FedEx opens its Memphis cold chain center

Facility will act as a global backstop to healthcare logistics clients

You had to be a follower of Richard Smith’s blog on FedEx, where he is VP of global trade services, to catch the news, but FedEx has opened its new Cold Chain Center in Memphis, the company HQ and site of one of its global hubs. The center, whose construction was announced in 2013, puts 83,000 sq. ft of space available for frozen (-25 to -10°C), refrigerated (2-8°C) and controlled room-temperature (15-25°C) storage. It is not a general-purpose depot for life sciences clients; rather, it will function as a transfer point for life sciences shipments being handled by FedEx. And, even though some of its capacity will be dedicated to non-life-sciences clients, its size still dwarfs that of several air carriers that have opened regional storage/transfer stations in recent years.

Smith writes that the facility offers “peace of mind” for customers in the event of unforeseen delays such as clearance holds or inclement weather. From Memphis, air shipments can go around the world; FedEx has similar, smaller facilities in Kansai International Airport (Japan), Cologne Bonn Airport (Germany), and Charles de Gaulle Airport (France). Both in Memphis, those airports, and select facilities globally, FedEx offers cold storage, dry ice and gel pack capabilities to refresh temperature-controlled shipments in transit. Another level of service provides for packaging and thermal blanketing (generally, for CRT shipments), and near real-time monitoring with its SenseAware technology. Another element of FedEx’s services is the Custom Critical unit, which handles ground transportation for temperature-controlled delivery, as well as connecting with FedEx’s air capabilities.