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May 19, 2020

Guide to Shipping Refrigerated Freight During Summer


Temperature-control freight is a term for cold chain, continuous refrigeration. Maintaining temperature-control shipping concerns food growers, shippers, distributors and carriers. It also interests the pharmaceutical industry.

For food, beverage, and pharmaceutical manufacturers, distributing food is as critical an issue as producing what markets demand. The refrigerated freight could be on its way to market or to a food processing facility. These processors can chop and mix greens for prepared salad bags or make pizza sauce from tomatoes. That is why maintaining perishable freight at the desired temperature and allowing air to flow through the cargo during transit is critical.

Temperature-controlled shipments require extra attention, and this increases during the Summer season. This could lead to some shipping challenges along the way. Below are some things to keep in mind:

  • Particularly in Southern US states, where summer temperatures can reach above 100 degrees Fahrenheit, it could take over four hours to pre-cool to the correct loading temperature.
  • During hot days, if the trailer doors are open for a long period of time while loading at a shipper, the trailer temperature can climb because the cool air is escaping out of the back of the trailer. NTG encourages best practice where it is best to wait to open the trailer doors until the shipment is ready for loading, minimizing the change in temperature.
  • At the consignee, the cargo should be unloaded as quickly as possible once the trailer doors are opened. Once a trucker is ready to back into the dock, the driver should turn the reefer off, open the trailer doors and unload the shipment as quickly without the reefer unit running.
  • There is a common misconception that having the reefer unit run while the trailer doors are open helps maintain the temperature of the product, which is not the case. Having the reefer unit on while unloading allows for the potential to draw in warm, moist air and drive the dry, cold air out of the back trailer doors. This could lead to product damage and cause the refrigeration unit to go into defrost mode too quickly.
  • There is a chance of the reefer unit developing a frozen cooling coil, which is the result of a closed reefer running for hours with its doors closed once loading is complete. This reduces its cooling effect and can put the cargo in danger until the unit completes a defrost cycle.

NTG understands the complex shipping requirements of time-sensitive and temperature-controlled freight. That’s why NTG and its cold-chain division offers a wide range of temperature-controlled trucks for shipping everything from produce to seafood to pharmaceuticals in a safe and efficient manner. Shippers can contract with NTG to manage their refrigerated freight for delivery of meat and produce both to meat processing facilities and then on to retail and food service customers. Reach out to our refrigerated shipping experts today!

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