Refrigerated trailers are pivotal in keeping the food and beverages and pharmaceutical industry on track and within the regulatory framework. The refrigerated trailers industry has always been capital intensive but has become more so after the enforcement of regulations to reduce the global warming potential (GWP) of refrigerated vehicles. Even so, the increasing need for refrigerated transportation from the biopharmaceutical and F&B industry has fostered a great degree of design and technological innovation in the refrigerated trailer market.
Yet, the growth of the refrigerated trailer market will not be noticeably impressive. Market analysts at Persistence Market Research (PMR) expect that the global refrigerated trailer market will report a modest CAGR of 4.4% between 2014 and 2021. At this rate, the market is poised to grow from its 2014 valuation of US$5434.9 million to US$7171.4 million by 2021.
Although the scenario in the refrigerated trailer market is not exceptionally upbeat, it hasn’t deterred companies from channeling investments into innovation and smarter technology – especially in the developing markets.
#1 Ecologically-conscious Refrigerated Trailers
That refrigerated trailers are energy intensive is a known fact. Maintaining the integrity of perishable foods and heat-sensitive drugs requires trucks and trailers to be fitted with precisely controlled refrigeration systems, which in turn consume gallons of fuel. However, the industry has now woken up to new ways of balancing its energy-intensive operations.
U.S.-based refrigerated transportation provider Penske Logistics, for example, is conducting test runs to assess if compressed natural gas (CNG) to fuel certain vehicles could reduce their carbon footprint. Other players in the refrigerated trailer market are considering the use of EVs for drayage, if not long hauls.
But fuel efficiency isn’t the most important challenge for companies – switching over to a stable yet eco-friendly refrigerant poses a bigger problem. To this end, warehouses are now using ammonia instead of freon but trailers cannot do the same because of the volatile properties of the former.
#2 Design-related Changes are All about Innovation and Cost Reduction
With nearly every major refrigerated trailer company vying to find ways to bring costs down, ingenuity in design is being seen as a key enabling factor. For example, refrigerated trailers that cater to the retail sector—where orders are more frequent and comprise smaller batches of different products—are now incorporating multi-cell trailers. The cells within the trailer are fitted with insulated curtains to help maintain varying temperature zones within a single trailer.
This trend has enabled players in the refrigerated trailers market to transport both chilled and frozen goods as part of a single shipment. However, there hasn’t been too much enthusiasm around the multi-cell method because it is regarded as being process-intensive.
#3 Technology Helps Refrigerated Trailer Market Achieve New Frontiers
Smart refrigerated trailers that are now increasingly plying on the roads are fitted with remote controls, temperature and humidity sensors, and sophisticated monitoring tools. Companies transporting goods their products through refrigerated trailers can now download applications on their cell phones to monitor the exact conditions in which their goods are being transported. From the back-end technological infrastructure to interface devices, the refrigerated trailer market is scaling new highs with every passing year.
It is expected that over the next few years, the refrigerated trailer market will create even greater demand for on-board equipment such as GPS systems, real-time temperature and humidity sensors.