How to transport goods that need to remain cooled

Shipping perishable goods presents challenges that other products do not entail, primarily due to the fact that an entire shipment can be lost when the container does not function as expected. There are several options when shipping goods that require refrigeration from the point of origin to the destination, but most shippers will use trucks because of availability and direct point-to-point delivery.

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You will need to use refrigerated containers. (Image: adapted from

Some distances are short, but many high-volume producers will also ship goods for significant distances because of product popularity. The dynamics of shipping some products can be more restrictive than others, and potential contamination of shipments can differ greatly. Another issue can be the volume of the shipment, especially for producers who have cargo that will not fill a standard 50 ft. trailer.

Smaller containers can be much more effective for those will smaller cargoes. And, while some products only require being kept cool, others will require being shipped at closely measured temperatures. This even includes remaining frozen for some items, and the volatility of the product generally dictates the type of container needed.

Perishable Food Shipments

The first and most obvious products that require cool shipment is food that must be in a cool environment from beginning to end during transport. Exact temperature is very important for many foods while in transfer to market, and larger containers with compromised liners can often not be as efficient as needed.

Door security alarms are important as well because even a slightly opened door can result in heat exposure. The result can be contaminated food that no company or consumer wants to deal with, let alone purchase. Small to medium shipment sizes can sometimes actually be best handled using portable storage containers. The list of food products needing refrigeration is extensive, it and can include:

  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Meats
  • Seafood
  • Dairy and frozen foods

Nutrient Supplements

One product class that many do not realize requires a cool atmosphere for shipment is nutrient supplements that are so popular in today’s economy. Practically everyone is more focused on health than in past decades, and they turn to these health enhancers for staying fit and keeping their bodies in balance. However, consumers rarely consider that these products may be defective or reduced in effectiveness when they are not shipped under controlled temperature conditions.


Shipping pharmaceuticals comes with a unique set of concerns for the shipper. Many products must be kept cool throughout the transporting process, and the list extends well beyond standard drugs that could experience some heat exposure in small amounts and still arrive in good condition.

Certain serious medications or needed medical products that require a controlled environment to maintain effectiveness are a different story. Shipment amounts are not as important as shipment environment in most cases, and refrigeration capacity is more important than the carrying capacity.

Flowers and Plants

Another product line that requires temperature control for extended life of the product is horticultural items like flowers and plants. These products typically ship in significant cargo sizes and need protection throughout the market delivery process. They are also usually shipped in earnest on a seasonal basis, so it is important to plan ahead when shipping inventories will be high. Container quality and performance is just as vital for a container even with flowers and plants because of investment and cargo size when the season rolls around.

Miscellaneous High-Value Items

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When transporting valuable and delicate artwork, you need the right temperature, humidity, and packaging. (Image: adapted from

Heat has a way of damaging practically anything, including drying out materials that could result in a damaged product. Artwork is clearly in this category of shipment items. Not only should paper and canvas products be shipped in a protected environment, but artwork made of any volatile material that could deteriorate in shipment due to heat should be transported in a controlled temperature environment because of sheer assessed value.

It is imperative for all shippers to have a solid working knowledge of their product vulnerability and surroundings response when shipping them from point to point. Even short distances can be problematic, and refrigerated containers can easily be located before the process begins. Being prepared with good information gathered from diligent research is key when shipping products in refrigerated containers.

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