What is a Refrigerator Truck?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 28 September 2019
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Refrigerator trucks are road vehicles that are used to transport goods considered perishable when subjected to higher temperatures. Trucks of this type use several different strategies to maintain a cool temperature in the freight section of the truck, including the use of ice. A refrigerator truck is capable of transporting perishable items over long distances without any deterioration of the cargo taking place prior to reaching the appointed destination.

At one time, a refrigerator truck would make use of ice to keep the storage area cool. Often, the solid blocks of ice would be lined along the interior walls of the space, leaving the main section open for the storage of cold goods. Over time, the refrigeration truck began to make use of onboard cooling systems that operate in a manner similar to that used with home refrigerators. There are also some refrigerator truck designs that make use of carbon dioxide to reduce and maintain the desired temperature in the trailer space.

Refrigerated trucks are often used to transport perishable foods from manufacturer facilities to the retail outlets that will in turn sell the foods to the general public. Often, the food items are processed foods that must be kept frozen in order to maintain freshness. Foods such as raw meats, frozen entrees, and frozen dairy products like ice cream, sherbet, or frozen yogurt are conveyed to supermarkets using a refrigerator truck.


For short distances, the refrigerator truck may be a single unit that is constructed very much like a passenger van. Trucks of this type are capable of transporting smaller amounts of frozen goods from one location to another, such as from a warehouse to a nearby supermarket. One of these smaller refrigeration trucks is ideal when the total delivery is a rather small one and there is no need to employ the larger semi-trailers that are used for transporting larger quantities of goods over longer distances.

In addition to food, a refrigerator truck can also be used to transport other goods that must be kept at a constant temperature. Certain types of drugs require temperatures that cannot be managed in standard transport vehicles. Organs for transplant may also be shipped to a point of destination using refrigerated trucking. In some cases, valuable archaeological artifacts may be transported in trucks of this type, making it possible to control both temperature and humidity. This level of control makes it possible to prevent the recovered artifacts from further deterioration while on their way to a research facility or a museum.


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