If you thought that keeping your ice cream frozen in the mad dash from the supermarket home, especially in the height, of summer is a challenge, think about the logistics that go into making sure that commercial ice cream shops have a variety of frozen ice creams perfectly chilled for their customers.
Ice cream is particularly sensitive to temperature changes, and every step in the journey from making to eating has to be carefully controlled to ensure the ice cream retains its texture. The key to this is to make sure that the ice cream is kept at a constant temperature. This is the same for other goods requiring low temperatures.
Refrigerated transport companies have as their core business the efficient and effective transport of chilled and frozen goods, usually from manufacturer to outlet. The company will operate a fleet of refrigerated vehicles, which may include vans, trucks and semis with trailers. Each vehicle is temperature controlled because the company must be able to ensure that the products they transport will retain their integrity and be delivered to the other end intact and at the correct temperature. A large part of this is proving that the goods are being kept at the required temperature every kilometre that is travelled. Most vehicles offer temperature tracking in real time. Sensors in the refrigerated sections of the vehicles send signals to a receiver indicating a constant reading of the temperature. If a few different vehicles are involved, the signals are sent to one central source, so that the whole fleet can be monitored simultaneously.
Not all goods transported by a refrigerated transport company need to be kept at the same temperature. There are, in fact, two types of refrigerated vehicles that are used to transport either perishable or frozen consumables. Trucks that transport perishable foodstuffs that need to be kept chilled, not kept frozen, such as fruit, will usually be insulated to ensure a cool temperature. They are also well ventilated. The temperature in these vehicles will be above freezing. These are different from refrigerated vehicles and trailers that are specifically designed to transport goods that require very low temperatures, such as frozen vegetables and ice cream. The temperature in these vehicles may be from -18°C to -29°C.
Whether it's the ice cream you will take home for a children's party, or the fruit you will put into your fruit basket, transport is an essential link in the chain between producers and consumers – even more so, perhaps, when the goods themselves nee d to be kept chilled or frozen.