Loading Reefer Freight

refrigerated Reefer

Loading refrigerated freight is far more driver demanding than loading a simple van trailer.  When you’re dispatched to load refrigerated freight, ensure your dispatcher has given you the temperature required.  Since most refrigerated freight is food products, ensure the trailer is clean inside.  I always stopped and had the trailer washed out at a truck wash.  Your company should cover this expense.  At least an hour before you arrive at the shipper, make sure the reefer fuel tank is full and call the shipper to verify the proper temperature.  It’s also a good idea to make sure you have good directions, and verify your loading appointment time (if any) then set the correct temperature and start the reefer so it’s at the proper temperature when you arrive.  If it’s a hot summer day, and you’re loading frozen orange juice, it will take the reefer a while to pre-cool the trailer.  Once loaded and on your way, make sure you check the reefer set point and box temperature every time you stop.  It’s not unheard of for someone to change the set point while you’re parked.  Myself, I’d check the temperatures every time I got out of the truck, and every time just before getting back into the truck.  I would also initiate a manual defrost every time I stopped as well.  They will self defrost every 4 hours or so, but like all electronic and mechanical devices, they can fail, so your best chance to avoid any cargo damage is to check the reefer’s operations regularly.  In the even of a failure, the trailer will hold the internal temperature for between 4 and 6 hours, so you have a small time window to get a malfunctioning unit repaired.

Don Taylor has been a professional driver since March 1985.  In 1994 he made the jump to driving tractor trailers, and has accumulated over 3.5 million miles, including over 4 years of driving turnpike doubles in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta.  He is currently hauling flat decks across North America.