Refrigerated Transportation: Challenges and Solutions
Transporting goods all over the country is challenging enough because of the many unexpected conditions that may arise while on the road. It’s even more challenging for refrigerated truckload services because successful delivery for them means more than just bringing goods safely to their destination. It also means delivering the goods at their proper temperature.
Among the many hurdles that refrigerated truck driver’s face, here are the top 5 that will have to be addressed and prioritized to ensure the carrier company will be able to continue their business profitably for a long period of time:
It is unreasonable to expect that cargo loaded on refrigerated carriers will always be at their correct temperature. This usually results from poor loading practices, in this case, leaving cargo on the loading dock for too long. Because refrigerated trucks are designed to maintain, not alter the temperature of cargo, this kind of practice — though common — should be avoided. This will entail effective scheduling so that goods can immediately be loaded into the truck as soon as it arrives at the loading dock.
Driver Error or Oversight
The complex and different nature of refrigeration units require that refrigerated truck drivers be properly trained on how to operate the equipment. Aside from setting the unit to either start/stop mode or continuous run mode, drivers may also be required to do manual defrosting as necessary.
Without sufficient knowledge and proper training, drivers will become prone to making mistakes when operating the equipment, and these errors are rarely cost-free. This therefore means that more than just safe driving, refrigerated truck drivers also need to be trained on the basics of operating refrigeration equipment, including how to perform basic troubleshooting.
Truck Breakdown/Equipment Failure
With a regular truck, a breakdown will be inconvenient because it will mean a delay in transport. But with refrigerated trucks, it will result in more than just a delay. If it breaks down and it negatively impacts the truck’s refrigeration system, the freight it is carrying will be put in serious risk. If the refrigeration system fails or malfunctions in any way, especially when it happens on the road where professional help is unlikely to be available, it will lose its ability to maintain the required temperature. This will, of course, result in quality deterioration and in the extreme case — damaged and unsalvageable cargo.
Although regular maintenance is key to ensuring proper functioning of the truck and its refrigeration system, there will inevitably be instances when a breakdown or malfunction will happen. To minimize the negative effect of such unforeseen circumstances, drivers should be trained and oriented to react quickly so that appropriate actions can be initiated before damage to the shipment becomes unmanageable.
Sitting behind the wheel, a driver may find it difficult to monitor temperature readings while focusing on staying safe on the road. This means that temperature problems might not be detected immediately, and by the time the problem becomes known, some of the goods have already become spoiled or have deteriorated. Worst case scenario, the problem is detected too late, and none of the cargo can be saved at all.
It’s a good thing we now have the technology that can help solve this problem, if carriers are willing to embrace it. It’s generally referred to as smart data management. It involves real-time monitoring of temperature and humidity levels, and it’s done remotely. If levels drop or rise to improper levels, it will trigger warning alerts, prompting the driver there’s something wrong so the necessary corrective action can be done right away before the situation worsens or escalates.
Government regulations don’t just change every so often. They become more stringent too, which makes compliance harder. The assumption, though, is that these changes are meant to protect cargo from safety and security risks. Even if this means implementing radical changes in long-established procedures, adding manpower or equipment, adopting new technology and incurring additional costs, carrier companies will have to comply, otherwise, they might be facing legal sanctions. Or, they may also be facing the prospect of losing their customers who will be inclined to transfer their business to carriers who are responsible enough to follow the rules.
Just like any other industry, refrigerated transport service has its own stumbling blocks. To ensure that the industry continues to thrive so we can all continue to benefit from their services, it is imperative that carrier companies respond and react accordingly to problems and changes, even if it means additional expenses for them. After all, if they mean what they say that customer service is of paramount importance to them, it is reasonable to expect that they will do what it takes to keep customers satisfied. It’s what will keep us in the business anyway. For additional information feel free to contact us for all your truckload or LTL refrigerated truckload needs.