Preventing Rejection of Refrigerated Loads – Part II

Preventing Rejection of Refrigerated Loads – Part II

By Jennifer Brearley Transportation Broker, ALC Richmond

In Tuesday’s article, we discussed some of the most important things to consider when selecting a carrier for sensitive, refrigerated loads. In addition to carrier vetting, it is also crucial to ensure that hot product is not being loaded into the trailer and equipment failure or human error are avoided. Below are some tips that could help you steer clear of these issues leading to rejected loads and claims.
Prevent hot loads before they get on the truck.

  1. Refer trailers are not designed to set product temperature. They are designed to maintain it.
  2. Freshly picked loads that sit on the dock in extreme heat waiting to be loaded may be out of temperature tolerance at loading. According to the article, The Keys to Preventing Rejected Loads in Refrigerated Transportation, “as much as 32% of all cargo is loaded at the wrong temperature. Poor loading practices like these can result in loads spoiling in transit if the temperature is incorrect. No matter how chilled the reefer is, the temperature is going to rise – this causes condensation, which results in spoilage.”
  3. Ensure the driver understands proper pulping practices. Prior to loading, and during unloading drivers should pulp and record temperatures of at least every other pallet of the product loaded on to their trailer.
  4. Drivers should be instructed not to accept the warm products at the shipper. Once they sign for it, they are responsible for it.
  5. Document all communication with the driver and the shipper regarding temperature discrepancies prior to loading.
  6. In transit pulping when possible is preferred as well. Newer refrigerated trailers have advanced temperature monitoring that will notify the driver and dispatch if something is wrong which is helpful in today’s world where most loads are sealed.

Avoid equipment failure and human error.

  1. Proper routine maintenance is a must. Loading an unknown carrier with a sensitive product is a huge risk. The vast majority of loads hauled pick up and deliver without incident. A temperature claim resulting from poorly maintained equipment will result in unrecoverable costs and damaged relationships. Ask drivers you are unfamiliar with about their maintenance routines. You will be able to tell pretty quickly how diligent they are about it. There are up to 200 possible alarm codes in newer reefer units. That can be 200 potential problems. Add to that a damaged chute, leaking trailer, or damaged seal and the risk of loss multiplies.
  2. Incorrect unit settings can happen for a number of reasons. Human errors can result in a ruined load. -20°F instead of 20°F are vastly different and such errors result in a disaster for the cargo inside the trailer. Regular communication from pick up through delivery is crucial. It is easy to assume that the temperature today is the same as it was yesterday. This is a dangerous assumption.

Educate yourself on the products your customer ships, the methods the shipper utilizes for loading trucks, and the general function of refrigerated trailers. This is the most important part of the vetting process. In order to effectively communicate with the carrier, you have to know what you are talking about.
Rejected loads are undoubtedly something we want to avoid. While these vetting processes may not prevent every rejected load, they can certainly help to lower if not eliminate the avoidable ones. (Part I was published on July 28th.)


Jennifer Brearley began working for the Allen Lund Company in February of 2019 as a transportation broker. She joined the company with five years of domestic and international shipping experience. Brearley attended Western Governors University and received a BA in Interdisciplinary Studies.