Refrigerated Shipping Demand Is Going To Be Huge In 2020

Refrigerated Shipping

Freight volume has been increasing at a substantial rate each year and is anticipated to reach record-level highs in 2020. Most notably among these increases, there is a rising global demand for refrigerated freight and temperature-controlled trucking. To meet this demand, many shipping companies are quickly taking note and offering new solutions. 

So why are reefer containers and temperature-controlled solutions gaining so much popularity in 2020? Furthermore, what are shipping carriers doing to address the demand? 


What is refrigerated shipping? 

Refrigerated shipping, or temperature-controlled shipping, refers to the transport of goods that have to remain at a certain temperature. This includes items like produce, perishables, beverages, pharmaceuticals, medications, and even some specialty items like fine art.

For example, you can’t send fish in a truck that gets hot or it will spoil. Flowers will die if they’re not kept in cool temperatures. Even a few degrees can destroy the efficacy of a vaccine or lifesaving medication. Refrigerated trucks are the safest (and, in some cases, the only) way to transport sensitive freight. 

“Refrigerated shipping” is a blanket term for different types of temperature-controlled vehicles. For example, a “reefer” is a refrigerated truck entirely dedicated to temperature control. It typically has one setting, so items shipped together need to be kept at around the same temp. A fridge box is an individual box with up to two pallets of product that can be on a regular truck. 


Learn more: What is temperature-controlled shipping? 


Why is the Demand for Refrigerated Shipping on the Rise? 

Market research shows that refrigerated shipping containers can expect a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10.2% through 2025. That’s faster than any other freight market segment. In fact, experts project the market will grow from $15.5 billion to $21.6 billion by 2023. Refrigerated shipping is on an incredible upswing, and companies are forcing to take a look at how to respond appropriately. So why is this happening?  

There’s a shift in consumer preferences towards online shopping of groceries and foodstuffs. People want fresh, “local” food—even if that local food is coming from across the country. More people are buying food, medicine, and other goods online, and this has become even more prominent with the growing uncertainty during COVID-19. 

There has also been an increased focus in the concern for food and pharmaceutical safety. Across the globe, countries are emphasizing traceability and higher standards to ensure perishable items are safe for consumption. It’s critical to be able to trace and track shipments to ensure a load has remained at the proper temperature throughout the supply chain for effectiveness of the product. As speed ramps up, safety too needs to be a top priority. 


How to Meet the Demand for Refrigerated Shipping


Increased Capacity 

A lot of LTL carriers are producing and implementing larger fleets of refrigerated containers to match the increasing demand of customers. With proof of rising needs from consumers and businesses, LTLs are steadily pushing the growth of greater reefer availability.  

Still, refrigerated trucks are expensive. A lot of the smaller carriers might get left out of the game because the cost for a reefer fleet is just too high at the moment. That’s why it’s important to work with a partner with a lot of connections and opportunities, like Redwood Logistics. 


Refined Units 

Companies aren’t just making more refrigeration units; they’re making better ones, too. A lot of the newer reefers don’t have diesel engines, but they use a battery system to drive the compressor. With the rising cost of diesel fuel, this is both cost-efficient and eco-friendly—and great for clients looking to minimize costs and impact. 

The temperature controls are also getting more reliable and effective. Sophisticated sensors and modules lead to fewer mistakes and losses as well as reduced maintenance costs. 


Internet of Things 

Reefers are becoming Internet of Things (IoT) devices, meaning they’re connected to the cloud. This means supervisors can watch temperature changes and make decisions in real-time, dramatically reducing loss and avoiding spoilage, while responding quickly to customer and partner needs. The Internet of Things allows for high-level connectivity and better insights into the supply chain activities. With something as sensitive and important as temperature-controlled freight, the IoT can completely revolutionize the game. 


Partner with a 3PL

Most businesses are finding that it’s challenging to operate their own fleets of trucks, especially refrigerated trucks. It’s not feasible to buy, maintain, and operate their own vehicles. So the strong majority of businesses are working with third-party logistics providers for refrigerated shipping options. 

Not only do 3PLs have available reefers in their fleets, but they’re also offering other services to attract clients. This includes sectional refrigerated trailers, which allows for multiple temperature zones in the same trailer, and high-pressure processing that can kill microorganisms and bacteria in the truck. They’re also creating more streamlined and optimized systems for intermodal cold chain logistics

Not all LTL companies offer refrigerated shipping, because it’s a complex and expensive process. You want to make sure your carrier has the capabilities to meet all of your current and future needs, so you can deliver with ease and peace of mind. 


Looking to the Future with Refrigerated Shipping 

With an increase in the demand for refrigerated shipping, a lot of 3PL carriers are expanding and improving their fleets to deliver for their customers. The implications are vast: people all over the world can get fresh produce and medicine, delivered safely and efficiently. The growth of refrigerated shipping won’t just mean growth for clients—but also a progression for the strength of our global healthcare and economy. 

Do you have refrigerated shipping needs? Redwood Logistics can help. We will come up with a customized plan to provide you the reefers you need with the tech that drives you forward. 

Contact us for a free consultation about your business needs, whether you need temperature-controlled freight or cloud-based supply chain connection or anything in between.