Ensuring that the products arrive in the same good condition as when they left, all over the world.Improvements in packaging and in the door-to-door on-time delivery are making intermodal food industry storage and shipping practical, and the growth of reefer services are opening international markets to an increasing range of products.
Frozen foods, and produce with long shelf lives (like potatoes, onions and citrus), are natural candidates for intermodal and international shipping, but confections, dairy, wines and bottled water can benefit from intermodal transportation’s lower line haul costs and lower fuel surcharges, and larger international markets. Success isn’t simply a matter of signing a contract and shipping the product, however. Instead, success also depends upon ensuring that the products arrive in the same good condition as when they left. That requires monitoring temperatures at the pallet level.
One of the biggest mistakes food shippers make is using refrigerated van or reefer to bring products to temperature during transportation, rather than pre-chilling the items. Packaging experts warn that items in the center of a room temperature carton or pallet placed in a refrigerated container may take up to four days to chill to the proper temperature, shortening shelf life and allowing pathogen to proliferate.
The other major mistake is assuming the specified temperature is maintained throughout the shipment. Transportation studies typically show temperature spikes during loading, as products sit on the dock or tarmac. Afterward, even pre-chilled foods may take a day and a half to return to proper temperatures.