicles for refrigerated transport there are common aspects that must be taken into account such as the limitation of capacity, weight and measurements, the need to optimize fuel and safety. In addition, all vehicles must always follow the regulations established by the International Agreement on the Carriage of Perishable Goods (ATP).
The ATP, the international agreement since 1970
The “Agreement on the International Carriage of Perishable Foodstuffs and on the Special Equipment to be used for such Carriage” (ATP) was signed in Geneva in September 1970. The regulations set out how perishable foodstuffs should be transported, what requirements special vehicles should meet, or the control procedures to ensure compliance. The aim is to guarantee to the final consumer that the food arrives in adequate conditions. Over time the text has been updated by several amendments, and since 2016 there are 50 countries, most of which are in Europe or Central Asia.