The winter months can mean tricky driving conditions, unpredictable weather, and issues with transportation and logistics. As a shipper and business owner, you want to be sure your cargo is being shipped safely and securely, especially if your products are sensitive to freezing or very cold temperatures. One important service you may need is freeze protection. We answer the question “what is freeze protection?” and dive into some best practices you can use to protect your freight from the bitter cold.
What Is Freeze Protection?
Freeze protection services keep your temperature or cold-sensitive freight protected from freezing when your shipment passes through extremely cold regions or is being shipped during cold seasons. Even temperatures that dip below 32 degrees for a brief period could cause major damage or product spoilage.
Do I Need Freeze Protection Services?
If your freight has the potential to freeze, then yes. Even though some regions have milder winters than others, that doesn’t mean your cargo won’t pass through very cold areas or winter weather during transit. For example, let’s say you’re shipping your temperature-sensitive cargo from Florida to Maine during the winter months. There’s a good chance your cargo will pass through frigid temperatures and will need to be protected. That’s where freeze protection service is a game-changer, ensuring your cargo stays at the ideal temperature it needs to minimize damage or loss. If you ship regularly during the freeze protection season, it’s worth asking the question of whether or not freeze protection services would be beneficial for your cargo.
What Kinds of Cargo Are Temperature-Sensitive?
Certain items tend to be more temperature-sensitive than others. Below is a list of some common commodities that might be prone to freezing or could be vulnerable to extreme changes in weather or temperature:
- Dyes, Paints, Glue
- Liquids, Cleaning Detergents
- Food and drink items
- Wooden items, such as wooden furniture or wooden musical instruments
Keep in mind that there are some freeze-sensitive items that may not be covered by freeze protection services. The best way to figure out if your cargo needs freeze protection services is to talk with a third-party logistics (3PL) freight agent. Your shipping agent can also help you find the right carrier for your temperature-sensitive items before your book your shipment. This will help you avoid unexpected issues down the road.
What Is Included in Freeze Protection Services?
Freeze protection services can include a variety of features, such as protective pallet blankets, heated trailers, and expediting time-sensitive shipments. Depending on what you’re shipping, the carrier you choose will determine what freeze protection services are offered for your freight shipment.
Additionally, special handling procedures are often offered by some carriers and these include:
- Selecting sheltered areas to hold freezable freight during severe weather
- Labeling shipments and Bills of Lading clearly to easily identify freezable goods
- Monitoring weather forecasts throughout transit using AccuWeather
- Sticking to carrier guidelines for protecting goods while in transit and over weekends
- Utilizing warm rooms when needed
Freeze Protection Best Practices
Typically, freeze protection services are available only for commodities with a freezing point of 32 degrees or lower as well as those items that require careful temperature control, such as foods, drinks, and medications. Selecting expedited shipping options when available can help increase your shipment’s chance of arriving intact and damage-free by decreasing the amount of time your cargo is exposed to the cold. Always check double-check, and triple-check that your Bill of Lading (BOL) is marked with freeze protection services, and make sure all labels on your packaged freight are easy to read and protected from exposure to harsh elements.
Package your shipment properly and thoroughly to help ensure it maintains the right temperature and is protected. Having your shipment palletized, crated, or boxed properly reduces the risk of damage or loss and helps enhance the freeze protection services you chose. For more on packaging your freight, be sure to download our free comprehensive Guide to Freight Packaging here.
Keep in mind, most carriers offer freeze protection during a specific time of the year, typically between October and May. Additionally, carriers reserve the right to suspend freeze protection services during times of extreme cold, such as when temperatures go below 10 degrees.
Going Beyond Freeze Protection
Like many busy small business owners and shippers, your focus is on growing your business as well as continuing to provide products to your customers. Rely on experts like FreightCenter to keep your cargo moving all year as well as identify which accessorials and additional services your freight may need. Leverage our large network of vetted carriers to secure discounted rates for all your shipping needs.