What is a Refrigerated Warehouse or Cold Storage Facility?

Jason Markey

From the name, a refrigerated warehouse or a cold storage facility is a reserved holding space with systems designed to maintain specific optimal environmental conditions to retain the freshness of various temperature-sensitive products. A well-designed refrigerated warehouse comprises facilities and equipment working in sync. It can avoid spoilage, rotting, and other forms of damage to temperature-sensitive goods or foods as long as proper warehouse practices are maintained. Like typical warehouses, refrigerated warehouses can be used for public, private, or mixed-use. If you’re looking for good freezer warehousing in British Columbia, click here. 

Who Needs Cold Storage?

Any sensitive or perishable product that can degrade quickly when exposed to temperature fluctuations requires cold storage. Chilling various temperature-sensitive products and items inhibit their biological decay and preserve their purity and quality at the levels needed. The cold storage industry provides refrigeration for many sectors, some of which may be unexpected for many people. Some common sensitive goods needing cold storage include some types of perishable foods, medicines, and artwork, among many others. 

Common Application Areas of Cold Storage

Technological advancements in almost every sector have led to unprecedented growth levels for worldwide markets affecting various products and items. Perishable products and other items requiring frigid temperatures have not been left behind. This is where cold storage services come into play. The cold storage industry has rapidly evolved in recent years, thanks to e-commerce, and has enabled various companies to sell their products in distant regions. Let’s look at some of the industries and applications of cold storage services below. 

  • Post-Harvest Storage 

Post-harvest storage refers to the strict control of environmental temperature and humidity in a storage facility. After harvest, fruits and vegetables continue to ripen and slowly decay. Controlled atmosphere rooms provided in cold storage facilities come in handy in prolonging their life shell and ensuring they are available for extended periods.   

  • Hospitality Industry

Hotels and restaurants serve millions of customers throughout the day and must adhere to stringent food handling rules and regulations. Most of their products are perishable, and their quality and safety must be preserved with best practices matching industry expectations. Refrigeration comes in handy given the wide range of fresh ingredients required to be used in many dishes throughout a typical day. Other than dishes, beverages and other consumables must also be refrigerated to maintain their freshness. 

  • Retail & Food Service Sector 

A broad category of frozen foods such as meat, poultry, and dairy products can be preserved, transported, and distributed over long distances. With the use of the right cold storage equipment, the shelf-life of such foods can be significantly increased and, in turn, help distributors and other handlers of the products to increase their market range and reduce wastage. 

  • Pharma & Healthcare Industry

Cold storage has various applications in the pharmaceutical and healthcare industry. For instance, blood samples must be kept at specific temperatures in laboratories to maintain their desired qualities and specifications. Vaccines, insulin, chemotherapy, eye drops, and other medicines must be kept at precise and consistent temperatures to maintain their properties and usability. 

  • Winery & Brewery Industry

Cold storage is a fantastic tool in the winery and brewery industry. It plays a vital role in producing and storing wine and beer. Wine and beer manufacturers use it to boost the taste and quality of their products by ensuring consistent temperatures in long-term storage. 

  • Chemical Processing Industry 

Chemical and processing industries such as petrochemical plants and refineries require precise control of temperature and humidity for the optimal functioning of their systems. Most technologies used in such industries, such as gas separation and condensation, solvent recovery, dehumidification, cold treatment etc., require large cooling systems. Cold storage solutions are used widely in most processing industries and are customized depending on specific needs. 

Refrigerated Warehouse Challenges 

As with any other sector, the cold storage industry at large faces its unique challenges, some of which may have adverse safety and financial consequences if not considered. Some of the most common challenges include; 

  • Stringent demands from customers such as pallet building, traceability, and repack operations
  • Profit margins tend to be low. This means cold storage vendors need to work extra hard by ensuring operations are streamlined to maintain profit margins.
  • It’s hard to design a “one-size-fits-all” warehouse, given the diverse needs and demands of cold storage customers and their products.
  • Sky-rocketing energy costs raise the operation costs.
  • Microbial growth, such as mold and mildew, within the freezers, is caused by temperature errors or damaged freezer doors.
  • Damaged or broken goods 

When it comes to maintaining the quality and integrity of various temperature-sensitive goods and ensuring they arrive at their intended destination in time, the top-most consideration is choosing to work with a reputable cold storage company. Your potential cold storage service provider should have years of experience and an in-depth understanding of the ins and outs of the industry.

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