With the vaccine here, getting back to the normal we once lived may not be all that far off. However, to get there means we have to quickly and efficiently distribute the vaccine. As Operation Warp Speed accelerates, the spotlight has intensified on the vaccine's transportation, and more specifically, on the need for reefer transportation. The Moderna vaccine must be kept at -20 Celsius or -4 degrees Fahrenheit during transport. As expected, reefer rejections are dramatically increasing, and once again, a serious disruption in the supply chain is rapidly unfolding. Recently, Freight Waves published an article that helped illustrate the challenges of distributing the vaccine and the capacity crunch with reefer trailers.
"Conventional reefer trailers are able to reach the -20 Celsius temperature required by the Moderna vaccine, implying some degree of competition with typical refrigerated freight. However, the vaccine distribution effort will likely require team drivers and temperature validation technology—i.e., a continuous record of the trailer's temperature—that goes well beyond the offering of most food and beverage haulers." The article also points out that shippers in certain cities and regions across the country will have to "plan for steep transportation costs due to a lack of reefer trailers in the market and drivers understanding that pricing power is heavily weighted in their favor."
Curtis Tate, Director of Food and Beverage Customer Sales at RPM, cautions shippers, "Capacity constraints are common in winter months as seasonality and holiday surge only increase the risk of late trucks and higher rates. The massive efforts to distribute the vaccine will undoubtedly create more pressure. However, RPM has a dense customer freight network allowing us to combat truck shortages and rates through other inbound/dedicated lanes. In more detail, it provides us the ability to follow our trucks resulting in higher service levels while ensuring our drivers always have a reload nearby."
If you're a shipper who supports Food and Beverage or CPG products that need reefer transport, we can help. Named by Transport Topics as a Top 50 Freight Broker, RPM specializes in F&B and CPG logistics, including reefer and dry van solutions. We work with numerous big-box retailers and grocers across the country. Our network of 30,000+ carriers allows us to meet demand and fill capacity. And we can help alleviate the pressure and the costly spot rates looming large in the first half of 2021.