Guides / An Introduction to Reefer Monitoring / Loss of temperature

Loss of temperature

While reefers and dry vans face similar issues, it’s especially critical to address them in a timely manner when hauling perishable goods. 

Common challenges

Poor loading practices is a leading culprit when it comes to spoiled cargo. Experts estimate that 32% of refrigerated cargo is loaded improperly at the wrong temperature. These are called “hot-loads” and can ultimately lead to increased costs and loss of driver time. 

Although it’s important to conduct maintenance checks regularly, having technology to allow for visibility and remote management can be the key to getting ahead of any major reefer issues. 

Remember, loss of temperature doesn’t only impact the goods on a load. It also impacts a fleet’s standing with their insurance provider. Because the nature of the cargo is typically perishable and time- and temperature-sensitive, reefer drivers face unique challenges when it comes to insurance coverage. For example, reefer truck insurance follows strict FDA regulations as well as exclusions of a number of different commodities. Filing a claim on a refrigerated unit can be financially draining and ultimately, futile. 


So how can a driver avoid filing a cargo claim? There are several ways to ensure that perishable goods don’t spoil while in transit. 

Remote management technology 

Having the ability to remotely manage reefers can help ensure cargo doesn’t spoil while on the road. Motive’s integration with Thermo King, for example, allows fleet managers to monitor and remotely control their reefer units while having visibility into current and historical temperature logs. With Fleet View, one can easily view their reefer’s telematics data, which includes discharge air, set point, return air, coil temps, and more. The Thermo King integration also provides the ability to remotely control the reefer; which means fleet managers can remotely turn the reefer and zones on and off, start the reefer pre-trip, clear alarms, and more. 

Finally, with the Thermo King integration, fleet managers are given automatic, real-time alerts or notifications when a reefer temperature goes out of a certain range. 


Motive’s Environmental Sensor is designed specifically for refrigerated freight transport, and can be placed in strategic locations for more advanced monitoring. It contains an internal temperature and humidity sensor that captures measurement with an accuracy within precision +-.5° C, and transfers this data to the Asset Gateway with a Bluetooth connection. The Environmental Sensor can store up to 2 million measurements while waiting to reconnect. 

Proper geofencing also provides necessary visibility over refrigerated fleets. After establishing the location of the geofence, fleet managers can be alerted when a reefer arrives and departs, to ensure timely handling of refrigerated cargo. 

Drop and hook

Also known as “no-touch freight,” drop and hook is the process of hooking your tractor to an already loaded trailer immediately upon dropping off a full trailer. The driver never has to worry about loading and unloading. While this ensures vehicles are paired correctly, this can also save precious time when moving  refrigerated freight.