University of California

Ask the Produce Docs (General)

Can you give me information about reefer trailer pallet loading?

Category
  • Refrigeration
  • Transportation
Question

I would like to get recommendations on loading pallets of produce in a 53' reefer trailer for transporting produce across the country to maintain freshness and quality.  I’m interested in getting proper air flow, and knowing if covering the top of pallets with plastic is a good practice?  Do you have any other recommendations?    Also, have you studied load placement such as loading pallets sideways, blocked, straight, etc. (G.W.)

Answer

I recommend loading produce away from the interior walls of the trailer.  This can be done by centerline loading the pallets and using special air bags to stabilize the load (Centerline Loading Technologies).  Another option is to place self adhesive offset strips on the side of pallets near the wall and side-shift the pallets against the strips.  This is sometimes called stagger loading.  Covering the tops of pallets is not usually recommended, but it is sometimes used if part of the load needs to be held at warmer temperatures than the set point temperature of the van.  It is better to only transport product with the same temperature requirement so there is not need to protect a portion of the load from low air temperature.

Jim Thompson

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