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What is Refrigerated Trucking?

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What is Refrigerated Trucking?

While there is a trend to buy your food from local growers and farmers markets, most consumers don’t realize that the majority of the food on our tables was transported over hundreds (sometimes thousands) of miles before hitting the grocery store shelves. So how does it get from one end of the country to the other while still staying fresh? The answer is refrigerated transport.

Refrigerated freight is an innovative technology that has transformed the transportation industry and, even more so, the food industry as a whole. And it’s not only limited to produce, meats, and prepared foods. Refrigerated freight is also important in keeping medications and other medical products at safe temperatures during transport. 

So what is a refrigerated truck? Read on to find out all you need to know about refrigerated transportation.

What is Refrigerated Transport?

Refrigerated transport (also referred to as cold chain logistics) is the transportation of goods in temperature controlled trucks. This allows produce and other temperature-sensitive items to be transported at the correct temperature to ensure freshness and prevent spoilage. 

The process of refrigerated transport was initially born in the 1800s when food was placed on ice covered in salt during transportation. This was an innovative yet ineffective method of keeping food fresh during that time. While it wasn’t the best method, it certainly did inspire the refrigerated transport services in use today.

As technology advances, so too does the advancement of refrigerated transport. Since the 1800s, the industry has certainly come a long way, allowing for the refrigerated transportation of goods across massive distances.

How Do Refrigerated Transport Services Work?

Refrigerated transportation is essential in delivering food under the rigorous food safety standards in place. It takes rather advanced technology to keep refrigerated trucks at the correct temperature during the entire journey. Even when the temperature outside the truck fluctuates, the temperature inside the refrigeration system stays consistent. But how?

There are three main components of a truck’s refrigeration system:

  • Compressor – the compressor gets its name from drawing in the refrigerant that is in a gaseous form and then compressing it. The compression of this gaseous refrigerant turns it into a liquid.
  • Condenser – once the gaseous refrigerant is compressed into liquid form, it then makes its way to the condenser. The liquid refrigerant is warm from the compression, but within the condenser the liquid starts to give off most of its heat.
  • Evaporator – the last step is the evaporator. Once the refrigerant gets to the evaporator, it has now cooled off completely. Within the evaporator, the refrigerant transforms to a gas and is released into the refrigeration system to control the temperature.

Who Benefits from Refrigerated Delivery Service?

Everyone! Nearly all Americans consume food that has been transported using refrigerated trucks (at least for food grown in the U.S.). Whatever food you like to eat, you can thank refrigerated transport for getting you the fresh food you are craving.

What are the Pros and Cons of Driving a Refrigerated Truck?

Driving a refrigerated truck (also known as a reefer) has both positives and negatives. Let’s start with the pros:

  • Driving both refrigerated trucks and more typical freight trailers gives you more employment opportunities. More job options tends to mean more money.
  • Extra training is needed for refrigerated truck drivers. Some might see this as a con, but again more responsibility means more money.
  • Reefer drivers are always in high demand as there is always a high demand for fresh food.

And now for the cons:

  • Deliveries typically need to be made in the early morning and hauls can be over long distances. That means that a lot of the driving tends to be overnight.
  • The noise from the refrigeration system is loud. This can be frustrating to new drivers and does take some getting used to.
  • A breakdown can have more detrimental effects than a regular trailer breaking down. Because of the refrigeration system, it could lead to the food spoiling.

Are you looking to start your career as a reefer driver? If so, head to the Truck Driver Academy to get the training you need to start your career.