The History of Reefer Trailers

Have you ever wondered how perishable goods are transported across long distances? The answer is reefer trailers! They are refrigerated trailers that are used to transport perishable goods. They are equipped with a system that regulates the temperature and humidity inside the trailer. This blog post will take a closer look at reefer trailers and their importance in the cold chain industry. We will also discuss the challenges of reefer trailers and introduce you to some leading manufacturers. So, if you're interested in learning more about reefer trailers, please read on!

The History of Reefer Trailers

Reefer trailers were utilized in the early days of trucking to transport perishable items like fruit and dairy products. These trailers included an ice storage mechanism to keep their load chilled for days. The 1930s saw the construction of the first reefers, which swiftly rose to prominence in the transportation sector.


The development of refrigerated trailers, which could keep perishable goods cold for weeks, changed the trucking industry in the 1950s. Due to this, truckers could transport cargo across the nation without being concerned about it going bad. These trailers are still used to transport perishable commodities today, but they also transport many other goods, such as live animals, flowers, and medications.

This component of cold chain logistics, technology, and procedure make it possible to transport temperature-sensitive goods throughout the supply chain safely.

What Is A Reefer Trailer?

A Reefer Trailer, known as a "reefer," is used in trucking to transport perishables and other temperature-sensitive commodities by being fastened to a semi-truck. Around 1925, the ice cream industry was the original creator of the reefer. Heated commodities may also be transported in reefers. Refrigerated trailers are designed to maintain a specific temperature to keep your cargo fresh when it arrives. Refrigerated trailers are used for perishable cargo, such as fruits and vegetables, that must arrive in perfect condition.

Reefer units use closed systems to collect, pump, and remove heat to maintain a constant temperature. A reefer container can be cooled using a variety of techniques, such as:

  • Generators run by diesel: These fasten to the pulling container
  • Ice-based cooling cools contents by melting carbon dioxide ice that has been frozen.

What Are the Parts of a Reefer Trailer?

Reefer trailers come in a wide range of sizes, although most are 53 feet long. They have more pieces than regular cargo trailers have. These pieces consist of:

  • The reefer unit
  • An Insulated box
  • An air chute
  • Air ride suspension
  • Tire inflation systems

Additionally distinctive, Reefer Trailers need gasoline in addition to the fuel required for the truck. The fuel capacity of reefer tanks is about 50 gallons. However, a trucker's driving style has no impact on the fuel consumption of a reefer trailer due to its closed system.

What Are The Reefer Unit Components?

The purpose of a refrigeration unit is to maintain a constant temperature for the goods being transported. For example, if ice cream needs to be stored at minus 40°F, the components of the refrigeration unit ensure that the ice cream arrives at its destination at the same temperature as when it was loaded.

This is all part of Cold Chain Logistics, the technologies, and processes that allow temperature-sensitive products to be safely transported along the supply chain. So what makes a refrigerated trailer work so well? Cooling unit components include:

The compressor:  A compressor is driven by a small motor that takes a gaseous refrigerant, compresses it, liquefies it, and releases heat.

The Condenser: The condenser receives liquid from the compressor for heat exchange and fills the hose up to the fins it is attached to. These fins help cool the outside air passing through the condenser, much like how a radiator works.

The Evaporator:  After the liquid is cooled, it flows through an evaporator metering valve in the trailer that controls the cooling. The liquid refrigerant expands to gas again, absorbing heat from the surrounding finned coil. Finally, chilled air in the trailer passes through the evaporator and the compressor to restart the refrigeration cycle.

Reefer Trailers' Prospects

The reefer trailer is a crucial component of the transportation sector and has a promising future. As the transportation of perishable commodities grows more widespread, the demand for reefer trailers is anticipated to increase.

Several different things will influence the future of reefer trailers. First, technical developments in the transportation sector will probably improve the efficiency and dependability of reefer trailers. They will become even more crucial for companies that carry perishable goods as a result. Furthermore, expanding the world economy will probably result in more outstanding international trade, which will raise the demand for reefer trailers.