Reefer or not to Use a Reefer

Are you shipping produce around Canada this winter? Transporting fresh food in a reefer is standard and most trucks you see on the roads these days are refrigerated. However, with the rising cost of logistics and no end in sight for the recession, you might want to consider not using a reefer this year.
Reefer or not to Use a Reefer

In this article, we discuss the role of a refrigerated truck and then some of the reasons why you might not need to use a reefer in the winter months.

Do You Really Need to Use a Reefer in Winter?

Recent events and economic turmoil has put immense pressure on the supply chains in Canada. The cost of logistics is rising but customers are also now used to fast delivery times and they fully expect retailers to continue providing the same standard of quality and service. With this in mind, the recession is causing many retailers to think about areas in which they can save on costs while ensuring there is no disruption to logistics and the quality of their service.

And this is probably the reason you are reading this article!

Let’s start by stating the obvious; a refrigerated truck has an in-built cooling system that provides clear benefits for the food industry in particular. These trailers can keep goods cool and they ensure companies are fulfilling their due diligence by ensuring the quality of the food at all times. You might want to use a reefer for all of the above reasons but that doesn’t mean you need one!

You see, if there is no hot weather involved in a particular trip, there is likely no need for refrigeration. Canada is home to extremely low temperatures in the winter months which often defeats the purpose of using a reefer in the first place. It’s an interesting idea because this means it’s possible to save money when transporting in Canada by refraining from using refrigerated trucks.

Now, let’s take a closer look at some reasons to consider not using a reefer.

transporting in Canada

Why You Might Want to Re-think Using a Reefer

There Should Be No Added Risk

Loading and unloading is the area in which goods tend to be spoiled or damaged because this is when the items are handled. However, most logistics drivers and staff at distribution centers are extremely well trained and the same risks apply to these goods whether the truck is refrigerated or not. This means the need for low temperatures should be your main concern with this decision.

The Cold Winter Months Provide Adequate Low Temperatures

Does every journey really need such low temperatures? Many journeys in the food and retail industry are so short that they don’t a refrigerated truck might be considered “overkill”. For example, a standard truck should be sufficient for transporting goods from warehouse to supermarket or from farm to market and this is especially true during the winter months when the temperature is adequate as a result of the cold outside.

You Will Not Be Breaking the Law!

Due to Food and Drug Regulations in Canada, you are responsible for keeping the produce at a consistent temperature. While a reefer is needed to ensure compliance with this law during the warmer months, there is simply no risk of this happening in the winter. It’s still possible to monitor the temperature en-route with a standard vehicle and to ensure these goods arrive in the very same condition as with a reefer.

You Can Save Money by Not Using a Reefer

Deciding not to use a reefer is a great way to start lowering your cost of logistics and one that you can put in motion right away. There are other ways to save money on transportation but few will mount up to the savings that can be made by going with dry van vehicles over the cost of using a reefer transportation service.


Transporting produce in a reefer is definitely a necessity in the warmer months but the cold of winter is usually adequate for keeping the temperature down inside. If the staff is taking care with loading and unloading, there should be no added risk and you can at least trial-run this option to see how it works. Transporting without a reefer will also save you money and these savings are likely bigger than anything else you tweak or change with logistics. That being said, switching to a new and more cost-effective logistics company might help save you more than anything else and it never hurts to shop around.

Get in touch with one of our team for a free quote for your logistics.