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Tips for Hauling Refrigerated Freight Safely and Efficiently as an OTR Truck Driver
Published
March 14th, 2019

As you get out on the road as a reefer hauler, you want to do everything in your power to excel at your job. After all, a late load of leafy green lettuce will leave your paycheck looking wilted. You need to access all the tips and tools of the refrigerated trucking industry starting here with Careers in Gear. Along with offering tens of thousands of refrigerated trucking jobs from top paying trucking companies, we also give tons of advice for the trucking industry. Start here with our top tips for hauling refrigerated freight in any state and region.

About Hauling Refrigerated Freight

The first area of focus in hauling reefer loads is your trailer. Unlike box van or dry van trailers, a refrigerated trailer comes equipped with a built-in refrigeration unit. This refrigeration unit allows you to maintain the right temperature throughout your route. You can use a refrigerated trailer to haul produce, meat, flowers, cosmetics, medicine, electronics, and fine works of art including history museum pieces.

How Refrigerated Trailers Work

The refrigeration unit is attached to the front of the trailer for a reefer truck setup. The unit works using a four-cylinder diesel engine. This engine provides power to the refrigeration unit so that you can regulate the internal temperature of the trailer. You need to keep your trailer’s refrigeration unit full of diesel just like your regular tanks.

How Much Diesel Fuel Reefer Trailers Use

A refrigerated trailer can burn up to 15 gallons of diesel in the wintertime. Also, the more you keep the door open on your trailer, as with unloading and loading freight, you put more stress on the refrigeration unit. This also burns even more fuel. On average, you can expect to fill the tank in your refrigeration unit two to three times per week with OTR refrigerated trucking jobs.

By the way, there are companies out there that will automatically fill up the reefer trailer tanks with diesel for trucking companies. This value-added service is beneficial for big refrigerated trucking companies. It also helps these reefer drivers to reduce their cost and time spent on maintaining their reefer trailers with diesel fuel.

Also, with the new electric and hybrid electric-diesel engines on the market, you can now find reefer trailers in this market. Look for electric-powered reefer trailers or hybrid reefer trailers to cut down on the amount of money you are spending on diesel for reefer trailers.

What are Pulp Thermometers

One way you can make sure your reefer unit is working successfully is to use pulp thermometers. A pulp thermometer is a must-have for any refrigerated truck driver. This is a special type of thermometer that is used to check and monitor the temperature of produce. You insert the thermometer straight into a pallet full of tomatoes, potatoes, or some other fruit or vegetable. By doing this in every other pallet you can accurately measure and record the temperature in your produce freight.

United World Transportation recommends having not one but two of these special thermometers for reefer haulers. This way you can be sure to have an accurate pulp thermometer on hand at all times—it’s that important of a tool. In addition, you need to know how to calibrate your thermometer in case you are getting faulty temperature readings. It’s a good idea to keep the owner’s manual with you or in a digital file on your tablet just so you have a reference over the road for emergencies with your pulp thermometer.

When using a pulp thermometer, always write down the temperature readings on your bill of lading when hauling reefer freight. This way the information is noted in case of temperature fluctuations when and if they occur for the best recourse of action. If you need to file a claim on freight, which is somewhat common when hauling refrigerated freight, you can use these temperature recordings to support the insurance claim.

Keeping Your Reefer Trailer Clean

You also have to pay particular attention to your refrigerated trailer when hauling reefer freight. For starters, this type of freight is commonly edible or involved in food production, which means it is regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) along with the DOT. You have to follow the FDA standards on cleanliness in any area where you transport such freight. This means you will need to perform a trailer washout after hauling certain types of freight. This will generally be detailed in your bill of lading as a special requirement.

How to Find Reefer Trucking Jobs Near You

Now that you better understand how to handle hauling refrigerated freight loads in your state, it is time to find some reefer trucking jobs near you. Careers in Gear has you covered. All of the best paying trucking companies hiring reefer haulers are featured on our platform. Companies like K&B Transportation, Crete Carrier Corporation, and Indy B Freight Inc. are all listed here. Find your next trucking job for refrigerated trucking companies here at Careers in Gear and move forward on your pathway to success.

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