Why Are Reefers Hot When the Weather Is Colder?

White semi-truck driving along snowy highway

Refrigerated, or “reefer,” trailers keep food, medicine, and other perishable cargo cold and suitable for market. It seems reasonable to assume the demand for reefer trailers would be greater in the warmer times of the year. However, this isn’t the case. Statistics show the demand for refrigerated trucking is actually greater during the colder winter months.

What Makes Reefers Special?

Manufacturers build temperature-controlled trailers to stricter standards than a regular trailer. They depend on sturdy walls and layers of insulation to maintain the proper temperature, which also makes them strong and durable.

Now what about those refrigeration units? They can do more than just keep things cool. A properly functioning reefer trailer can maintain a temperature range anywhere from -80 to 104 degrees Fahrenheit (-62 to 40 C). This makes a temperature-controlled, refrigerated trailer the ideal choice for transporting many types of goods year-round. Everything from meat and produce to medicine and electronics can be held at a stable temperature.

Some Things Don’t Freeze

Some foods can’t tolerate being frozen—for example, fresh produce and meat lose some quality when they’re exposed to subzero temperatures. Because so many families gather to share meals during the winter holidays, there’s more pressure on shippers to transport foods at the proper temperature, warm or cold, this season. As outdoor temperatures drop, maintaining the proper temperature inside becomes even more crucial. Failing at this goal means ruining a valuable cargo.

Some cargo must stay cold. Some cargo must stay warm. In either case, a temperature-controlled trailer is the right tool for the job. When shippers don’t have this hardware available, they cannot accommodate certain loads. Losing a customer is a difficult proposition for any business to swallow, especially in a low-margin business like trucking. A refrigerated trailer may cost more than $50,000, but the cost of not having the proper equipment could be much higher.

Even as temperatures drop, the demand for temperature-controlled trailers grows. This may seem counterintuitive, but there are compelling reasons for the trend. Next time you see a refrigerated trailer on the road, remember that they are more versatile than they seem.

The Role of Transloading in Logistics

Multi-coloured freight shipping containers

There are many ways to ship products and commodities around the world, each with its own advantages. Shipping by air is fast, shipping by sea is cost-effective, and shipping by rail is necessary to bring goods inland.

Almost all products spend time on multiple modes of transport as they make their way from suppliers to consumers. This makes transloading freight a crucial part of bringing goods to market.

Transloading is important for the final leg of shipping. While shipping by rail is efficient, trains cannot deliver everywhere. The last leg of delivery is usually over the road, on a truck.

Why Is Transloading so Crucial?

Shipping costs are the driver of logistics expenses for many businesses. The best way to maximize efficiency is to combine multiple shipping modes, leveraging the strengths of each one. To support those efforts, transload facilities should be tight operations where teams can transfer products efficiently from one mode of transit to another to put them as close to the factory, processor, or retailer as possible.

Transloading freight solutions make manufacturing, processing, and selling more efficient, improving the bottom line in three ways:

Simplified Operations
Transloading means all your freight arrives by a single mode of transport in the final leg. The receiving party can expect a full shipment in a truck, for example, instead of separate deliveries by truck and plane.

Reduced Shipping Costs
Transloading lets you choose the least expensive mode at different stages of the journey from the supplier to your site.

Lower Inventory
When your shipments arrive in smaller loads, you can carry lower inventory at a time instead of having to put surplus goods in storage.

Unless you’re located near a rail line or shipping port, transloading makes good business sense. While every shipping mode has its own advantages and drawbacks, trucking is the only one that makes sense for most destinations that aren’t on a country’s coastline. By using the least expensive mode for each different leg of the journey, transloading lets you simplify your shipping processes and expand your operations.

Women in Trucking

Picture a truck driver in your mind. Did you imagine a man? Don’t feel bad—most people do. The problem isn’t that you’re sexist. The vast majority of truck drivers are male. However, this statistic may be poised to change.

Help Wanted

There’s a shortage of truck drivers in the United States. The American Trucking Association reports that the trucking industry needs 48,000 more drivers, and this shortage is expected to grow in the coming years.

Fortunately, there is a solution to the problem. Women make up 47% of the U.S. workforce, but the percentage of truck drivers who are women is only around 5%. Improving gender diversity in transportation is an obvious answer to the driver shortage.

The Women in Trucking Association is a nonprofit organization that exists to encourage women to enter the field. They work with various industry partners to minimize the obstacles women face and celebrate their accomplishments as they find success as truck drivers.

What’s Keeping Women off the Road?

If the industry needs more truck drivers and women are available, why aren’t more women entering the field? It comes down to two issues:

Physical Barriers
In general, women are smaller than men. Because manufacturers build truck cabs to fit men, some women may have difficulties finding a comfortable driving position. The Women in Trucking Association is working with manufacturers to make trucks that work for people of every size and shape.

Psychological Barriers
Some people, both male and female, have difficulty accepting women in the transportation industry. For these people, education is the solution. Many people don’t believe that women can drive trucks as well as men, but in fact, some studies have found that women may be safer behind the wheel.

America needs more truck drivers. If the truck driving industry hopes to meet this shortfall, female freight forwarders must be part of the solution. The Women in Trucking Association has been focused on putting women behind the wheel for over a decade. Its passionate leadership team and highly engaged members have partnered with industry leaders to support their mission. If you want to learn more about who they are and what they do, visit www.womenintrucking.org.