Managing Cargo in a Refrigerated Truck

Refrigerated trucking companies haul temperature-sensitive freight such as groceries, fresh produce, and medical supplies. When transporting this perishable cargo, it is crucial that the goods don’t spoil before they arrive at their destination. Although temperature control is the primary concern when driving a refrigerated truck, there are several other ways to ensure safe and efficient delivery. 


Follow these six tips to keep your cargo fresh in a refrigerated truck:

1. Plan Your Routes

One way to prevent cargo from spoiling in a reefer truck is to plan your trips thoroughly before hitting the road. Planning for fuel and rest stops, sleep, and potential delays ensure you will make it to your destination on time and not go off route. Longer routes lead to a higher chance of freight spoiling, so preparing for these trips is especially important.

2. Monitor Your Trailer’s Temperature

Companies that ship temperature-sensitive freight must maintain specific temperature conditions if their goods are for public consumption. Each item has a different requirement. For example, berries and greens need to be refrigerated at 32-36 degrees, while citrus fruits and bananas can maintain higher temperatures of 45-50 degrees. Drivers should make it a priority to examine their trailer temperature every couple of hours. Start a habit of checking your cargo every time you take a break or get out of your truck.

3. Be Aware of Changing Weather Conditions

Although refrigerated trucks are designed to maintain the internal temperature of their trailer, outside weather conditions can still impact them. If it is hot outside, drivers should consider lowering the temperature to compensate for the exterior heat. Similarly, you may need to increase the temperature if you drive in cold or below zero conditions.

4. Maintain Proper Airflow

How you pack your trailer can also affect the temperature of the goods. Leaving enough space on either side of the freight ensures that air can travel between the products and distribute evenly throughout the space. Without proper airflow, your trailer temperature will not stay consistent. Check your refrigerated truck’s maximum height and weight limits before loading to make sure you stack cargo and pallets with proper spacing.

5. Clean Your Trailer After Each Delivery

Some deliveries include products like meat that can leave behind dangerous bacteria. After each delivery, sweep and clean the interior and exterior of the trailer with US Department of Agriculture (USDA) approved products. A good cleaning will help avoid contaminating your next load.

6. Fill Up Your Tank Before Loading Your Trailer

Reefer trailers must stay running to maintain a constant temperature. Each stop you make on the way to your destination will impact the temperature of your trailer and the freight inside it. One way to avoid fluctuating temperatures is to fuel up before you pick up your load, ensuring that you will not run out of gas along your route.

Earn Your CDL Today

A refrigerated truck is just one of the types of tractor trailers you can drive as a trucker. Our commercial driver’s license (CDL) training at Phoenix Truck Driving School prepares students for different trucking jobs. With our accelerated program, you can get on the road in as little as four weeks.

Contact us today to learn more about our CDL training programs.