The Business of Reefer Trucks


The freight transport industry is a big one in the United States and around world, since all kinds of raw materials, manufactured goods, and foodstuffs need to be transported safely to all kinds of clients. Larger carrier firms can deliver goods quickly by jet, while naval ships and trains can deliver many tons of cargo at once. Many exports and imports are delivered by ship to the world’s ports. But most carrier firms are small and can’t afford such vehicles, so they use trucks instead, and trucks are a vital part of any transportation network. These affordable vehicles can drive on practically any road and don’t need rails, ports, or landing strips to make a delivery. For carrying different kinds of goods, trucks can use a variety of trailer types, and that includes reefer units. But what is a reefer trailer, and on the business side of things, how can a carrier company owner choose a used reefer that’s a good deal? Wholesale reefer units can be a great investment, but a buyer should choose carefully.

All About Reefer Trailers

A reefer unit is simply a refrigeration unit, a truck trailer with air conditioning units built in so it can chill the air inside to whatever temperature is necessary. Such trailers also have insulation in their walls, so they can better maintain their temperatures. These units can chill their interior anywhere from -20 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit, depending on the needs of the cargo, such as meats or dairy products for grocery stores (such truck trailers are often used to deliver perishable food items). These trailers also vary widely in size, with the smallest being 28 feet long and the largest being an impressive 53 feet long and up to 13.5 feet tall in some cases. The largest of these reefers may carry up to 44,000 pounds of cargo inside.

There is a robust market for reefer trailer units, and that market is likely to keep growing in the near future. Around 500,000 such trailer are operating in the United States alone, and more and more of them are being ordered every day (40,000 were ordered just in January 2018 in the U.S.). Meanwhile, the global refrigeration market was valued at $5 billion in 2016, but experts say that it may grow at a CAGR of 4.8% to the year 2022, and reach an impressive $7.65 billion in value. That is a lot of reefer trucks, and any carrier company owner can choose a used reefer or two to add to their fleet and take part in this trend. But to choose a used reefer unit, a buyer should know the advantages and disadvantages of used vs new units, and make sure that their credit score is solid.

Finding Refrigeration Units For Sale

These are wholesale goods, and only companies like truck carrier firms are going to buy a reefer trailer. When the time comes to choose a used reefer, or a new one, the buyer can look online to find some references, and locate some trailers that are within their price range. It is a good idea to look over those units in person before making a purchase, though, especially in the case of used reefer trailers. Even a gently used reefer trailer may have some outstanding repair needs and problems that should be diagnosed first, anything from faulty wiring in the air conditioning units to issues with the wheels and axles or problems with the brake lights. A used reefer trailer may be somewhat worn out and need repairs, but if the damage is minimal, a used reefer may be a fine bargain at a fair price (the exact numbers will vary). A new reefer will likely cost much more, but it will be in perfect condition and come with factory warranties.

Big banks are unlikely to help with financing; instead, the buyer can turn to specialized truck loan firms, which have more flexible and forgiving terms than big banks. Such lenders will still look into the lender’s credit and business scores, though, and check their financial history for red flags. Even borrowers with iffy or low credit scores may get approved for a loan, though with generally less favorable terms than if they had a high credit score.

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