Millions of temperature-controlled products must reach the store shelves every day.
This difficult task is taken care of by refrigerated truck drivers.
That's one of the reasons why many reefer drivers are paid more than dry van drivers are.
Let's try to understand why hauling refrigerated trailers are such a valuable task for the logistic industry and for the truck drivers.
1. Reefers are more expensive to operate
Because reefer trailers are more expensive to run and maintain than dry vans, reefer load rates are generally higher than the rates for dry vans.
- First of all, the refrigerated trailer costs about 3 times more than a boxed semi-trailer.
- The reefer unit burns fuel as well, which means that the cost of fuel consumption is also higher.
- Cooling unit maintenance costs are higher.
- Trailer cleaning and repair costs are higher too.
2. Reefers require more extra work and accountability
Foods and other perishable products come with specific regulations. That's why hauling refrigerated trailers requires a little extra work and accountability from the driver.
The driver has to supervise the loading process. He needs to make sure that the freight is arranged correctly for maximum temperature control.
Or, the refrigerated trailer drivers are responsible for controlling and monitoring the temperature inside.
While, the shippers track the temperature of the load through the entire trip by placing temperature recorders on their loads but the driver needs to check from the outside of the trailer if the temperature inside the trailer is correct.
If the temperature drops or rises, the driver needs to act quickly to correct it. Otherwise, the entire load could go bad. And that includes calling the carrier, waiting for the repair, or switching trailers.
That's why reefers pay more to compensate the drivers for these extra duties.
3. Longer hauls on average
Refrigerated truck drivers typically average longer hauls than dry vans.
Refrigerated truck routes allow drivers to get in more miles per week, which means that the truck drivers can fully take advantage of driver hours.
The longer the delivery distance, the smaller the gap in which the driver needs to deliver the load. That is because the hauled products are not only temperature-sensitive but they are also time-sensitive.
4. Steady year-round demand
Typically, companies have seasonal spikes in product demand but the refrigerated products demand remains steady all year.
People need food and medicine during the entire year.
Food transport is essential year-round. So there aren’t typically seasonal variations in the demand for refrigerated drivers.
Fresh food also isn’t influenced by the economy in the same way as other types of freight. This means that even in hard times, reefer drivers are still needed.
For example, during the produce season, large volumes of fruits and vegetables are shipped from agricultural areas.
The demand is higher in this industry when there is more fresh produce that needs to be shipped from agricultural areas to different regions of the country.
This increases the demand for reefer shipping, which also increases the rates for their services.
5. Reefer haul dry loads too
One significant advantage refrigerated truck drivers have over dry van drivers is that a refrigerated trailer can transport dry hauls too.
Reefer trucks can carry the same payloads as dry vans do. That makes reefers always ready to accept dry hauls.
If you drive refrigerated goods one way, but have an opportunity to haul dry goods going back, it’s as simple as turning off the generator to run a dry trailer. This option improves the overall worth of a reefer load.
In that way, refrigerated trailer drivers can make more money.