Cut Your Transportation Costs with the “Van or Reefer” Option

Question: When does it make sense to send a non-refrigerated shipment in a refrigerated (reefer) truck?

Answer: When you can ship product with a proven carrier using quality equipment on your schedule at a reduced cost. Reefer trucks often return empty and would rather get paid for a non-refrigerated return shipment (at a discount) than to suffer an unpaid return.

VR Option: Good for You & Carriers

One of the many ways LiVe Logistics reduces your freight total cost of ownership (TCO), is by taking advantage of empty reefer backhaul capacity when it’s available.

Normally, dry vans (box/semi-trailers) transport non-refrigerated or “dry” shipments. However, if an empty reefer is available for a non-refrigerated shipment and the product aligns, they may offer a more competitive rate than a dry van if the alternative is to return empty – and unpaid. They just turn off the refrigerated unit, load up the reefer with dry shipments and truck it to the destination.

In this way, we help fill empty miles for the reefer carrier and you pay less than you would for a dry van shipment by expanding delivery options. Carriers typically book loads assuming there is no paid backhaul so, if the “van or reefer” (VR) option is available, it can make a big difference. Though a shipment simply being classified as a VR load does not always result in a reefer load, it’s one more reason so many reefer carriers want to work with LiVe Logistics.

No Extra Cost, Only Lower TCO

Not only is there no extra cost to sign up for this option, but you only stand to win; when a reefer backhaul is available for a rate lower than a dry van, you save money. Prior to classifying any shipment as VR, LiVe reviews the options with you because not all shipments are good candidates for this mode.  Approximately 30% of all LiVe Logistics shipments are VR.

VR Caveats

For a VR shipment to work, three things are needed:

  • The total weight of the shipment is within weight limits – reefer trucks are heavier than dry vans and you can’t “weight-out”
  • There is less space in reefer trucks, so your shipment has to fit
  • Your shipment on an empty reefer backhaul should cost less than or about the same as a dry van

 
The VR option doesn’t typically work for shipments of electronics or other items where changes in atmospheric conditions can negatively impact product quality.

Take Advantage of the VR Option

The VR option is yet another value-add example of how LiVe Logistics lowers your overall supply chain cost. VR pricing is based on dry van rates and is a mode that offers our team the flexibility to deliver the best solution for you by using a reefer trailer on dry van lanes, when applicable. Understanding the delta between VR and dry van while capitalizing on market options helps our team reduce your TCO and provide the lowest overall supply chain cost.

To get started, contact your LiVe Logistics freight expert today. We’ll discuss your lanes, how well the VR option may work for you, and other ways to drive down your freight TCO.

Contact us to learn more about van or reefer transportation options