Shipping in winter can put your freight at risk of freezing temperatures that could damage it beyond repair. Allowing a shipment to freeze can completely ruin it, and you might even incur cleanup costs as well.
Don’t let your freight freeze. You need to know what conditions your freight can expect to encounter en route, so you can protect your shipments. Anticipate the problems that might come up during shipping, and be ready to handle them. Take steps to keep your shipments warm in transit – insulation and temperature-controlled shipping can keep your freight at a safe temperature, no matter how cold it gets outside.
Know What Conditions to Expect on Your Route
Weather conditions can vary substantially from one region to the next, so you need to familiarize yourself with the weather conditions your freight will encounter as it travels to its destination. The temperature in a location can vary substantially depending on the time of day and the climate. Weather conditions can be more severe in the mountains, for example, than on the plains, and may require your drivers to use alternative routes in the winter. Some routes may have weight limits during the spring and fall, when temperature fluctuations are most likely to damage the road surface.
When you know what conditions to expect on your route, you’ll know how to prepare your freight and what steps to take to anticipate issues. You can plan your route to keep shipments away from the coldest temperatures and the worst weather conditions. You can prepare your trucks to handle snowy and icy conditions. No matter what you’re shipping, it’ll have a better chance of arriving at your destination in good condition if you know what it’s going to go through en route.
Be Ready for Problems to Arise
Issues are going to come up with shipping freight regardless of whether it’s winter or summer, but shipping in the winter tends to come with unique challenges. Some carriers won’t even take temperature-sensitive freight in the winter, because protecting freight from freezing can be such a hassle.
You need to anticipate the problems that could crop up to affect your freight shipments in the winter. Weather conditions could lengthen delivery times and increase your drivers’ risk of accidents, for example. Trucks are more prone to mechanical issues in the cold, and even something as simple as a frozen tailgate could delay your shipments.
Be prepared for issues that can arise during winter shipping. Add some buffer time into your shipping schedule so that you have time for delays due to weather or mechanical failures. Use freeze indicators and GPS trackers to monitor the location and temperature of your shipments – a notification that your shipment is at risk of freezing could help you save it in the nick of time. Work with your carriers to ensure that your loads are protected from freezing and that contingency plans are in place to help overcome obstacles that may arise in winter shipping.
Keep Your Shipments Warm
Of course, when you’re shipping in the winter you have to take extra steps to ensure that your freight stays within a safe temperature range throughout shipping. If you’re going to be sending freight through an extremely cold part of the country, you might want to add insulation to the inside of the trailer or shipping container. You can install mineral wool, spray foam insulation, or batt insulation on the inside of a trailer or shipping container.
That doesn’t mean you don’t need to insulate your freight contents inside their boxes or crates. Use styrofoam panels or thermal liners inside your shipping boxes to keep the contents warm. If necessary, use heat packs inside your crates and boxes to keep your contents warm. Some carriers offer heated trucks for shipping freight, but refrigerated trucks can work just as well, especially for items that need to stay cool to remain fresh, like perishable food. It may be cold, but a refrigerated truck is still temperature-controlled. You can wrap your shipping pallets in insulated blankets or pallet covers for an added layer of insulation against the cold.
Shipping freight in the winter comes with challenges unique to the season. You need to make sure your shipments are properly insulated and kept warm throughout the supply chain. Allowing your cargo to freeze could damage it beyond repair, and that’s not what you need when you’re trying to run a business. Protect your winter shipments from the cold, and continue to deliver the service your customers expect.