Cool Solutions: How Smarter Refrigerated Shipping Benefits the Planet



Shutterstock Licensed Photo - 1577035894 | by Locomotive74

The logistics and maritime industries have a huge impact on the planet. In fact, ISO.org reports that they account for a third of the total global carbon footprint. We can’t afford to overlook the importance of finding more environmentally friendly ways to reduce these problems.

Midland Papers has an article detailing the importance of using the right logistics strategy and some of the benefits they have observed by utilizing more efficient, eco-friendly logistics strategies. They report that Domtar’s products are transported millions of miles around the world every day. To reduce environmental effects, they have utilized some of the latest smart shipping practices. In 2021, 240,000 pulp and paper shipments were transported over the road. They covered a distance of 126 million miles. Their products were also transported by train, with 1,120,000 tons packed on over 16,000 rail cars in North America. Over the last 10 years, their smart shipping methods have led to a reduction of 650,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions through strategic planning for efficient transportation and limited environmental impact.

Other companies should use smart shipping if they want to develop more eco-friendly business models. Keep reading to learn the importance of smart shipping.

Smart Shipping is Great for Helping the Planet

We have some great guidelines on making the shipping process eco-friendlier. However, one tip we haven’t shared as much in the past is the benefit of using smart refrigerated shipping.

Refrigerated goods shipping is critical to the global economy in providing fresh produce, meat, and dairy products. Looking at ways to make refrigerated shipping a more eco-friendly solution is essential in creating a more sustainable method of transportation. Fortunately, many companies are now implementing new equipment and innovative technology to lessen the environmental impact of frozen goods shipping.

Learning about these technological advances and understanding the unique challenges of refrigerated shipping is key to knowing how these changes can positively impact the environment. Some of these changes are small, while others will have a much bigger impact on the transportation industry. Either way, any positive changes can improve efficiency and make refrigerated goods shipping more eco-friendly.

The Environmental Impact of Refrigerated Goods Shipping

Most people have no idea how much energy refrigerated shipping entails. According to TechTarget, 40% of energy (and carbon emissions) from temperature controlled vehicles are caused by refrigeration. Therefore, they are not good for the planet at all.

Shipping frozen goods across the country greatly impacts the environment due to the vast number of daily shipments. These reefer trucks require a lot of energy, often using fossil fuels to maintain temperature control throughout the trip. However, the reliance on fossil fuels in refrigerated shipping is one of the causes of greenhouse gas emissions, contributing to climate change.

In addition to greenhouse gas emissions, shipping refrigerated goods can often generate significant waste. Leftover packaging materials and food waste can quickly fill landfills, so looking at more eco-friendly ways to address this problem is important. Focusing on eliminating or greatly reducing waste and looking at more clean energy solutions is key to decreasing the negative impact of frozen goods shipping.

Innovations in Sustainable Refrigerated Goods Shipping

Despite these challenges, many innovative technologies and practices can make refrigerated goods shipping much more sustainable. For example, electric or hybrid trucks can significantly reduce emissions and energy consumption in reefer trucks. Cold storage facilities powered by renewable energy can also play a vital role in reducing the industry’s carbon footprint.

Another important strategy is to reduce waste by improving packaging and handling practices. Some companies are now using smart sensors to monitor the quality and condition of their goods, which can help reduce spoilage and waste. Smart technology will only continue to become even more accessible, making it easier for large and small companies to take advantage of this state-of-the-art tech.

The Benefits of Sustainable Refrigerated Goods Shipping

Investing in sustainable refrigerated goods shipping offers a wide range of environmental benefits. Looking at ways to decrease emissions and waste can help limit the impact of climate change and other environmental issues. Focusing on eco-friendly solutions also helps improve air quality and lessen the waste produced by reefer trucks.

An additional benefit of finding a refrigerated transport solution for moving partial truckload freight is that it can also increase efficiency and result in significant cost savings. Improving handling practices and reducing waste saves companies money on transportation and storage costs. These eco-friendly practices can even improve their products’ quality and safety, making it a win-win situation for everyone.

The Challenges of Implementing Sustainable Refrigerated Goods Shipping

Despite the numerous benefits of sustainable refrigerated goods shipping, there are also significant challenges to implementing these practices. One of the biggest issues is the cost of transitioning to new eco-friendly solutions. Investing in new technology can be especially expensive for many companies, which is even more challenging for smaller businesses.

Infrastructure challenges can also be a major roadblock for sustainable refrigerated goods shipping. For example, charging stations for electric trucks aren’t readily available in all parts of the country. Meeting the compliance guidelines with emissions standards for partial truckload freight is also important in avoiding fines. Keeping up to date with waste disposal regulations is also a necessity. Ultimately, all of these challenges for shippers and carriers can be overcome, but it’s a long-term process that doesn’t happen overnight.

Case Studies for Green-Focused Reefer Shipping

Several shipping companies worldwide continue to implement sustainable refrigerated goods shipping practices for now and in the future. For example, the Danish shipping company Maersk has committed to net-zero emissions by 2040 for on-land shipments by investing in lower-emission transportation and developing green alternatives.

Meanwhile, Carrier Transicold is a leading manufacturer of refrigerated shipping containers that’s developed a new technology called NaturalLINE, which uses carbon dioxide as a refrigerant. Unlike traditional refrigerants, which are potent greenhouse gases, CO2 is a natural and non-toxic gas that does not contribute to climate change.

Sainsbury is another company specializing in refrigerated transport that developed a new fleet of trucks using liquid nitrogen to power their engines. The new system is called a “Dearman Engine,” as it helps to dramatically lower greenhouse gas emissions by replacing traditional diesel engines to transport food products.

Examining the Future of Reefer Shipping

The future of refrigerated shipping for partial truckload freight continues to look bright with even more developments. Advances in green technology will make batteries more efficient, and other renewable energy sources will continue to be more widespread for maintaining temperature control. Changes in regulations and consumer behavior can also drive greater adoption of sustainable practices for frozen goods shipping.

Governments may also introduce incentives or new regulations to encourage shipping companies to adopt more sustainable practices for managing temperature control in reefer trucks and other transportation methods. Over time, these changes can make a positive impact in turning the refrigerated goods shipping industry into a much more sustainable practice that remains beneficial to the environment.

Refrigerated goods shipping is essential to modern supply chains but has significant environmental impacts. Adopting smarter and more sustainable practices can help reduce emissions, waste, and other ecological problems. While there are challenges to implementing sustainable practices, there are also many innovative solutions and successful case studies from many businesses.

Looking to the future, it is clear that sustainable refrigerated goods shipping will continue to be an important topic for the industry as more companies seek to balance environmental concerns with the need for efficient and reliable transportation. Choosing products that are transported in more environmentally-friendly ways can also help drive demand for sustainable practices and support companies that are taking steps to reduce their environmental impact.

Additionally, we can advocate for policies and regulations that promote eco-friendly practices and hold companies accountable for their environmental impact. Ultimately, frozen goods shipping and partial truckload freight is a complex issue but one that offers significant opportunities for innovation, efficiency, and environmental protection. Working together to promote and implement sustainable practices can create a more sustainable and resilient supply chain that benefits both businesses and the environment.


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