Temperature Controlled Freight
Temperature Controlled Freight is one of the more unique types of freight carried. Not only are the carriers potentially responsible for case count, case/load condition and making sure that the load is delivered on time, they must also ensure that the load is delivered at the correct temperature.Today, I would like to look at a few things carriers and shippers can do to ensure proper handling of temperature controlled freight.
Not all temperature controlled freight is the same. A carrier must be aware if they are carrying fresh meat, deli, dairy, produce, frozen or ice cream product.Each type of freight requires specific temperature requirements.If these temperature requirements are not maintained, the carrier stands a chance that the product will be refused and result in a very costly claim.
There are many things a carrier must do first before accepting a temperature controlled load. Every refrigerated carrier should have a check list for a pre-load inspection done on the trailer.Areas that should be inspected include: the air chute (intact and correctly fastened), doors (properly sealed), bulkhead (properly fitting), all drain pipes (clean and working), and pre-cooled.Once a carrier knows that his refrigerated trailer is in good working condition and clean the driver is ready to inspect the load.
Upon arrival at the shipping warehouse, the carrier must always remember to NOT open the doors until the shipper is ready to start loading the trailer.If a carrier sits with the doors open to the outside conditions, the time spent pre-cooling the trailer will have been a waste.Refrigerated trailers work by circulating the air within the trailer and when the doors are open, the outside air is pulled into the circulation pattern.Drivers must also remember that if they open their doors, back into the dock door and sit for a long period of time without being loaded, the dock temperature will cause the pre-cooled trailer to rise in temperature.Another thing to remember, if the trailer already has product loaded, that product will be exposed to higher temperature if the doors are open for a long period of time.This could cause a temperature refusal for product that was (at one time) at the correct temperature.
Once the carrier is backed into the door at the shipping warehouse, inspect the product before it is loaded on the trailer. It is the carrier’s responsibility to make sure that the product loaded on his trailer is at the correct temperature.It is always best to have the shipper and the driver take temperatures together so there are no questions on who took the “correct” temperature.If a driver accepts a load without taking the loading temperature, it could result in a claim against the driver.There have been incidents where a driver will deliver a hot load, feel that it was loaded hot, didn’t take loading temperatures, the shippers says it was shipped at the correct temperature and the driver is held responsible for a very large claim because it was signed for without exception for a load that could have really been “hot” when loaded.This seems very unfair for the driver, but it is an example of how important it is to inspect everything that is loaded on your trailer.The only exception to this is a Shipper Load and Count facility.If the load is SL&C, the driver needs to have the BOL clearly marked as such by the shipper.
During transit of a refrigerated load, the carrier is responsible for periodically checking his unit to make sure that it is running correctly and maintaining the correct temperature. If it is noticed that something is “not right”, the driver needs to notify the proper personnel for his load immediately.The sooner a problem is recognized and resolution achieved, the less of a chance there is for a claim.
The final area of carrying temperature controlled freight is the delivery. Upon arrival at the consignee, the carrier must not break the seal and open the trailer doors until it is time to unload the trailer.The carrier must also make sure that temperatures are taken during the trailer unload and not after the entire trailer has been unloaded and the product has sat on a dock for an hour (or more).Protecting the integrity of the product until the very end is an important responsibility of the driver.
Some refrigerated loads will have a temperature recording device. These devices are known as tattle tales, temp tales or temp recorders.These devices monitor and record the ambient (air) temperature of the trailer.Many temperature controlled loads have these to show that the product was maintained at the correct temperature during transit.If the ambient temperature goes above the programmed acceptable temperature, an alarm will record a notification that will be printed once the load is delivered.Many consignees will refuse a load based on these recording devices.
Temperature controlled freight is very unique in the way it is handled and transported. It takes many steps to make sure that it is delivered without issue.If carriers remember to inspect their trailer, inspect their load, inspect the unit during transit and inspect the load at delivery they will ensure that the product they are delivering is received without any temperature concerns.