Refrigerated Freight

Written by Kathleen Gagne
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Temperature controlled freight is a huge segment of the shipping industry. Food must often travel great distances in short periods of time to insure freshness and avoid the costs of spoilage. One of the concerns faced by refrigerated freight carriers is that there are wide ranges of appropriate temperatures for different foodstuffs.

Temperature Issues with Freight

Depending on the load, the shipper may expect a very cold environment, one that is slightly chilled, or one that is actually at "room temperature." These differences require that carries who haul refrigerated loads must be able to deliver critical loads that have been held at customer-specified temperatures throughout the trip, and they must do it every time. While this may sound complicated, non-food shipments add to the mix.

Hospitals have to be particular about accepting shipments of some medicines that are just one or two degrees warmer or cooler than the specified temperature. The same applies to foods that are shipped to hospitals or even other institutional kitchens. New technology, however, is being developed almost daily which allows greater control of reefer temperatures and may even provide a continuous record of the cargo temperatures during the trip.

Many carriers take on refrigerated freight shipping in order to have enough diversification in their services so that they can survive slowdowns or setbacks in other segments of shipping. This makes great sense as long as the carrier is committed to purchasing and maintaining the necessary equipment. At the same time, the carrier must have absolute faith in drivers who make refrigerated runs because of the increased risk of loss due to mechanical problems. Computerized reefers and proper training are good options.

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