Refrigerated transport: what should I consider when I transport refrigerated goods

The main objective of refrigerated transport is to keep perishable goods in optimum condition during the transportation process, from loading to delivery. Although it is true that, in some cases, air or sea transport is chosen, it is more common to choose land transport as the primary option, especially for local products.

In order to achieve this transfer effectively, it is necessary to eliminate excess heat inside the transport vehicles, so that it does not cause the foodstuffs to degrade.

However, this type of shipment cannot be carried out in an ordinary vehicle, but has to be carried out in a refrigerated transport truck, which is certified for the transport of perishable goods.

Vehicles specialised in refrigerated cargo

To ensure that any refrigerated food arrives at its destination in an optimal state, specialised refrigerated trucks are needed. This type of truck has a cooling system based on the use of thermodynamics, which allows heat to be transferred from one place to another to maintain the temperature.

These vehicles help to maintain the cold chain of the perishable foodstuffs they transport, throughout the entire journey from the warehouse of origin to the point of distribution. For the journey to comply with all the guarantees, it must follow the established protocols, reflected in the legislation that provides for Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP).

How refrigerated trucks work

To insulate refrigerated food from external heat and temperature, transport vehicles are equipped with a refrigeration system, not dependent on traditional energy sources like diesel or electricity. These systems usually have tools such as a compressor, condenser or an evaporator that help maintain the temperature inside between -35ºC and 22ºC.

Of course, for this insulation to be 100% effective in transport, the food must be at the temperature inside the vehicle before it is loaded. This avoids breaking the cold chain and allows for proper preservation, as well as avoiding unnecessary refrigeration costs.

In addition, vehicles for the transport of refrigerated cargo must meet the following requirements:

  • The refrigerated cargo must be completely insulated from the driver’s cab.
  • The interior must be airtight and watertight.
  • The goods must not be at ground level, but must be in special containers that allow air circulation inside the vehicle.

Types of vehicles for refrigerated cargo transport

The transport of refrigerated foodstuffs requires special measures to allow safe and controlled transport. These are reflected in the Agreement on the International Carriage of Perishable Goods and on Special Purpose Vehicles (ATP), adopted in Geneva in 1970.

Based on what is described in this agreement, we can speak of four main classes of transport vehicles for refrigerated foodstuffs:

  • Isothermal vehicle: has insulated walls, roof, doors and floor to prevent temperature seepage between inside and outside.
  • Refrigerated vehicle: the same as the isothermal vehicle, but with a cold source that allows the temperature to be lowered to -20ºC. This vehicle is suitable for transporting refrigerated food within the same country.
  • Heating vehicle: the same as the isothermal vehicle, but with a heat source that prevents the temperature from dropping below 12ºC.
  • Refrigerated vehicle: its base is the same as the isothermal vehicle, but it has an individual or collective cold production device, which allows the temperature to drop to a range between -12ºC and -20ºC.

Other methods of transporting refrigerated cargo

Trucks are not the only option for transporting refrigerated foodstuffs, but there are other alternatives such as:

  • Dry ice refrigerated containers: this source of refrigeration can reach -78ºC and is very easy to use. Blocks of this material can range from 0.6 kg to 10 kg.
  • Refrigerated containers with carbonic snow: Carbonic snow is produced from liquid carbon dioxide. It is often used in isothermal containers and the amount of snow can be adapted according to the products to be transported inside.

Efficient refrigerated food transport

As you can see, having the right vehicles for refrigerated food transport is essential. At WebTrans we help you find the ideal vehicle transport method to ensure that your product arrives at its destination in perfect condition.

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