Skip to content

What to Know About Reefer Trailers

Many American factories and farms are producing vast amounts of today’s foodstuffs and finished goods, but these items need to be delivered, too. This is where trucking companies come in, and today, semi trucks can deliver nearly anything across endless roads to and from factories, warehouses, and retailers. The same is true up north in Canada, and there is in fact an entire organized league of Canadian truckers. Meanwhile, along the expansive U.S.-Canada land border, it is mainly trucks that are delivering exported and imported goods for trade.

A typical carrier company will offer a fleet of hardworking trucks to make deliveries for shipper clients, and some truck trailers are general-purpose ones for most goods. But some cargo is sensitive or even hazardous, and cold items need to be delivered in reefer units. What is a reefer trailer, and how can a carrier company manager buy a reefer trailer to use? A new reefer trailer can be a great investment, or a used reefer unit, too. When looking for used reefer units for sale, a buyer may want to look it over first, and possibly take out some loans, too.

The business of Refrigeration Units

Wholesale reefer units often sell well, since they are part of a large industry that is continuing to grow every year. It is vital that cold foods items are delivered safely, and only reefer units can do that. Today in the United States, some 500,000 reefer trailers are in use, and more and more of them are being ordered every single year. Worldwide, the refrigeration market is huge and still growing, and as of 2015, it was worth $5 billion or so. Experts believe that by the year 2022, that market may reach a value of $7.65 billion, and this market may grow at a CAGR of 4.8% from 2016 to 2022 or so.

What is there to know about a typical reefer unit? Such a trailer may vary in size from 28 to 53 feet long, and some of the tallest may be 13.5 feet tall. The largest units may weigh in at 44,000 pounds, and they may have truly impressive storage space inside. To keep cool, these trailers will have air conditioner units built in them that will blow and circulate cold air in the trailer’s interior. The trailer may also have insulated walls to maintain that temperature, and the inside may be -20 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit, as needed.

A reefer truck may arrive at a warehouse, and staff there may unload cold food goods from an on-site cooler unit and then transfer it all onto the truck. And once that truck arrives at a grocery store’s dock, the dock crews there will unload all those cold goods and put them into on-site freezers and fridges. Frozen processed foods, meats, dairy, and more may be transported like this, while canned or dry foods such as pasta may arrive in regular trucks instead.

The Business of Trucks

What does all this mean for a carrier company manager? A small but growing truck company may have limited clients at first, but the manager may decide to buy some reefer units and thus start making deliveries to grocery stores and the like. This means looking online to browse the new and used reefer trailer market, and possibly buying some trucks to match. This may be quite an expense, and the carrier company may take out a loan to finance that new reefer truck.

Conventional banks don’t often make loans to truck companies due to risks, but specialized truck lending firms may be more flexible. A borrower may take out a loan on a new reefer truck, and a higher personal and business credit score will only make this easier. With good credit scores, the borrower may get as much as 100% of the truck’s value in the loan, and at a high interest rate. The lender may also look into the borrower’s financial history and look for any red flags, such as failing to make payments on past loans or declaring bankruptcy. The loan may also be impacted by the truck’s age and model, and how far the buyer intends to drive it on a typical journey during its work.