Fresh produce is very delicate and needs certain steps to ensure it is correctly stored during transportation. If not, the products could spoil before reaching their destination, costing you time and money.
One of the biggest enemies of fresh products is temperature fluctuations, so be sure it is as constant as possible throughout the trip. Similar to transporting dangerous goods that have requirements for transportation of hazard material, there are also specific steps you need to take when shipping fruits and vegetables.
Tips on Keeping Fresh Produce Safe When Shipping
1. Pack in Insulated, Well-Sealed Containers
A sealed container will protect the produce from harmful outside elements such as sunlight, moisture, and odors. It will help if you read the expected high and low temperatures on your shipment.
When packing fruits and vegetables for transport, always use an insulated container to keep them at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or less throughout transit. This is helpful if you are traveling one day or more.
2. Use Reusable Dry Ice
Dry ice can be used in shipping perishables like fruits and vegetables because it lowers the internal temperature while keeping oxygen out, preserving freshness longer. It also helps with fruit bruising since the package isn’t coming into contact with anything hard during shipment, relieving pressure buildup commonly found when using gel packs or other items.
3. Be Aware of the Expiration Dates
Some fruits and vegetables should never be shipped because they will spoil before their expected arrival date. For instance, bananas and tomatoes usually expire within a week, while cherries and apricots turn brown when exposed to air for too long. So, it is best to avoid shipping these kinds of products altogether.
4. Ship Using Reefer Transportation
Reefer trucks can better regulate temperature fluctuations throughout transport with their built-in heating or cooling units typically located in the front or rear of the trailer, depending on which direction they are traveling. The reefers usually run on diesel fuel, but some use liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), creating a more eco-friendly option.
Trucking companies also have suitable vehicles, depending on many factors of your shipment, like the destination. For instance, they can use flatbed logistics if the destination of your cargo doesn’t have dock-level unloading.
5. Use Vending Temperature Control Units
If you are shipping produce on a smaller scale, you can use vending temperature control units to hold the produce at the right temperature until it is ready for delivery. This small machine plugs into any standard wall outlet and holds up to 300 pounds of product. Its independent refrigeration unit helps keep the products from deteriorating throughout transit.
Choosing the Right Carrier Company
When shipping perishables such as fruits and vegetables, you need to ensure that the transportation company has reefer trucks or other specialized vehicles that can keep your products safe throughout the trip. You can contact companies directly or go online using a search engine to find what you need.
- When calling, ask about an estimate on delivery time and cost and any additional fees they might charge. A good carrier should provide you with an accurate estimate and the type of equipment needed to deliver your fruits and vegetables safely.
- You should mention how long the products have been stored at their origin location. Also, inquire about storage conditions to make sure it is refrigerated throughout this time.
- Be upfront with each company you speak to regarding your shipment specifications, so they know what to expect when they arrive to pick it up from your facility.
- Be aware that certain companies may not ship on specific days, so ask about available dates and choose one that won’t create additional stress for your business.
- Also, keep the customer in mind when choosing a delivery date, whether or not they need their products quickly, and make sure they can receive them as promised.
Remember, reefer trucks aren’t cheap by any means, but it is usually less expensive than building specialized storage units for transportation purposes at your facility. That’s why it’s essential to get quotes before shipping. For instance, if you need full truck load quotes, their website usually has this option or call them directly.