Transporting perishable goods has come a long way in the last 200 years. In the past, companies would place food and other items on top of salt and ice to keep them from spoiling during long shipping routes. While this was somewhat effective, many businesses faced significant losses and found that only some of their shipment would arrive in satisfactory condition. If a shipment experienced any delay, it could compromise the entire inventory.
For the last century, refrigerated shipping has made it possible for perishable products to stand the test of long trips. These advancements have resulted in fewer losses through refrigerated trucks, trains and even cargo containers.
What Is Refrigerated Transportation?
Refrigerated transportation — also referred to as reefer freight, reefer shipping, refrigerated trucking and refrigerated freight shipping — is a shipping method that allows companies to move perishable foods and products in a temperature-controlled environment.
With this transportation method, shipping companies can safely transport fresh produce, seafood, medicines and other temperature-sensitive products without spoiling. Without temperature-controlled environments, it would be nearly impossible to move these goods across long distances. The trucks, trailers or cargo containers have a built-in refrigeration system that keeps the food or goods at the correct temperature through the entire shipping process, allowing the products to arrive at their destination in the same condition they were in before the shipment.
Without refrigerated transportation, perishable goods could only travel short distances, severely limiting food distribution to other countries and even within some larger nations. Thanks to advances in technology over the past century, people can enjoy food and pharmaceuticals from the other side of the world.
The first step to understanding the supply chain of refrigerated transportation is learning about cold-chain logistics.
The refrigerated freight industry has been experiencing massive growth over the past few years as the internet makes products more accessible to consumers worldwide. As people discover new foods or medicine, they need a way to move the product from its origin to consumers. That’s where cold-chain logistics comes into play.
Cold-chain logistics, also known as chill-chain logistics, is the entire supply chain process for temperature-controlled foods and pharmaceuticals from start to finish. While refrigerated transportation focuses on the actual transportation of the products, that’s only a small step in the cold-chain process.
The 5 Steps of Cold-Chain Logistics
The cold-chain logistics process involves five primary steps.
- Developing a temperature plan: This step involves evaluating and establishing a sustainable temperature range for a given product. Marking the items with RFIDs or UPCs will help monitor each product’s journey throughout the shipping process.
- Monitor the storage: It’s essential to consistently check inventory temperature to keep it in good condition and minimize losses. In this step, it’s crucial to track expiration dates to ensure the products will be sellable when they reach their destination.
- Transport the products: This step requires refrigerated transportation, as explained above. It involves safely and efficiently transporting the food or pharmaceutical products to their destination.
- Delivery of the goods: This stage, also known as the “last mile” in the shipping industry, involves the transportation and physical delivery of the shipment. Some critical factors in this step are the delivery timing and the space available for the products. This step is delicate because carelessness can damage fragile goods.
- Final checks quality assurance: After successfully delivering the shipment, the company checks products for damage or potential losses. This final stage in the cold-chain process helps build strong relationships between the buyer and seller.
Cold-chain logistics are the end-to-end chain of events and responsibilities between the seller and buyer. If any of the above steps become compromised, goods could get lost along the way.
Pharmaceutical Products and Food Transportation
There is a continuous rise in demand for refrigerated shipping for perishable pharmaceutical and food products. These products are becoming more widely available thanks to the increasing accessibility of the internet. Businesses need a way to get these products to consumers without deteriorating along the way.
Shipping Pharmaceutical Products
The biopharmaceutical industry in the United States is one of the leaders in our nation’s economy. Refrigerated transportation plays a crucial role in getting these products from the manufacturers to hospitals, pharmacies and other places of sale.
Shipping pharmaceuticals across long distances brings various essential considerations. These products are often highly temperature-sensitive and expensive to replace. Because of this, there are many government regulations for transporting pharmaceuticals.
These standards serve two primary purposes:
- Keep pharmaceutical products safe for use upon arrival
- Minimize product loss to keep an adequate supply and affordable prices
While the regulations can be challenging to understand, the critical thing to remember is that these products must maintain an appropriate temperature throughout their lifecycle.
Shipping Perishable Foods
Specific geographical regions are often famous for specialty foods. One example of this in the United States is coastal states with an abundance of seafood. If you live in a landlocked state, how does that food get to a store or restaurant near you without spoiling? Refrigerated transportation allows fresh seafood to safely and efficiently go from point A to point B.
Common foods that rely heavily on refrigerated food transport include the following.
- Fresh fruits and vegetables
- Personal care products
Without reefer freight shipping, access to these types of foods would be minimal.
Benefits and Best Practices of Refrigerated Trucking
Refer freight shipping is the best solution for businesses looking to move perishable goods from manufacturers to sellers. Choosing this method includes many benefits for the company and consumer.
- Accessibility: Refrigerated truck transport gives buyers everywhere access to region-specific foods and goods.
- Protection: Products must safely go from point A to point B and minimize revenue loss.
- Demand fulfillment: The call for fresh products continues to stay high. Refrigeration allows companies to meet this demand efficiently.
There are a few good transportation practices to follow to move food and pharmaceutical products efficiently.
- Identify products with similar temperature needs: Doing so allows you to efficiently ship similar products rather than scheduling separate shipments.
- Monitor shipment progress: Reefer freights have on-board thermometers and other monitoring tools for the carrier to keep track of the shipment’s condition during transport.
- Load and unload the products quickly:Since the goods are temperature-sensitive, minimizing exposure time while loading and unloading can help reduce the potential for losses.
End-to-End Refrigerated Transportation Solutions With Central Florida Freezer
Central Florida Freezer provides businesses with an end-to-end solution for cold storage, warehouse management and complete distribution services. Get started with us today by contacting us online or calling us at 352-365-6969.