August 25, 2017 1:30 PM, EDT

Demand for Fresh Food Drives Refrigerated Trailer Sales

Refrigerated transportation is booming. Several factors are driving this growth, including federal food-handling standards.

But the main driver is the demand for fresh food and eating away from home, said Frank Maly Jr., director of commercial vehicle transportation analysis and research at ACT Research Co. “Carriers and the food service businesses have to keep the pipeline full and moving.”

U.S. manufacturers shipped about 46,500 refrigerated trailers in 2015, making that the largest sales year in history for the units, Maly said. Trailer makers followed that by shipping an additional 46,000 reefer trailers in 2016 for the second-best year in history.

ACT is projecting that trailer makers would ship 43,000 units this year. Refrigerated trailers “have been on one heck of a run, and we anticipate that they’ll stay pretty solid,” Maly said.

Food has the largest share of the refrigerated transport market, but pharmaceuticals, electronics and even ammunition are shipped on refrigerated trailers, he noted.

— Jim Galligan