Dairy industry: transportation and logistics

3 Mins read

Do you ever wonder how that glass of milk that accompanies your breakfast comes to your table? Can you imagine the level of transportation logistics involved in transporting milk? Well, to start, let us take a look at the dairy industry and then we will gradually move towards the transportation logistics of the dairy industry.

Over the years, there have been several strategies to improve the quality of milk. Milk has a short shelf life, and this forces the dairy processors to plan and optimise their production schedules accordingly. The business model that most dairy processors adopt is developed around these factors:

  • Helps them to eliminate any unnecessary costs
  • Reduce and eliminate any time wastage
  • Eliminate resource wastage
  • Minimise mistakes while achieving the goal of producing a quality product

A look at the global dairy sector

It was in the 1970s when India launched a white revolution and surpassed America in terms of producing milk by volume. Cut to 2020, the global dairy sector has changed completely. A recent survey conducted by the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations shows that dairy prices were way below their peak last year. The demand for milk products is beginning to slow down. Also, this drop in demand has caused an excess supply eventually resulting in low prices. However, the report also states that despite this, the dairy sector is expected to grow at 1.8% per year over the next five years. This increase is backed up by the urbanisation of local towns and the emerging markets. The emerging markets have facilitated growing incomes.

Consumer patterns are also changing all over the world. The main reason behind this change is the change of the value drivers in the customers’ shopping pattern. Earlier traditional value drivers such as price, taste, and convenience were the key driving factors for sale. But with time, these drives have been replaced by heath and wellness, safety, social impact, and experience. To encompass all these evolving drivers, food companies and dairy transportation logistics have to be much more transparent to the customers. To align themselves with the new changing customer patterns food companies must also enhance their production processes to come up with new products that do not compromise on safety and quality.

Sources of milk

The world predominantly consumes cow’s milk, followed by buffalo’s milk. The leading producers of cow’s milk consist of Asia at the top with a 30% contribution, the EU at the second position with a 28% contribution, followed by North and Central America with an 18% contribution, and then there is South America (13%), Africa (9%), and Oceania (5%). The food products in the dairy sector include liquid milk, milk powders, cheese, butter, yoghurt, and ice cream. Apart from these direct derivatives, milk is also used in various other food products. The final composition of the milk is determined by different factors including genetics, breed of the animal, environment, stages of lactation, and nutrition.

This was all about the composition and production of milk. The milk is then transported to various industries for processing so that food products can be manufactured. Milk is also transported to milk skimming units so that it can be packed and made ready for retail shops. The transportation of milk is done in a streamlined manner due to its short shelf life. Temperature control is crucial to prolong milk’s life.

Dairy transportation: logistics

The transportation of milk must be done in a timely manner. Other dairy products such as cheese and butter are added with preservatives that extend their shelf life a bit but adding the preservatives in milk is not a feasible option. Most consumers want their milk to be fresh and preservative-free. So it does not paints a good picture of the milk supplying company if they start adding preservatives to the milk. Also adding preservative would require another checkpoint in the dairy transportation logistics. This would mean an increase in cost as well as effort. Thus adding preservatives to milk is not feasible.

Now coming back to the topic of milk transportation, when cows give milk, the temperature of the milk is around thirty degrees celsius. This temperature is warm enough for the bacteria to grow. In fact, the number of bacteria quadruples every 20 minutes at room temperature. Thus the farmers chill the milk as soon as possible. They chill the milk down to four degrees celsius. The milk then can be stored for a maximum of 48 hours. A milk tanker comes to collect the milk during this interval.

The transportation process is also meticulously followed by the driver of the milk tanker. The driver notes the thermal reading of the tanker and ensures that the tanker is safe for the milk to be transported. After that, the milk is transported and it is ensured that the milk is bacteria-free. After this, the milk is transported to plants where it is homogenised and packed in bottles to be delivered to your home.