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Surfact innovates smart, circular cold chain monitoring

Per Magne Helseth Oct 16, 2023 4:22:42 PM

Surfact provides next-generation asset tracking service for perishable goods in transit. “We help companies to maintain the quality of their goods, at a fraction of the cost, while offsetting their carbon footprint,” says Per Magne Helseth, CEO of Surfact.

Imagine a ship transporting fish from northern Norway to southern Spain. When it arrives in port, the customer makes an unfortunate discovery: out-of-range temperatures during transit have made the fish unsaleable. Although the temperature had been tracked, the common industry solution reported the data only sporadically.

“In a scenario like this, a lack of control can cause financial disaster. Not to mention the waste of resources from improper food and pharmaceuticals transport,” explains Helseth.

Read more: Real-time asset tracking: The power of a vigilant spider


Real-time cold chain logistics and control

Surfact provides an online asset tracking service for temperature-sensitive cargo. Delivered as Solution as a Service (SolaaS), the solution uses an IoT tracking device that is always on, relaying real-time data on temperature, position and impact variation during transport. Customers get instant reporting via the Surfact dashboard or all data directly via an API.

“We have created a ‘know before it goes bad’ Solution as a Service,” says Helseth. “Any problem with temperature, transport delays and the like can be dealt with before the cargo spoils.”

This means that in the Norway-Spain scenario, for example, the cargo could be diverted to Denmark, where the fish could be sold while still fresh. The solution also documents and reports on compliance with strict pharmaceutical regulations.

Read more: The revolution of smart pharmaceuticals: The future of healthcare

Surfact’s business model is innovative as well. Instead of owning, customers lease the hardware and software at a low monthly cost. They can start using the solution right away, with no up-front costs, and stop at any time.


Surfact brings circularity to cold chain management

In all aspects of its business, Surfact puts sustainability high on the agenda. The device, or puck (dubbed Emma), is designed to last for years, unlike similar devices that break easily and end up in landfill.

“We believe that everything should be made to last. Our puck is nearly indestructible. At trade fairs we let people play hockey with it!” says Helseth.

The hardware’s toughness and SolaaS business model enable circularity in cold chain management. Made in Norway of recycled ocean plastic, the eco-friendly puck is rented out to customers indefinitely. Customers agree to return the puck to Surfact should they cancel the service, and Surfact will lease it to another company.

“We save resources and reduce emissions by using recycled materials, never discarding our pucks, and eliminating the need for new production,” says Helseth.


Billion dollar market coming soon

The global cold chain monitoring market is expected to reach USD 10.2 billion by 2026. Some of this is being fuelled by stricter transparency requirements.

About his company’s market share, Helseth comments: “Our market potential is enormous. It’s hard to put into numbers, but take pharmaceuticals for example. If we have 1 million units in circulation, this represents only 1 per cent of the cold chain monitoring market.”

Founded in 2022, Surfact has several large customers, including Havi Logistics, which delivers to McDonald’s restaurants, and PHOENIX Group, owner of the Norwegian pharmacy chain Apotek 1.

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