How Carrier and Amazon are trying to improve refrigerated shipping

Shipping refrigerated foods, medicines, and vaccines is a precarious business. “Fundamentally, if one thing goes wrong there’s a domino effect,” Amazon Web Services general manager Sarah Cooper said. $28 billion refrigeration company Carrier is working with Amazon Web Services to develop a new digital platform to help connect the fragmented […]

  • Shipping refrigerated foods, medicines, and vaccines is a precarious business.
  • “Fundamentally, if one thing goes wrong there’s a domino effect,” Amazon Web Services general manager Sarah Cooper said.
  • $28 billion refrigeration company Carrier is working with Amazon Web Services to develop a new digital platform to help connect the fragmented set of companies responsible for shipping refrigerated goods and alert them when weather or traffic conditions may cause cargo delays.
  • Are you an Amazon Web Services employee? Contact this reporter via the encrypted messaging app Signal (+1-425-344-8242) or email ([email protected]).
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Shipping refrigerated food and medicine requires precise coordination between many different companies to keep the goods at just the right temperature as they pass through various trucks, ships, and containers, even in extreme weather conditions.

This refrigerated supply chain can be precarious, even as it’s used to ship vital goods including the flu vaccine.

“A fragmented set of companies all need to come together to get a banana from Costa Rica to Seattle,” Amazon Web Services general manager Sarah Cooper said. “Fundamentally, if one thing goes wrong there’s a domino effect.”

Heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration manufacturer Carrier makes the equipment suppliers use to monitor the cargo and keep foods and medicine at the right temperatures so they can be safely consumed or administered. 

The company, which has a nearly $28 billion market capitalization and reported $18.6 billion in 2019 sales, is working with Amazon’s cloud business Amazon Web Services to develop a new digital platform to help connect that fragmented set of companies responsible for shipping refrigerated goods and alert them when weather or traffic conditions may cause cargo delays.

The idea is to use AWS technologies such as cloud computing and data analytics to build a service capable of telling customers when to take preventative measures to stop cargo from being delayed or spoiled, Luca Bertuccelli, director of connected platform solutions for Carrier Refrigeration, said. 

“If all of a sudden you realize you’re going to get a heat wave in a certain part of the country, you can delay that shipment in order to reduce some of the risk,” he said. 

Through what the companies are calling the “Lynx” platform, AWS will collect and analyze data from Carrier’s refrigeration and monitoring equipment and combine it with traffic and weather reports.

All of the information will be fed into a repository AWS calls a “data lake” and used to identify potential issues through AWS machine learning technology.

Initially, Lynx will be able to provide cargo location, temperature conditions, and external events such as traffic and weather that could impact the supply chain. Ultimately, though, the companies hope to be able to provide customers with recommendations for improving how they route cargo and use cargo fleets more effiiciently.

Got a tip? Contact reporter Ashley Stewart via encrypted messaging app Signal (+1-425-344-8242) or email ([email protected]).

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