Currently, the North American refrigerated transportation market is witnessing increased demand due to the growth in consumer spending on commodities, according to new analysis from Frost &Sullivan.
With consumers demanding better food safety and new regulations food processors are pushing to make sure their products arrive for sale at the right temperature and condition.
The Food and Drug Administration's hazard analysis critical control points (HACCP) system dictates that shippers and consignees of meat, poultry, and seafood must provide details and documents of their food handling and processing.
"As a result, more fleets are purchasing new refrigerated vehicles, which are built with controls and monitoring devices to offer better temperature management," stated Frost &Sullivan research analyst R. Srivatsan.
However the lack of skilled technicians and mechanics to service the refrigerated vehicles is an issue likely to crop from this excess in demand, he stated. A change in the hours of serviceregulation, which already enforces a ten-hour rest period for drivers, has cut into the market's profitability.
All of this comes at a cost, as fuel prices have risen over the past year putting pressure on the cost of transporting frozen and chilled products.
"Furthermore, the consistent hike in fuel prices increases the total cost of the refrigerated vehicle because body builders use raw materials such as steel, aluminum, insulations, andlumber, which are expensive," Srivatsan stated.
Still the market is expected to grow. The expansion of North American trade under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the frequent use of refrigerated trucks by retail and grocerystores all expect to help the market flourish.
Frost & Sullivan forecasts the refrigerated truck industry in North America will reach $6.30 billion in revenues in 2011 from $1.68 billion in 2004.
Other costs affecting the industry include California and the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) emission regulations. The regulations target tractors.
While the regulations do not directly affect the refrigerated trailers, the tractors that pull the trailers are likely to be checked more regularly thereby indirectly affecting therefrigerated vehicles sector.