The transport of fruits and vegetables is an essential part of any commercial enterprise that deals with them. A logistics company specializing in reefer transportation can help make sure that your fresh produce is safe and stays fresh for as long as possible.
What Is Reefer Transport?
The term “reefer” comes from the typical reefer ship built to transport goods that require temperature-controlled storage. The vessel was equipped with insulated cargo holds where food items could be stored at the proper temperature to remain fresh for extended periods.
Today, reefers are trucks and trailers that use refrigerated units (known as “cans”) to keep produce cool while being transported. They can be small or huge, depending on what you need for your business or personal needs. Even portable reefer units are utilized to combine transportation and storage if necessary.
Though you don’t need special certifications to carry these types of goods, like hazard classes and transport for hazardous materials, there are guidelines you need to take to ensure undamaged and fresh products.
Tips to Transport Fresh Products
1. Pack Your Products Properly
You should always use a suitable box to pack your products for fruits and vegetables. Otherwise, they can fall or move around during transport and be damaged or bruised. To make sure your produce arrives safely at its destination, here is how you prepare:
- Store vegetables like carrots and potatoes inside containers with holes for ventilation. You can use produce bags or crates specifically made for such purposes. The bag or crate will provide support while the ventilation holes allow air to circulate freely around them, so they do not rot quickly when stored together.
- Produce boxes should have dividers for each item you’re shipping. This prevents product damage and makes them more organized for your delivery personnel.
- Pack fruits inside styrofoam containers with divisions for each piece. For example, if you’re transporting fresh strawberries or raspberries, you should use an individual container for each berry.
2. Use Trucking Companies with Proper Experience
Some transport companies are well-aware of the product they’re shipping. They follow proper guidelines to keep your produce in good condition, regardless of where you direct them to deliver your items. Choose companies that offer temperature monitoring technology. This comes in handy when tracking the amount of time spent in non-ideal storage conditions.
It’s also vital that the company offers proper inspection standards. If one or more of your boxes are damaged during transit, you need to know so you can replace them before other items suffer the same fate. Look for companies that have rigorous inspection procedures to avoid this situation.
3. Use Proper Documentation to Track Your Products
It should be easy for delivery drivers to find retrieval points when transporting products. This ensures speedy deliveries and lowers the chances of damage while hauling products. However, it isn’t easy to do this if the drivers only have a delivery address to work with.
4. Avoid Shipping Fresh Produce with Other Products
Shipping fresh products with other non-frozen ones is a common mistake many businesses and personal users make. While a few hours may not seem enough time to ruin perishable goods, it’s best to avoid this situation altogether.
Shipping fresh produce with other non-perishable goods can cause the temperature inside the vehicle to increase significantly. This affects how many hours you can keep your items stored at a proper temperature, which is why it’s better not to include them in the first place.
5. Plan Ahead of Time to Ensure You Have Enough Transport Space
When shipping fresh produce, it’s important to consider if you have enough space for your items. This will ensure that you can fill the truck with products without leaving empty spaces between the units. Otherwise, the products may shift around during transit, making them harder to retrieve when ready for delivery.
Also, consider the destination of your products. This plays a vital role when picking the suitable transport method you hire – whether full truckload, flatbed freight shipping, etc. If you don’t want to combine your shipment with others, a full truckload is your best option.
The best way to avoid transport issues is to pack your produce properly before shipping. With the help of a transport company that has proper guidelines, you can ensure safe delivery without worrying about them being damaged or bruised during transport.
When choosing a company to work with, look for those that offer proper temperature monitoring technology and rigorous inspection standards. This way, you can track the number of hours they spend in non-ideal storage conditions. Also, avoid mixing fresh produce with other items during shipping as this may cause the product’s freshness to expire quickly.