Can You Carry Dry Freight In Your Refrigerated Trailer?

The answer to that question is, yes, of course. Dry freight shippers don’t often remember that they can actually make good use of reefer trailers to ship their goods. This is a huge mistake. If the freight is moving to active produce-shipping markets, shippers can save 6-17% on their freight shipments.

So, What’s up with That?

The reason for the 6 to 17% savings is this: Refrigerated trailers must be used to ship produce. There’s a lot of competition for refrigerated trailer capacity during high picking seasons. Both carrier prices and competition end up being sky-high. Aggressive rates are negotiated on the inbound lanes by anxious refrigerated carriers. They want to get their stuff to the most lucrative markets. If, at the right time, you are transporting dry freight to produce growing markets, you can save a lot. If you have diligent freight brokers, they will keep an eye on growing seasons and let you know when these opportunities for saving on costs occur.

But there are other reasons for shipping dry freight in reefer trailers.

Increase Your Fleet and Capacity

With nearly 3,000,000 tractor-trailers on the road today, they’re broken up into several categories: specialty (tanker, flatbed, etc.), refer, and dry van. If, you start using refers to ship your goods (in addition to the dry freight trailers you’re already using), you can increase, up to 25%, your available capacity.

Service Level Improvements

The quality of service for drivers going to these markets is exceptional. They are highly motivated. They want, as fast as possible, to get to markets that are considered high profit.

Need to Know Facts About Reefer Trailers

Some of the differences between reefer and dry trailers will make a difference in loading:

  • Paper rolls, and other floor loaded products, don’t do well in reefers. Indentations can be made on the product because of the ridged metal floors.
  • On the sides and on the top, an average of 3 inches of space is lost due to insulation. Therefore, loading configurations between reefers and dry vans will vary.
  • Carrying capacity is reduced because of the weight of the air conditioner. For most reefers, an average of 42,500 pounds is common.

Most products can travel safely within the confines of a reefer if they are palletized. Cost-saving opportunities will increase if you can be flexible enough to consider using a reefer to ship your dry goods. You might even still be able to save money if you used a reefer unit to ship a single stacked load rather than double stacked pallets in one dry van.

Misconceptions of a Reefer Trailer

There are a couple of misconceptions to get over. You might get a few sideways looks, but who cares? You’re saving money. And some people think that their load will take on odors. Reefer trucks are cleaned after every load. What about excess moisture? Between runs, reefer units can be completely dried out by using the trailer’s A/C as a heater of sorts.

If you are interested in a dry bulk trailer or reefer trailer, the folks that Mickey Genuine Parts frequently have a number of used trailers in stock. Additionally, we carry a huge inventory of in-stock parts, have a knowledgeable, helpful, and dedicated customer service staff to be of assistance, and provide excellent repair work at our certified service centers located throughout the United States. Call us today to find out how we can be of assistance to you.


Let’s keep truckin'.

Get the latest news and product announcements with our informative bi-monthly newsletter.