4 Important Things that Need to be Noticed When Transporting Refrigerated Freight

Jan 16,2020
Refrigerated Freight transportation
From food to pharmaceuticals, refrigerated transportation helps transport them from all over, safely and efficiently. Many business benefit from reefer freight services which account for about $4 trillion worth of goods each year.
◆ Perishable products, like dairy, medication, will last longer and maintain value in refrigerated transport; Fresh products, like flowers, frozen fishes, require specific, consistently controlled temperature.
◆ Refrigerated trucks and vans with innovative features are going to keep temperature consistent & correct, and give more control over the humidity levels during shipment. The newly-designed multi-temperature refrigeration units give refrigerated box truck more added versatility - both frozen and fresh cargoes delivery. The truck drivers can keep products frozen or chilled as desired.
multi-temperature refrigeration units

Photo by Guchen Thermo, TS-1000 Multi-temp Refrigeration Unit

To ensure the safe and efficiency of reefer freight delivery, drivers who operate a reefer truck require a deep knowledge of refrigerated trucking/ transport, and better understand how refrigerated trucks or vans function, for example how to set controls for their reefer unit, or how to clean reefer truck. In this quick guide, you will find the top four things carriers need to monitor when transporting refrigerated truck loads, to mitigate risk and reduce costs.

1. Precooling of Refrigerated Products

Pre-cooling involves reducing the product temperature at source. It is a separate operation performed prior to product loading or delivery. Proper pre-cooling/freezing is an important step in preparation for loading, which will have a positive effect on cargo shelf life, and put together a successful transport.
For most carriers, it’s important to know that refrigeration units are designed to maintain temperature, not responsible for removing heat from products, and cooling down goods. Therefore, cargoes must be pre-cooled to the desired transit temperature before being transported. For chilled cargoes, pre-cooling will maintain its freshness and quality, such as flowers, fruits.
pre cooling of transported refrigerated products
Though refrigeration units may have enough reserve capacity to lower a reasonable amount of temperature, without precooling, from the long run, products whose temperature above carriage temperature will cause considerable strain on the transport refrigeration system, and eventually result in a breakdown. For refrigerated truck drivers, it is better to accept only properly precooled product.

2. Precooling the Truck or Van

Any cooling completed before loading product is called as “precooling”. Just like cargo pre-cooling, pre-cooling trucks is also a crucial part of transport preparation, especially during summer months.
Why drivers must per-cool the truck?
System check. Pre-cooling is used to check the reefer unit functioning normally or not - refrigeration system check.
Heat removing. Every refrigerator truck should be pre-cooled to remove residual heat, and set to the appropriate temperature upon receiving the product.
Preparing for loading. Hotter temperature of walls and floor will heat the product, so ceiling, walls, doors and floor should be pre-cooled to chill the entire truck body; 1) protecting the product from heat-related damages; 2) preventing rejected loads.
pre cooling of freezer unit
In low latitude areas (high ambient temperature), it is recommended to equip your refrigerated truck/ van with cooling unit that have a much higher refrigeration capacity than that in middle and high latitude regions.

3. Temperature Monitoring and Tracking

Temperature management on refrigerated assets (trailers, reefers, trucks) plays the most important role in minimizing temperature-related load rejections, and maximizing the market life of the product, especially refrigerated perishable cargo.
Smart refrigerated transport companies understand the importance of constant temperature control. Not only for transportation companies, but for drivers, receivers or customers, it is essential to ensure cargo temperature staying within the acceptable range.
Frequency: minute-to-minute, monitoring periodically on every delivery;
What to monitor: the truck temperature;
How to monitor: temperature monitoring device (temperature sensors etc.), GPS tracking devices for real-time transit information collection;
temperature tracking in refrigerated cargoes tranportation
PS: door alarms are needed to take immediate action to protect refrigerated product.
What to check: refrigeration unit setting;
Why to check: Proper temperature setting for the reefer unit ensures the product arriving at receivers in optimal condition. The “Set Point” setting in all refrigeration units allows the drivers to set temperature manually so that the refrigerated trailer could run at as per the receiver’s requested running temperature.
Click this link to know more information on temperature setting range for chilled products or frozen products.

4. Equipment Checking

The first step to ensure a success delivery is to perform a Pre-Trip Inspection (PTI) of the trailer and truck reefer unit.
Check the truck to ensure there is 1) enough fuel onboard; 2) no fluid leaks; 3) no faulty belts and hoses; 4) no door seals damaged; 5) no bulkhead blockage.
Check the truck reefer unit to ensure the unit isn’t 1) physically compromised in any way; 2) damaged air chutes; 3) condenser issues; 4) sensor malfunctions.
Regularly checking of vehicles is the best way to avoid equipment failure. Actually, all those checks should be conducted in daily maintenance of your refrigerated trailers, not just on every delivery.
Guchen Thermo TR Series Truck Reefer Units
Photo by Guchen Thermo, TR Series Truck Reefer Units