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Refrigerated Less-Than-Truckload (LTL) shipping is a specialized transportation service to maintain specific temperature conditions for perishable goods. Unlike traditional LTL shipping, refrigerated LTL utilizes temperature-controlled trailers with refrigeration units. These units ensure that products such as food, pharmaceuticals, and agricultural goods remain at the optimal temperature range from pickup to delivery, preserving their quality, safety, and integrity. In this blog, we’ll explain what refrigerated LTL is and the major industries driving demand.

Refrigerated LTL vs. Dry Van LTL

While both Refrigerated LTL and Dry Van LTL share the purpose of transporting goods from one location to another, they differ significantly in their capabilities and applications.

  • Temperature Control: The primary distinction lies in their ability to regulate temperature. Refrigerated LTL maintains specific temperature ranges, typically between -20°F to 70°F (-29°C to 21°C), ensuring the preservation of perishable items. Dry Van LTL provides no temperature control, making it suitable for non-perishable goods that do not require specific climate conditions.
  • Product Suitability: Refrigerated LTL is ideal for transporting perishable items such as fresh produce, dairy products, meat, seafood, pharmaceuticals, and other temperature-sensitive goods. Dry Van LTL is more suited to items that can withstand ambient temperatures, including packaged goods, electronics, furniture, and clothing.
  • Cost: Refrigerated LTL typically commands higher shipping costs due to the specialized equipment and technology involved. However, the added expense is justified by the ability to preserve the quality and safety of perishable goods, reducing the risk of spoilage or damage.
  • Market Demand: The growing demand for perishable foods, pharmaceuticals, and agricultural products has fueled the expansion of the refrigerated LTL market. As industries seek reliable temperature-controlled transportation solutions, the demand for refrigerated LTL continues to rise. In contrast, dry van LTL remains a staple for general freight transportation, catering to many industries and product types.

The Food & Beverage Industry

Refrigerated LTL finds its stronghold in the food and beverage sector, dominating the reefer truck market. In an industry where logistics costs account for 7-10% of the total product cost, efficient and reliable temperature-controlled transportation is non-negotiable. With the rising demand for chilled and frozen foods due to the proliferation of quick-service restaurants and retail locations, the need for robust refrigerated logistics solutions has never been greater.

The Pharmaceutical Industry

Beyond just food, the pharmaceutical industry is another major benefactor of refrigerated LTL services. The United States leads the charge in drug development, with about 95% of new drugs entering the market originating from its laboratories. This reliance on pharmaceutical innovation necessitates stringent temperature-controlled logistics for medications and chemicals. Moreover, the recent global health crisis has amplified this need, with pharmaceutical companies increasingly relying on refrigerated shipping options to preserve and transport potential treatments for viral infections like COVID-19.

The Agricultural Industry

The agricultural sector forms yet another cornerstone of the refrigerated trucking industry. With the growth in agricultural products and increasing trade, there’s been a surge in reliance on refrigerated transportation. From fresh produce to dairy products, maintaining optimal temperatures during transit is essential to preserving the quality and safety of these perishable goods.

Refrigerated LTL Logistics | Synchrogistics  

Are you looking to streamline your refrigerated LTL logistics with a trusted partner? Synchrogistics offers tailored temperature-controlled solutions to ensure the integrity of your perishable goods. One of our services is LTL consolidations, where we efficiently combine multiple less-than-truckload shipments from different customers into one truckload. LTL consolidation not only maximizes the use of space but also reduces costs for all parties involved. By leveraging our expertise in LTL consolidations, we help you streamline your logistics operations, minimize transit times, and ultimately enhance the overall efficiency of your supply chain. Contact us today to learn more about how Synchrogistics can synchronize your logistics for success.

 


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Companies with substantial LTL freight budgets are looking for ways to lower expenses and boost service efficiency. One strategy gaining traction is the consolidation of Less-Than-Truckload (LTL) shipments into multi-stop truckloads, which provides cost savings and a variety of operational improvements.

  • Cost Savings: On average, Synchro clients have seen a reduction of 5% to 15% in their LTL spend.
  • Indirect Savings: The consolidation process leads to fewer labor hours spent on handling pallets for LTL shipments, translating into significant labor cost savings.
  • On-Time Tracking Improvement: Tracking a single truckload is simpler and more efficient than monitoring multiple LTL shipments, leading to better on-time delivery rates.
  • Yard Efficiency: With fewer trucks entering and exiting the yard, businesses can experience a smoother flow of goods and reduced congestion.
  • Claims Improvement: By minimizing the handling of freight and avoiding LTL cross-docks, the risk of damage during transit is significantly reduced, leading to fewer claims.
  • Environmental Savings: Consolidation results in fewer trucks on the road, which in turn reduces carbon emissions and contributes to sustainability efforts.
  • Savings in Refrigerated Freight: For businesses dealing with refrigerated goods, LTL consolidation can lead to savings of over 20%, making it a highly cost-effective option.
  • Leverage with LTL Vendors: demonstrating that you can remove freight from higher-cost vendors leads to discussions with the vendor about lower costs and a better partnership.

By embracing LTL consolidation, businesses can not only enjoy substantial cost savings but also contribute to a more sustainable and efficient supply chain. Synchrogistics has the experience and team to implement an optimization program for you. Reach out to us for a free optimization assessment.


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By converting multiple less-than-truckload (LTL) shipments into a single, cost-effective truckload, LTL consolidation significantly reduces shipping costs per pound. This method enhances cost savings, decreases claims, and simplifies shipment tracking compared to managing individual LTL shipments. Despite its benefits, many companies overlook LTL optimization due to perceived complexity, technological constraints, previous failures, internal opposition, or unawareness of its potential.

Synchro has been a leader in LTL consolidation for over a decade, skillfully managing both refrigerated and dry freight for clients from varied locations and technological backgrounds. Our unique combination of experience and technology provides an unparalleled advantage. To explore how LTL consolidation can benefit your company, consider Synchro’s offer for a free consolidation assessment.

Learn how our specialized approach can streamline your shipping processes and unlock substantial savings.


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Three bullet points about LTL pricing and long-term capacity. As shown in the chart below, fuel prices and Yellow’s exit have produced an increase in LTL pricing. However, how long it lasts is another question…

1.  Yellow Freight’s Impact: The demise of Yellow Freight in August took 10% of industry capacity offline, which provided a backstop against the price erosion seen over the last 12 months. However, the distribution of its market share has not been uniform. Carriers with more pricing and footprint overlap have benefited more, with Saia and XPO being notable gainers among public companies.

2. Pricing and Capacity: The worries about overcapacity have been somewhat allayed by Yellow’s exit. Carriers are trying to hold the line on GRIs and are more aggressively going after rate increases on less profitable customers. However, the tea leaves are not looking positive for LTL volumes to increase meaningfully in the near-term – ISM new orders are still in contraction territory (though it’s improving from earlier this year). We see a balanced pricing environment in the LTL space in the coming months.

3. Terminal Capacity: Longer term, terminal capacity in the industry remains constrained due to significant inflation in real estate prices. Carriers have been cautious in expanding, and the sale of Yellow’s real estate portfolio is expected to take time and require renovation. Net fixed capacity in the industry is believed to be declining. As e-commerce increases and (hopefully) the economy improves, terminal capacity could become a bottleneck leading to higher LTL rates in 2024 / 2025.

Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics Data