Refrigerated freight refers to freight that requires specific, temperature-controlled environments during shipment. This is where refrigerated trucks, or reefer trucks, come into play. As the name implies, refrigerated trucks include a built-in refrigeration system inside their trailers to keep their cargo cool. Your freight will arrive at its destination intact and unspoiled.
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“Reefer” is a slang term for a refrigerated trailer pulled by your standard semi-tractor (truck). These trailers differ from dry vans, which are just insulated and vented. The reefer is just the trailer, making a “reefer truck,” a semi-truck pulling a refrigerated trailer, usually hauling food, medicine, or other perishable goods.
Reefer trailers are an essential part of the food supply chain and are the primary method used in transporting fruits, vegetables, frozen foods, meats, flowers, medical supplies, and more. Reefers are made from either aluminum or stainless steel, have insulated walls to help maintain temperature control, and allow perishable goods to transport over long distances without spoiling.
What Are the Benefits of a Refrigerated Truck?
If you’re shipping refrigerated freight, you will likely understand your cargo needs controlled conditions to keep it from spoiling. Refrigerated freight can range from perishables like fresh foods (from fruit to seafood) to pharmaceuticals like insulin or over-the-counter medication. While you would assume that only refrigerated freight utilizes this service, non-refrigerated items can also be shipped by reefer truck. Make sure to pay close attention to your packaging since what’s typical for a non-refrigerated trailer isn’t for a reefer truck. Your refrigerated freight can also be consolidated to LTL.
Only a small percentage of carriers offer temperature-controlled equipment. An even smaller number can service a full range of states and cities. Bring your temperature-controlled requirements to FreightCenter, and we will connect you with our vast network of carriers to match you with the right one. We will do what we will do for you to find the right page for the right price.
What FreightCenter Can Do for Reefer Freight
When you are ready to get that next refrigerated freight load on the road, contact us at 800.716.7608 and let us show you what we can do. We create the shipping paperwork and schedule the trucks according to your timetable. Our online quote allows you to compare rates from many carriers online and estimate how much your freight will cost. Give our freight agents a call for the most accurate rate and expertise. Our services not only save you money, but they also save you time.
Reefers and dry van trailers may seem similar, but they differ significantly. The primary difference between reefers and dry vans is insulation. Reefers are heavily insulated to protect their contents from warm outside temperatures. At the same time, a dry van doesn’t have a refrigeration system. Another difference is in the flooring. Dry vans typically have flat wood or metal flooring, while reefers have metal floors which sometimes can include grooved bases. These grooved floors allow for the ventilation of perishable goods, helping to maintain consistent temperatures thanks to added airflow.
Reefers are specifically for refrigerated freight, while dry vans primarily carry dry goods.
Reefers maintain climates from -85° to 50° degrees Fahrenheit. And while sub-zero temps work well for meats, temperatures should remain between 32-55 degrees Fahrenheit for produce. Reefers have many safety features, such as extra insulation and improved airflow.
How Does a Reefer Trailer Work?
Compressors draw in gas refrigerant, compress, and liquefy the gas. A small engine within the unit drives the compressor. The refrigerant then goes to the condenser. Condensers receive the liquid and send it through the walls of the tubing. The liquid then goes to the outside fans and out to the cool air. It goes inside the evaporator and turns back into gas—similar to how a radiator cools an engine. The drink has become excellent at this point.
Preparing Your Reefer Trailer Shipment
Regarding shipping produce, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, figure out the best temperature. There are different temperature requirements for other products. Second, you’ll want to pack your produce carefully so it arrives with as minor damage as possible.
Make sure your products are at the proper temperature before packaging them. Always avoid overcrowding the packaging, and make sure to use efficient packaging materials for all meats and produce. Finally, label your shipment clearly and include any special instructions for handling the produce. These help ensure that your crop arrives fresh and ready for your local market. Need help finding someone to take shipping your produce? We can handle that. FreightCenter is always happy to assist.
Reefers Help in Avoiding Medical Mishaps
There isn’t a lot, but there are medicines that are deemed to be hazardous. A reefer trailer is excellent for medical supplies that need to keep cool. Supplies that need to remain cool can include:
Temp control is crucially vital to these kinds of shipments. Reefer trailers help to ensure that these supplies remain at the correct temperature during transport. In addition, reefers can provide an oxygen-rich environment for them.
Reefer trailers are a much-needed part of the supply chain for medical supplies. While there are many of these shipments made regularly, they tend to stay at a small size. LTL shipments are perfect for medical supplies. Without reefers and LTL, many lifesaving treatments would not be possible.
Reefer Basics for Shippers
It would be best if you kept some things in mind for reefer trailer shipping. For the safe transport of food items, shippers should refer to the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). Communication is another thing to always keep in mind. You want to communicate the details and requirements of your freight. FreightCenter is happy to assist you with these communications. Lastly, it would be best if you always worked with a carrier with plenty of experience and who fully understands the complexity of reefer trailers.
Finding Your Reefer
Partnering with a 3PL is the best way to find the best carrier and lowest rate for your reefer trailer. 3PLs assist in finding the best rates and pages and tracking your shipment. FreightCenter is one of your best 3PL options and can help you online or over the phone.
Questions on Your Shipment?
Are you having trouble sending your package or have shipping questions? Let FreightCenter help! We are experts when it comes to shipping products both nationally and internationally. Our freight agents can ease you into the process. To ensure it’s a smooth ride for both you and your shipment. Use FreightCenter’s free online quote tool to begin. For other locations, call our international shipping experts at 800.716.7608.
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