What's so cool about cold chain technology?

One academic’s long journey to forecasting Africa’s cold chain using data science and predictive modelling.

01 November 2023

Chuks Emenike

The cold chain is a temperature sensitive topic. It took transporting the coronavirus vaccines safely for people to realise just how critical this component of the supply chain is to human health. Of course, it goes far beyond medicine – ensuring food stays fresh relies on the cold chain and logistics, yet approximately 14% of all food is wasted between harvest and retail, says the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations. Food waste often occurs due to ineffective cold storage transport methods, but the good news is that connected technology can help create smarter and more energy efficient cold chain logistics (CCL).

Chuks (Chris) Emenike is a PhD candidate at the University of KwaZulu-Natal and an AWS re/Start graduate. His postgraduate degree at North-West University took him on an interesting research journey into Africa’s cold chain logistics. Johannesburg’s cold chain relies on road transport to get produce into the continent; Emenike spent weeks travelling around South Africa, Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe to collect empirical data from the SADC region. For his research, he also focused on the South African fruit industry, which accounts for 50% of all agricultural exports, with an annual export value of approximately R12 billion.

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