Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Autonomous Truck: Bliss or Curse for the Future of Container Transport Industry

Autonomous Truck Debate
Image by Pixabay

With the advanced technology going into driverless cars, logistics and transportation were always going to follow soon after. In 2015 Daimler Trucks North America has launched their brand new line of Freightliner trucks intended for road use. The difference is that these trucks are autonomous vehicles intended to allow drivers and semi-truck transportation companies enhanced efficiency.

It isn’t only Daimler who has forayed into the autonomous vehicle market, as Mercedes-Benz has also launched an autonomous truck capable of taking over the main task of getting from A to B and handing the driver the free time to control the more technical side of logistics. But are these Freightliner Trucks the first sign that the robot overlords are taking our roads from us? In this article we will be discussing some key points regarding that.

Routing Delivery Schedules for Refrigerated Goods

There are huge benefits to be gained from the use of autonomous vehicles in logistics and container transport systems around the world, and even for daily tasks such as a refrigerated transport service that relies on deadlines and schedules.

Traditional refrigerated trucks rely on good time keeping and efficient delivery routes, so having an autonomous system to calculate the best routes based on vehicle speed, direction and refrigerated goods perishable rates is a fantastic addition to any logistics company.

Increased Safety Standards

Safety is one of the main points of creation when it comes to container transport and good transportation, so it comes as little wonder that the autonomous vehicles designed to operate with minimal or no human control gets us around the issue of human error.

In tests it has been shown that human error has caused the majority known accidents with autonomous vehicles, so taking away the biggest risk and having vehicles that are kept to even more stringent safety standards is surely the autonomous vehicle’s greatest safety feature.

More Efficient Use of Labour

Truck drivers are expected to keep to a legal framework of safe working hours with plenty of breaks in-between, so choosing an autonomous transport service will reduce the hours being driven by each driver, and allow them to keep track off their schedule and carry out any housekeeping duties such as stock checking, delivery updates and contacting clients whilst on the road.

The Freightliner Inspiration truck has been marketed as a truck that, with autonomous driving will be able to be a bonus to a driver’s tasks and allow them to keep track of their schedule without having to stop the vehicle.

Human Error and Safety Concerns

One of the major concerns that many clients such as refrigerated transport companies may have is about the safety aspect of autonomous vehicles. As has been said, many tests have shown that in each case of the extremely low levels of accidents involving autonomous vehicles of all sorts, the fault of the accident has been found in human error.

In the case of the Daimler Freightliner Inspiration, the autonomous driving by the truck itself can be stopped at any time and the controls handed over to a human driver at any moment. The main autonomy of the vehicle is to take over control on long stretches of road where concentration in a driver may be diverted for a second.

In these cases, the vehicle will be able to maintain its position in the lane and in relative distance from other road vehicles, maintain its speed and direction in line with the specific road’s speed limit.

Robots are Taking Our Jobs!

Much is talked about automated and robotic tasks having a negative effect on the workforce in terms of taking away peoples jobs. In some instances of manual labour and manufacturing processes this may be the case, but when it comes to drivers, there will always be the need for a human to accompany the vehicle.

Whether this is for signing off on tasks, keeping the vehicle maintained and serviced for its automated controls and ensuring that safety of the autonomous vehicle is maintained at all times. A human driver will always be required to check the tires, fill up the fuel and hit the cut-off switch to avoid other vehicles colliding with the truck itself.

A New Era for Refrigerated Transport Services

In terms of efficiency, reliability and dependability you can see why so many refrigerated transport services are looking to autonomous vehicles to shape their fleet of the future. Storage container transport services rely on time-keeping and updating of deliveries and pick-ups, so having an automated system which can keep you on track independent of the types of roads you are travelling on will open a new era in reliable deliveries.

Future Refrigerated Truck
123RF Images

Shipping container transport will also see a huge boost in productivity due to the often lengthy distance between ports and their destinations. In the future, we may well see fully autonomous container ships, logistics vehicles and container transport become fully automated and even your next refrigerated truck may well be an autonomous vehicle, ready to add efficiency to your business that you may never though would be possible.

At OFE Refrigerated Transport, we’re constantly searching for new technology in transport industry – not just because we’re in the business for a long time, because new ideas helps us to serve our clients efficiently. And we will continue to do so and share our insights with you all. Stay in touch to our blog and together, let’s make a useful sharing network.

Thursday, 26 November 2015

5 Things You Didn’t Know About Refrigerated Transport

Refrigerated transport isn’t exactly a subject that people get excited about. Until now, that is! Although container transport is more recognised among people, the transport of frozen goods has been around for centuries and has quite an interesting history. Here are couple of things we’re sure you don’t know about refrigerated transport.

1. Zoo Animals Can Be in the Cargo

It’s not just food and supplies that we truck drivers haul around! How do you think penguins get from point A to point B? Refrigerated trucks are set up especially for the transport of zoo animals like penguins so that they can travel safely between their homes and when they need a change of scenery. On top of that, people would rarely know that an animal ins in transit or was being transported on the motorway next to them, saving all the furor.

Penguin in Snow
Photo by Snowmanradio / CC BY 2.0

2. Refrigerated Vehicles Date Back to 1939

Humans have preserved food for centuries. Ancient civilisations such as the Romans and Greeks stored snow in caves and buried food in it to keep it for longer. In the 1800’s, frozen ice blocks were carried around in the back of wagons and sold. It wasn’t until the 20th century that an American named Frederick McKinley Jones came up with a mechanical cooling system that could be adapted to fit on tractor trailers. 

Frozen Food Transport
Source: Pixabay

3. 90 Percent of Foods in Australia Has Been in a Refrigerated Truck at Some Point

That’s right - refrigerated transport services could be said to be one of the most crucial and important developments of its time, so hats off to Mr. Jones. It’s the reason we can enjoy fresh food every day. In Australia, the impact of refrigerated truck is massive as a mind-wobbling 90 percent of foods are transported by dint of this particular transportation means.

Refrigerated Food
Source: Pixabay

4. Painting and Art Often Needs to be Transported in a Refrigerated Environment

Low temperature and humidity are crucial for the wellbeing of fine art, particularly old pieces. Artists who wish to transport art pieces need to think about this storage and handling issue as failing to do so can impose incurable significant damages on the piece of art. Well, If you’re an aspiring art-theft (just kidding), it’s also something you should keep in mind! 

Food Art
Photo by DcoetzeeBot via Wikimedia Commons

5. The First Mr. Whippy Truck Started In Australia In 1962

Without a doubt the most popular and beloved refrigerated vehicle in history, the Mr. Whippy- manufacturer company and distributor of ice cream and frozen yogurt in Australia and New Zealand - is still going strong in Australia today and its melodic tune is recognisable to both young and old.

Mr. Whippy Van
Photo by Davis Staedtler via Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

The Rich History of Logistics and Container Transport

Transportation & Logistics
Image Source: fmgroup.com.au

Getting from A to B in the shortest time possible has been a concern for postal workers, taxi drivers, explorers and even those planned the Apollo missions. But still the question remains with today’s highly interconnected world. Logistics companies worldwide offer the ability to send and receive goods of all sorts in record time thanks to shipping, air freight and local transportation services. But ever thought how did it all began?

Back in the day, the idea of moving goods from one place to another was a necessary task considering there were no means of communication over long distances. Messengers walked or in the case ran (those messenger of Marathon) to deliver their message on time as a service to others.

Ancient Messenger
Image Source: pinterest.com

The transportation of goods via camel and horseback dates back many, many thousands of years in the middle east, Asia and the European sub-continent and allowed the transportation of messages, goods, and riches along known routes, such as the Silk Road linking Asia with Europe.

Early Logistics Security

With the introduction of carts and coaches, the delivery of goods such as money and gold became a huge target for bandits who knew the regular routes that stagecoaches would take in the Wild West, holding up the drivers to steal their contents. Armed guards were introduced to combat the problems, and by the time motorised transportation flourished, some of the earliest logistics companies took root.

Image Source: droghedamuseum.blogspot.com.au

International transport of goods has a long history on the seas, with some of the first explorers to discover the new world, and as these companies grew they saw money to be made in international shipping of goods and services.

High Tech, Innovative Transportation

In modern age, international logistics is a high tech industry incorporating vans, trucks, planes, helicopters, container ships, the internet, scanning and logging, and now we are starting to see the introduction of drones being able to deliver goods in record time.

Drone Transportation
Image Source: urbandrones.com

International shipping is still the heart of operations for many companies, as large container ships can carry many hundreds of thousands of tons of goods in a single journey, making them hard to beat when it comes to lifting power. Modern implementation of containers allows frozen and refrigerated goods to be transported over large distances thanks to the introduction of refrigerated shipping containers.

Storage Container Transport

These shipping containers can then be handed off to road transportation via truck or van which also allows refrigerated loads, giving people all over the world access to fresh food and perishables no matter where they are.

Tracking shipments
Image Source: targetclick.com

Modern transportation is both sophisticated and timely thanks to some of these innovations in the sector. Now it is possible to track your shipments from anywhere in the world, keeping you on top of important logistical movements on land, sea and air. Storage container transport remains the biggest industry in logistics, but that may change with micro logistics, drone deliveries and pick-up centres locally to ensure that logistics industry stays strong in an ever growing market.

Thursday, 10 September 2015

How Refrigerated Food Delivery Is a Growing Sector

Refrigerated Food Delivery

In recent years we have seen a number of online food retailers and supermarkets introduce food delivery at an unprecedented level. Gone are the days of having to go to the supermarket or a butcher's shop to find out that they do not have the foods you need in stock, and no longer do you have to make the perilous journey home with food that needs to be refrigerated.

online shopping

It is easier than ever thanks to these refrigerated food delivery services to get the food you need to your door with a matter of a few clicks online. You benefit greatly from having fresh food delivered to your door, as good as the day it was produced, as well as having the option to get frozen food delivered for storage at home.

Regular Fresh Food Delivery

Food Delivery

If you are a small business that sells food items or is a catering company that needs regular delivery of fresh produce, then choosing a food delivery service that can offer refrigerated vehicles is the best way to go. You can ensure that your produce leaves the farm, butcher or fish market and arrives at your door chilled or frozen at the perfect temperature every time.

Some produce does not need to be refrigerated, such as canned or tinned goods, some drinks, and other packaged food, but the majority of food that businesses and individuals need are best used at their freshest. Depending on the industry the food comes from, there are certain food products that can benefit from being chilled or stored cool or frozen at the point of production.

Farming Produce

Farming Produce

Fresh produce such as lettuce, capsicum, grapes, berries and citrus fruits need refrigeration because of the way the vegetables break down in the open air. If left at room temperature, many of these fruits and vegetables will break down and go bad, leaving you with an unhealthy crop of produce that has lost its flavour and will eventually lose its colour and texture.

On the other hand, potatoes and onions should not be refrigerated, as the lower temperatures will bring out the starch in potatoes and give off a sweet and gritty texture, and advance the mildew on the exterior skin of these foods.

Refrigerating Meat Produce

Refrigerating Meat Produce

We all know that if you keep meat out at room temperature, it goes bad, but knowing when and how to refrigerate and freeze meat products is an important part of any well-maintained kitchen. Fresh meat should always be consumed within 3 to 5 days, whilst ground meat should be consumed in less than 2.

Ready to eat meats and fresh meats should always be stored at 4c or lower. This is to prevent the growth of bacteria such as listeria that causes foodborne illness when consumed. The longer the food is stored in the refrigerator, the larger the chance that the bacteria could grow, which is why freezing meat produce is the only way to store meat for longer terms.

Ensure Frozen Foods Are Cooked Thoroughly

Cooked Thoroughly

Keeping tabs on which type of meat to keep refrigerated or frozen can depend on the method by which it will be cooked. Some meats are great for being able to be cooked from frozen, whilst other meats need proper defrosting.

This difference usually depends on the size and weight of the meat as it’s important to ensure that the meat is thoroughly cooked throughout before being served.

Temperature Controlled Refrigeration

Temperature Controlled Refrigeration

Frozen food delivery service companies and frozen food transport specialists will always check the type of produce in which they are transporting and use effective and precise climate control systems on board their trucks and trailers to keep fresh and frozen food at their perfect temperatures.

The refrigerated food delivery vans and trucks are all fitted with temperature control system to prevent outside temperatures influencing the contents within and ensure your produce, whether red peppers or fresh turkey, is as fresh as it can be from the day it was produced.

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Safe Food Storage Tips for Fresh and Frozen Food

 Food Storage Tips

In recent times, many people have come to realise that storing all types of food safely and securely helps to minimise the risk of food contamination and prevent food going off. From the consumer to industry, keeping food stored correctly is also important when it comes to keeping food waste at a minimum.

Experts who provide refrigerated transport services know the importance of keeping food at the correct temperature, as they maintain a low temperature whilst on the move much like a mobile refrigerator. Keeping food at its best temperature at home is important too, as we all know the problem that comes from the bacteria we find around us in everyday situations.

Some of the best food storage tips are simple ideas that allow you to keep your food safe from contamination. Keeping your food separated by the kind of food is a great way to minimise that risk of contamination, and can also help you organise your food so it is easy to find for your favourite recipe.

Compartmentalise Your Produce

Compartmentalise Your Produce

You may see inside your fridge that there are special compartments for different sorts of food. You may see this written on the different trays, shelves or compartments, or even pictograms of types of food. This is done for a good reason and not just to give you organisation tips. Organising your food this way will help minimise contamination for a number of different reasons.

You should always keep your fresh meats such as poultry, pork and beef near the bottom of the fridge. This helps minimise contamination as sometimes a bag of defrosted chicken legs will drip onto other food you may be storing in the fridge.

To stop this from happening further, simply place all of your meat products in a container such as a plastic box or simply in a large dish to stop liquids from dripping into other foods and other compartments of your fridge.

Long Term Food Storage in the Freezer

dedicated freezer

When it comes to long-term food storage and frozen food storage, you will want to buy a dedicated freezer. Doing so will allow you to safely store larger quantities of frozen meats and other foods without cross contamination. If you buy your meats already frozen, then it is safe to keep them frozen. Likewise, if you buy fresh meat and produce, it is also safe to freeze them for use later on.

If you have purchased frozen meat of any kind and you defrost it, but choose not to cook it, it will have a shorter shelf-life than fresh or frozen produce. You should not re-freeze meat this situation as it can cause problems later on with contamination and the meat going bad quickly.

Check the Use-By Date on All of Your Food

check expiration date

You should always check the freezing lifetime of your meats carefully, and use them within this specific time period. Some meats suffer from what is known as freezer burn if left in the freezer for too long and will actually destroy the molecular structure of the meat, rendering it not as tasty as fresh produce.

freezer burn

Home food storage should be a breeze if you arrange your food depending on its type and when it should be consumed by. This way you will have a steady stream of ideas for meals, as well as having a range of fresh and frozen food that can be cooked quickly and be used when it is still at its very best.

Store meats away from other fresh produce that you do not cook, such as cheese, mushrooms and salad consumables and you will be well on your way to having a clean, nice-smelling fridge, as good as a professional refrigerated transport services vehicle in your very own home.