Refrigerated Drayage Guide

Refrigerated Drayage Guide

What is Refrigerated Drayage?

Refrigerated drayage refers to the transportation of goods from one point to another in a temperature-controlled environment, usually referring to ground transport over a short distance. Drayage often functions as part of a longer chain of transportation. For example, a trucking company can be used as an intermediary between a few destinations within the shipping process. When a shipment arrives at a destination like a port or airport, a plane or boat may no longer be used for the remainder of the shipping process to bring the shipment to a refrigerated warehouse. In that case, refrigerated drayage will be used to bring the product(s) from one point to another over a shorter distance in a temperature-controlled environment to be stored in the warehouse, and eventually can be used to deliver to a store or directly to a consumer. A good example of this most people have witnessed would be a grocery store with a delivery service like Peapod that uses trucks to deliver groceries to consumers, with products like fresh vegetables needing refrigerated transport to preserve their quality.

What is Cold Chain Logistics?

Cold chain logistics refers to the process of shipping commodities that require refrigeration from one point to another. Before they can make it to shelves and eventually into your home, many products require refrigeration in the transportation process to get from where they are produced to where they can be stored and eventually sold. The process of cold chain logistics is essential for preserving the quality and longevity of these products whilst offering financial and safety benefits both for producers and consumers. The COVID-19 pandemic has specifically brought to light the importance of overall supply chain logistics. If one or more parts of the overall shipping process are not functioning, it can throw off the entire process, resulting in slow transport times, subpar products and increased prices for consumers. For goods that specifically require refrigeration, it is especially important that all aspects of the chain are functioning efficiently to preserve their quality.

Industries That Use Refrigerated Logistics

There are a few examples of specific industries that rely on refrigerated logistics. The industry that comes to most people’s minds would be the agriculture or food industry. Companies like supermarkets rely on cold chain logistics to ship commodities like vegetables, seafood, poultry and numerous premade food items that are temperature sensitive. Effective refrigerated shipping allows them to get the highest quality products from their producer to their consumers without spoiling. Another industry using refrigerated shipping is the pharmaceutical industry. Whilst this industry always relies on refrigeration, it was especially important throughout the COVID-19 pandemic to preserve the integrity of vaccines to be distributed across the world to people in need.

Commodities That Require Refrigerated Shipping

There are specific items that benefit from refrigerated shipping, as they cannot spend more than a short time outside of a temperature-controlled environment without spoiling or being rendered unusable. These commodities include, but are not limited to:

  •   Food and Beverages
  •   Pharmaceuticals (medicines, vaccines, etc.)
  •   Plants (produce, flowers, etc.)
  •   Tobacco Products
  •   Beauty Products (perfumes, makeup, etc.)

Alternative Forms of Refrigerated Transport

As a trucking company, we deal specifically with ground transportation when it comes to refrigerated logistics. However, there are alternatives to ground transport that each have their own processes, some of which rely on us as an intermediary. Goods that require refrigeration can also be transported by airplane, boat, and train. In most of these cases though, the trucking aspect of the supply chain will come into play when transporting from a railyard, airport, or port to a designated refrigerated warehouse where they can be effectively stored.

How do Refrigerated Trucks Work?

Refrigerated trucks offer a unique mode of transportation from other vehicles as they provide a mobile temperature-controlled environment with which to move goods. Whilst there are some variations on refrigeration systems, for the most part each truck is outfitted with a system consisting of a compressor, a condenser and an evaporator. The system processes gaseous refrigerant through the compressor, which is sent to the condenser and converted to liquid form, before the cooled liquid refrigerant is converted back into gas and dispersed by the evaporator into the containment unit of the truck. It is equally important that the truck is well insulated, as it will minimize the effect of exterior temperatures and maximize the efficiency of the system by containing the cooled refrigerant.

History of Refrigerated Logistics

Although it hasn’t always been as “high-tech” as it is now, the process of refrigerated transport has been around for a few centuries. The first example of this was with merchants like fishermen that relied on ice to transport their catch to shore and to the market to keep it fresh. The refrigerated railroad car was patented in the 1860s, which used large blocks of ice along with natural airflow to cool down a specially insulated car. Beginning in the early 1900s, refrigerated trucks offered a much faster alternative to railroad transportation. Refrigerated trucks were originally primarily used to transport meat and were outfitted with portable cooling units. Over the course of the 20th century, improvements in technology eventually allowed the trucks to use more powerful and efficient built-in cooling systems along with more effective insulation. The improved systems allowed for more precise temperature control and longer transport capabilities, which allowed companies more versatility in transporting refrigerated products and brought the industry to where it is today.

Contact the Refrigerated Drayage Experts at Dura Trucking

Quality refrigerated drayage transport is not only essential for the integrity of products themselves, but also for connecting producers with their valued consumers and providing a good experience for all involved. At Dura Trucking, we place utmost importance on customer service and communication at all levels of our organization in order to establish the strongest long-term relationships with our customers. We have over 20 years of experience in transportation, warehousing, and distribution and are available 24/7 to assist you throughout the process. If you think our services are right for you, contact us over the phone or on our website to get started with us today!