The refrigerated trucking industry is of critical importance to both the trucking industry and the U.S. economy as a whole. The refrigerated trucking industry hauled 520.1 million tons of freight in 2015, which was 5 percent of all truck freight. Refrigerated freight generates $14.3 billion in revenue annually, which is 1.9 percent of all truck revenue ($748.9 billion.)
The demand for refrigerated transportation has increased since 2014, according to ACT Research Co, a commercial vehicle transportation and research company. The growth can be attributed to several factors, including new federal food handling requirements that went into effect in March 2016, as part of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA.)
The primary driver of the demand, according to the ACT Research study, is the consumer demand for fresh food and eating out. Food service businesses and food carriers are scrambling to keep up with the demand. U.S. refrigerated trailers are scrambling to keep the pipeline full and transportation moving.
In 2014, a record 46,500 refrigerated trailers where shipped by U.S. manufacturers, which is the highest to date. Then, in 2016 46,000 reefer trailers were shipped, making it the second highest in refrigerated trailer sales.
ACT is projecting 43,000 refrigerating trailer units will be sold in 2017. Refrigerated trailer sales are expected to remain solid in the near future. In addition to food, the refrigerated transport market includes electronics, pharmaceuticals and ammunition, which are shipped in refrigerated trailers.
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