Three Strategies for Finding the Right Reefer Shipping Provider for Your Freight

September 18, 2023

Three Strategies for Finding the Right Reefer Shipping Provider for Your Freight


Continental Logistics

In an age where our food can journey over 1,300 miles before it lands on our plate—a distance equivalent to traveling from New York to Texas—it's more critical than ever to have a reliable method of transportation. Refrigerated trucks serve as the unsung heroes, ensuring the safe passage of countless temperature-sensitive goods. But how do you choose the right reefer shipping provider for your business needs? Continental Logistics, a leader in 3PL solutions, is here to guide you through this chilly landscape.

Reefer Truck Shipping: The Key to Contemporary Life

Refrigerated truck shipping is essential in transporting temperature-sensitive goods, particularly in the food and medical industries. These refrigerated trucks keep groceries fresh and vaccines effective and protect sensitive equipment during transit. Serving as the cornerstone for many industries, they handle the complex task of maintaining safe and efficient conditions for various products, making their value to modern life immeasurable.

Navigating the needs of temperature-sensitive goods is a multifaceted task. Here's a brief list that underscores the various products and industries that require refrigerated truck shipping:

  • Fresh Produce – Produce has a tough road to travel post-harvest. An estimated 50% of produce is lost post-harvest. On top of that, produce loses many vital nutrients that make it so good for us to eat. Less-than-ideal conditions during transport accelerate nutrient loss and increase the likelihood of waste. 
  • Pharmaceuticals and Medical– Transporting pharmaceuticals, especially vaccines and medications, requires maintaining a specific reefer truck temperature range critical to preserving the efficacy of these products. Headend equipment, for example, is expensive and temperature-sensitive. Any deviation from the required temperature could render them ineffective or even harmful.
  • Meat and Dairy – Maintaining the safety and quality of meat and dairy products during transit is essential. The USDA has what they call "The Danger Zone," referring to temperatures for meat and poultry. This zone is a breeding ground for bacteria posing a significant danger for consumption. 
  • Specialized Equipment – Certain specialized equipment, including medical and tech apparatus, require controlled environments during transportation. Fluctuations in temperature or humidity could damage these delicate items, affecting their performance and lifespan.

The reefer segment accounts for only 15-20% of the total domestic contract freight market, dwarfed by dry van, which makes up about 70%. This smaller volume makes rejection rates notably more volatile. For instance, reefer rejection rates surged 6% between July and the Labor Day holiday, the highest value since May 2022. As capacity tightens, rejection rates can increase significantly, leaving shippers scrambling to find reliable transportation for their temperature-sensitive goods. Finding the right reefer truckload or LTL reefer provider in such a volatile and tight market becomes imperative. Below are three strategies to help you make an informed decision.

Three Strategies for Finding the Right Refrigerated LTL Provider for Your Freight

The shipping of temperature-sensitive goods comes with its unique set of challenges. These challenges can make or break your operations, emphasizing the importance of choosing the right reefer LTL provider. The following three strategies will guide you in making an informed decision.

Assess Your Requirements

  • Temperature and Climate Control: Determine your cargo's reefer truck temperature range and climate control needs.
  • Volume and Frequency: Identify the volume and frequency of shipments requiring refrigerated transport.
  • Specialized Handling: Consider any specialized handling or monitoring requirements for your products.
  • Budget and Cost: Evaluate your budget and cost constraints for reefer truckload or LTL reefer transportation services.

Research and Selection

  • Provider Shortlist: Compile a list of reputable reefer transportation providers in your region or industry.
  • Background Checks: Conduct background checks on potential providers, focusing on industry experience and track records.
  • Regulatory Compliance: Check for necessary certifications and compliance with relevant regulations (e.g., FDA for food transport).
  • Compare Quotes: Request and compare quotes from multiple providers, considering service quality, pricing, and flexibility.
  • Technology and Tracking: Investigate the provider's technology and tracking capabilities for real-time monitoring.

Collaborate and Monitor

  • Clear Communication: Establish clear communication channels and expectations with your chosen provider.
  • SLAs: Discuss service-level agreements, including temperature control, delivery schedules, and contingency plans.
  • Monitoring Systems: Implement effective cargo monitoring systems to track temperature and condition during transit.
  • Performance Evaluation: Regularly evaluate the performance of your reefer transportation provider, addressing any issues promptly.
  • Adaptability: Maintain open communication to adapt to changing business needs and ensure a successful partnership.

Transporting temperature-sensitive cargo is not just about getting from point A to point B. Reefer shipping involves careful planning, specialized equipment, and constant monitoring. That's why choosing between reefer LTL and reefer truckload is just the beginning. Selecting the right service provider for refrigerated truck shipping can make all the difference in reliability, visibility, and cost.

Trust Continental Logistics for Your Refrigerated Truck Shipping Needs

The landscape of freight shipping is fraught with complexity, particularly when temperature-sensitive cargo is involved. In a market where refrigerated truck shipping represents just a tiny portion of total domestic contract freight—compared to the lion's share claimed by dry vans—choosing a reliable provider is more important than ever. Spikes in reefer rejection rates, as evidenced by recent stats, underline the critical nature of this decision. Here's why Continental Logistics is your go-to partner for these challenges:

Full Truckload – Unmatched Reliability and Nationwide Coverage

Continental Logistics ensures that your goods reach their destination intact and on time. We specialize in local and national truckload transportation and offer comprehensive solutions for all your shipping needs. Our network provides full coverage, regardless of the origin or destination.

Less Than Truckload – Efficient, Cost-effective Solutions

For smaller shipments, our LTL service is the answer. We offer an efficient, economical, and traceable solution with a robust network of carriers to meet your LTL needs on a local, regional, and national scale.

Temperature Control – Consistency and Safety Above All

Continental Logistics provides state-of-the-art temperature-controlled shipping solutions for LTL reefer and reefer truckload volumes. Our carriers utilize advanced temperature monitoring devices to ensure proper reefer truck temperature range and consistent climate conditions throughout the journey, thus safeguarding your cargo from potential health hazards or spoilage. Each refrigerated truck and trailer undergoes rigorous inspection for cleanliness and damage before loading, ensuring your products remain secure throughout the trip.

Continental Logistics: Transportation Driven by Partnership

In a volatile market where both capacity and rejection rates fluctuate, aligning with a trusted partner like Continental Logistics can make all the difference. Trust us to navigate these complexities, ensuring your cargo arrives safely, efficiently, and on time.

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