April 17, 2024

The Growing Importance Of Refrigerated Trailers

With the rapid growth of the food and beverage industry, there has been a rising demand for temperature-controlled transportation of perishable goods across the globe. Refrigerated trailers play a vital role in meeting this demand by providing a reliable and cost-effective solution for transporting temperature-sensitive products such as meat, dairy, vegetables, fruits etc over long distances.

Types of Refrigerated Trailers

There are various types of refrigerated trailers differentiated based on the temperature zone they are designed to maintain.

– Single Temperature trailers: As the name suggests, these trailers are equipped to maintain only one uniform temperature throughout the cargo area. They are ideal for transporting goods that require a single temperature setting like -10°C to 0°C for meat products.

– Multi Temperature trailers: These more advanced trailers come equipped with separate temperature-controlled zones or compartments that can be independently set to different temperatures suited for multi-product transport. For example, one section can be set at 0°C for meat while another is set at 5°C for vegetables.

– Modular trailers: A modular design allows multiple smaller modular containers akin to shipping containers to be configured and locked together inside the trailer body. Each module acts as an independent temperature-controlled chamber providing heightened flexibility.

– Controlled Atmosphere trailers: Used for transporting fruits and vegetables, these trailers beyond temperature also control parameters like oxygen and carbon dioxide levels inside to prolong shelf life during transport.

Refrigeration Systems and Controls

At the heart of every refrigerated trailer lies its refrigeration unit which works to remove heat from within the cargo area and maintain the set temperature. traditionally diesel or kerosene powered combustion refrigeration units were used but these are being replaced with electric and hybrid-electric systems for better efficiency and emissions compliance.

Sophisticated programmable logic controllers continuously monitor temperatures at different points using an array of sensors and automatically manage the refrigeration unit and other components like fans, vent doors, alarms etc to precisely achieve and maintain the temperature profile. GPS tracking and remote monitoring capabilities allow real-time monitoring of cargo conditions and location.

Refrigerated Trailer Industry Overview

The global refrigerated trailer industry valued at over $8 billion in 2020 has been witnessing steady annual growth of around 5%. North America and Europe currently hold the largest market shares but emerging economies in Asia are seen to be the future growth engines.

Trailer leasing forms a major business segment with large fleet operators leasing trailers to shippers/carriers typically under long term contracts. Manufacturers continuously invest in R&D to develop new technologies and offerings to gain market share. The expansion of the multitemperature segment reflects the growing complexities in food transportation needs. With world trade expected to double by 2030, projections indicate substantial growth opportunities for players in the refrigerated trailer industry.

Future Trends

As supply chains become more global and just-in-time, meeting exacting standards of cargo care will be critical. This will drive adoption of emerging technologies in refrigerated trailers like:

– Telematics: Fleets will increasingly rely on advanced telematics solutions for real-time monitoring, predictive maintenance, deliver enhanced security, and improve fleet utilization through routing optimization etc. Over-the-air software upgrades will allow remote updates.

– Automation: Automated cargo loading/unloading using cranes and conveyors, driver-assist features, and self-driving capabilities when conditions permit aim to improve safety and efficiency.

– Alternate fuels: Adoption of cleaner-burning alternative fuels like LNG and development of battery-electric solutions will be key to lower carbon footprint of operations over the long run.

– Digitization: Use of IoT, predictive analytics, blockchains etc. will enable digitization of processes across product monitoring, maintenance, procurement and enable greater collaboration between all stakeholders.

Constant innovation will be necessary for refrigerated trailer OEMs and fleet operators to navigate the interplay between complex cargo care requirements, rising transportation demands, strict emissions norms and cost pressures. While technological advancements provide opportunities, skill development and adapting business models will also be important to fully capitalize on the long-term growth prospects of this critical logistics segment.

1. Source: Coherent Market Insights, Public sources, Desk research
2. We have leveraged AI tools to mine information and compile it