What do we mean by Refrigerated transport services?

Refrigerated transport services also referred to as reefer freight is a method for shipping food products that require special temperature controlled vehicles. These vehicles have a built-in refrigeration system to transport the consignments to various places. These goods need to be stored at a particular temperature, and that is why these vehicles are needed.
Refrigeration plays a crucial role in the food industry. Refrigeration in the food sector is not only about industries and mass scale. We use refrigeration for food in our daily life as well. Refrigeration processes use about 20% of the electricity generated worldwide. Such is the necessity and importance of refrigeration.
Refrigeration in the food industry is needed to supply good quality and fresh food to different parts of the world.
The steps and techniques involved in the process are:

  • Pre-cooling:

Cooling is necessary to extend the life span of products and also to maintain it. This can be done by slowing down the metabolism process of food products. However, there are particular temperatures for every product and food item. Generally, less temperature is required for all of them.

  • Chilling:

After the pre-cooling process, the food is to be chilled in order to maintain a stable temperature for a long period of time. There are special rooms designated for this process which have proper ventilation and cool temperature. All the products of a single category are stored together in a particular room. This is because if you store mangoes and cheese together in a room, you need to maintain two different temperatures at all times, and this is not possible. Hence, all the mangoes are stored together in a single room, and cheese is stored together in a separate room.

  • Freezing:

This is the second last step, and the products are stored at a temperature just below their freezing point. The more time the products are kept frozen, the longer they survive.

  • Super chilling:

This step involves partially freezing of food at a temperature just below its freezing point.

  • Crystallization of fat:

Control of crystallization of fat and oils is important for food products such as chocolate, butter, etc. There are several steps involved in the process but is necessary to maintain the quality of food.

  • Cryoconcentration:

This is the process of concentrating materials in the solid or liquid parts of a partially frozen mixture.
Refrigerants used:
Selection of refrigerants for refrigeration transport services is a daunting task. There are many factors to be considered during the process. A few years earlier, stress was mainly laid on the thermodynamic properties of the refrigerant, but now ozone depletion potential and global warming potential also point worth considering. The refrigerant selected should have the following properties:

  • It should have low flammability and toxicity, and it should be safe for the employees working in the industry.
  • The ozone depletion potential (ODP) and global warming potential (GWP) value should be as low as possible.
  • Any leakage should be easily detectable.

Earlier refrigerants such as chlorofluorocarbons and HCFs were used, but now R744, R717, etc. are used.