What Is Refrigerated Trucking and What Are Its Benefits for Business

What Is Refrigerated Trucking and What Are Its Benefits for Business

Transporting perishable goods in or from a warm area, like Texas for example, is a recipe for disaster. No matter how much money you anticipate saving by shipping perishable items with non perishable items, it isn’t worth ruining your goods.

Warm weather presents logistical challenges for transporting perishables from a place like Texas, but these challenges can be easily avoided by using refrigerated trucking services. A refrigerated freight ensures that your shipment will not spoil before arriving at its eventual destination. Two different shipments might seem like a high cost, but in reality, your goods will be better protected and last longer, saving you more money in the long run.

Below we’ll discuss what refrigerated trucking is, how it will benefit your business, and why its importance should not be underestimated.

Refrigerated Transportation Definition and When It Is Needed

What is a refrigerated trailer? A refrigerated truck or trailer, also known as a reefer, is a freight shipping container specifically designed to transport foods, pharmaceuticals, and other products that require a temperature controlled environment. The trailer has a built-in refrigeration system to prevent spoiling of the goods.

Reefer transportation must be done by professional transportation service providers to ensure a properly climate controlled environment, as well as high quality treatment of the shipment. These trucks have the most advanced technology. They can be carefully adjusted for each shipment and its temperature needs, and can withstand any outdoor weather conditions.

Most often, refrigerated trucks are used for shipping perishables, specifically frozen foods and similar products. However, there are a number of other perishable items that require a humidity and temperature controlled environment. Below are examples of common perishable food and products that require refrigerated trucks:

  • Meat and dairy products
  • Fresh vegetables, fruit, and other produce
  • Baked goods
  • Frozen foods
  • Flowers and floral arrangements
  • Cosmetic products
  • Chemicals
  • Perfumes, colognes, and other essences
  • Any art or furniture that require temperature controlled transport

Conditions Required for Shipping Different Types of Perishables

Not every product has its own temperature requirements, so there are a few basic humidity and temperature settings that are commonly used for keeping food shipments fresh.

Below are the three conditions that are generally needed when shipping perishable food and products.

  • For shipping frozen foods and products: To ship frozen foods, temperatures as low as -85ºFahrenheit and as high as 32ºF may be necessary. For the more extreme temperature requirements, a specialized truck may be necessary.
  • For shipping food and other perishable items: To keep most items cold, cool temperatures of about 33º-39ºF are used.
  • For products that require warmer conditions: Some products require an insulated container to keep products at a warmer temperature, protected from extreme temperatures outdoors.

More specific guidelines for shipping refrigerated food and produce:

  • Flowers and plants: Though every flower and plant has its own needs, the safest temperature range during the shipping process is about 33ºF.
  • Potatoes and sweet potatoes: These roots can survive in most temperatures, but they will keep for a longer period of time if transported at about 40º-45ºF.
  • Greens: Lettuces and spinach, as well as broccoli, grapes, apples, and other foods, should generally be transported in temperatures ranging from 32º-36ºF.
  • Water-rich produce: This category, which includes fruits and vegetables like cucumbers, tomatoes, citrus, watermelons, and bananas, requires temperatures of approximately 45º-50ºF.
  • Pharmaceuticals: When it comes to medication, specificity is key. Using a rough estimate is not always the best choice; if a medication states that it should be kept at:
  • Room temperature: - 68-70ºF.
  • Refrigerated: - 35.6-46.4ºF.
  • Cryogenic: - below 32ºF.

Packaging Perishable Goods Before the Truck Shipping

Knowing how to properly package your perishable food items is an essential part of perishable goods logistics. Knowing the proper packaging materials, whether that be something as simple to handle as bubble wrap or more difficult like dry ice, will help protect products during transit. Following is a list of some common packaging materials used when shipping perishable products.

  • Wood: One of the best choices for frozen food and other products is wood. It can release pressure, so if you're using ice packs or freezer packs, it will not be damaged.
  • Cardboard: A cardboard box is most often used for cool freight, rather than frozens, because they can get soggy. A cardboard box is an excellent choice for a shipment using gel coolants or cold packs.
  • Styrofoam: Styrofoam boxes or styrofoam cut sheets are incredibly effective for shipping perishables, and will allow you to forgo additional insulators like insulated pads or insulated liners.
  • Plastic: Though not the most environmentally-friendly choice, watertight plastic bags and other plastic products serve as effective insulated containers that are great for cool and frozen products alike.

The Benefits of Refrigerated Trucking

Benefits of Refrigerated Trucking

Refrigerated freight shipping has a number of benefits for those who require safe, temperature controlled transportation, including:

  • Fulfill high demand: The demand for fresh produce, meat, seafood, and dairy products continues to grow. Refrigerated trucking is required to safely supply these goods across the country where they are in demand.
  • Used for a variety of products: Another benefit of reefer trucks is the number of items that can utilize the service. There is a wide range of products that require and rely on climate controlled transportation, not just perishable foods. This can include precious art, chemicals, plants, meat, fruits, vegetables, personal care products, dairy, seafood, and pharmaceuticals.
  • Protection: The biggest benefit of refrigerated cargo transportation is the protection it provides for the perishable goods being shipped. These trailers are equipped with the capability to protect from deterioration, spoilage, and loss of value, no matter the weather conditions.
  • Compliance: There are a number of rules and regulations surrounding the shipment of perishable foods, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, and personal care products. Professional refrigerated trucking services are in compliance with these regulations and can be counted on to maintain safe operations.

Refrigerated Trucking Tips

  • Know your shipment: Perishable items require different temperatures depending on the goods being shipped. Refrigerated goods transportation can include anything from pharmaceuticals to seafood, plants, meat, dairy, and produce, all of which have varying temperature requirements.
  • Load quickly: Temperature sensitive shipments need to be prepared in advance for loading in order to load them quickly and efficiently, without ruining the perishable items. Efficiency is of high priority, but proper loading is still a necessity.
  • Track and monitor the shipment: The driver is responsible for the condition of the freight shipment. Refrigerated trucks have a monitoring system for the temperature and cooling of the truck, allowing them to ensure that the products are safe during transport.
  • Unload efficiently: Not unlike loading, unloading also has to be done quickly and efficiently to protect the perishable items. The refrigeration can be run during the loading and unloading procedure, but that is dependent on the rules and preferences established by the shipper or consignee.


Refrigerated trucking is a necessity for many different product shipments and should not be overlooked. Our freight shipping company has the best team, drivers, trucks, and refrigerated freight services in Texas. Safety, training, and monitoring are of high priority, and can ensure that every freight arrives in the same state it was in pre-shipment.

To learn more about Cowtown Express’ reefer shipment services, contact us and get a quote.

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