Finding a Used Reefer Trailer for Purchase

UPDATED: 06-11-2020

The United States is home to an enormous manufacturing sector and many farms, but finished goods and foodstuffs need to be transported somehow. While ocean liners can transport many tons of goods to the world’s ports and cargo jets can make high-speed deliveries, many shippers turn to a trusted trucking company for help. Many thousands of small truck companies can be found across the United States, and each one has a small but hardworking fleet of cool semi trailers for the job. Such vehicles and their trailers are quite affordable for small business owners, unlike cargo jets or freight trains, and this includes carrier reefers, too. But what is a reefer trailer, and when might a trucking company owner look for a small reefer trailer for sale to add to their fleet? Even gently used refrigeration units can be quite helpful, and financing them may prove relatively easy for many wholesale buyers.

All About Reefer Trailers

The global market for refrigerated reefer trailers is a large one, and that may not be surprising, given how these trailers are essential for transporting cold items, such as frozen foods and dairy, to grocery stores. But what is a refrigerated trailer? A reefer trailer that qualifies as a refrigerated trailer is a truck trailer with air conditioner units built into it, and such a trailer can chill its interior to a temperature ranging from -20 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit, according to the cargo’s needs. How long is a reefer trailer? Reefer trailers may range from 28 to 53 feet in length, and some of the largest ones may be up to 13.5 feet tall and weigh as much as 44,000 pounds. Semi trailer refrigeration units also feature insulation in their walls, to help maintain a low internal temperature (especially during summer).

Another question you might have is how long reefer fuel lasts. Well how long does reefer fuel last? In most cases, it depends on the reefer semi trailer itself. Age is a big factor when it comes to fuel consumption, as well. For a used reefer trailer, you’re probably looking at about two days. If you just purchased a brand new small reefer trailer for sale, though, your fuel will likely last a bit longer. On average you can count on at least three or four days with a brand new reefer trailer.

In the United States alone, some 500,000 of these trailer reefer units are in operation from coast to coast, and more and more of them are being ordered every year. In January 2018, for example, nearly 40,000 of these reefer trailers were ordered. And the global market is quite large, being worth around $5 billion in the mid 2010s. Estimates say that from the year 2016 to 2022, the worldwide reefer trailer market may grow at a CAGR of 4.8%, and reach a value of $7.65 billion by the year 2022. Most often, these vehicles are transporting frozen foods, meats, and dairy to grocery store clients, and goods can be unloaded and stored in freezers and refrigerated rooms at the store’s docks. Dry goods, such as pasta or canned food, will probably arrive in regular semi trucks instead.

How to Find Used Reefer Trailers for Sale

When the time comes for a trucking company to buy a reefer trailer, it’s important to consider what specific needs have to be met. Will a small reefer trailer for sale be most convenient? Are there enough wholesale customers to require a larger reefer trailer? These are the questions that every trucking company needs answered before purchasing a new or used reefer trailer. Many carrier company owners may do this so they can add grocery stores to their list of clients, which has the potential to greatly expand their business. Looking at used reefer trailers for sale might be more cost effective upfront, but looking at a brand new small reefer trailer for sale could be a better long-term investment. A new reefer truck trailer will cost more, to be sure, but it will be in excellent condition, come with factory warranties, and have modern hardware standards in its construction.

Still, a gently used reefer trailer may be quite attractive too, especially for a small trucking company that might have a tough time financing a new model. How much is a reefer trailer? It ultimately depends on the size and age of the trailer you’re looking to buy. The buyer can look over these used reefer units in person and check them for any hardware issues, ranging from the wheels and brakes to the air conditioner units and the wall insulation. The buyer might even test-run the reefer to make sure it can generate and maintain the desired temperatures inside. It’s also important to brush up on truck terms to know if the person buying the reefer trailer isn’t the same person who will be driving it.

What about financing? Rather than big banks, a smaller trucking company can turn to specialized truck lender companies, which have more generous terms. These lenders will look over the borrower’s personal and business credit scores alike, and check their financial history for red flags, such as previous bankruptcies. A borrower with good credit may get as much as 100% of the trailer’s value in a loan, and even lenders with mediocre or bad credit may get a loan approved, though with less favorable terms. Either way, the trailer and truck are used as collateral, to make this a secure loan and therefore more attractive to the lender.

Reefer trailers and refrigerated reefer trailers are an essential part of the trucking company industry. And now that you have more knowledge about them, you should be able to make an informed purchase, no matter what kind of new or used reefer trailer you require for your business.

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