Keeping Cool: Latest Summer Freight Shipping Tricks in 2024!

ice cream cones melting representing summer freight shipping concept
Picture of Francine Goulet
Francine Goulet

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Editor’s note: This post was initially published in June 2023 and  has since been revised for comprehensiveness

The summer months present a unique challenge for businesses that transport temperature-sensitive goods. Extreme temperature fluctuations can lead to spoilage, jeopardizing the viability of your cargo. Fortunately, refrigerated transportation offers a reliable solution for summer freight shipping.

Summer is a busy time for shipping companies. More people want things shipped, so there’s more work to do. To keep your business running smoothly in the summer, you need to figure out how to deal with these extra challenges and also take advantage of the extra business. By taking proactive measures, you can ensure the continued profitability of your business throughout the summer months. 

And how to do that? Well, that will all be explained in this blog. So without any more delays let’s jump into it.

Why Is Summer Freight Shipping So Busy?

Although consumption of food and beverages remains constant throughout the year, summer brings a surge in demand within this sector, likely due to the prevalence of summer parties and the popularity of the grilling season.

This results in a significant increase in the volume of shipped products, particularly those associated with outdoor eating and entertaining. These include beverages like beer, wine, and soda, alongside meats, chips, buns, sauces, and any other items one might associate with a backyard gathering.

There is some overlap between the peak season for produce and the broader peak for food and beverages. However, as the produce season winds down, the demand for food and beverages often picks up the slack, fully utilizing available shipping capacity. This period continues until after the Fourth of July celebrations. A brief lull follows before the traditional peak freight season truly begins later in the summer.

Effects Summer Has On Shipping

The summer months present a unique landscape for food and beverage transportation. Here’s a breakdown of key factors to consider:

  • Increased Food & Beverage Volume

Compared to the first quarter, freight volumes from leading food and beverage shippers typically experience a 25% rise in the second quarter. While this growth offers opportunities for carriers, it can also strain capacity for shippers. Even with overall freight demand surpassing the previous year, seasonal surges persist, particularly in refrigerated truckload demand.

  • Regional Variations:

Similar to the produce season, freight surges don’t occur uniformly across the nation. The timing and location of these surges can vary significantly (refer to a separate graphic for details). Regardless of location, these surges have a nationwide ripple effect. Carriers, seeking to maximize profits, migrate to regions experiencing high demand, leading to capacity disruptions elsewhere.

  • Spot Rate Instability

Carrier migration in response to opportunity leads to fluctuations in spot rates. For example, a surge in beverage demand in southern Texas might cause rates on inbound lanes to Laredo to drop as carriers reposition their fleets. Conversely, outbound rates from Laredo would likely rise until the shipping surge subsides.

The current inflationary market further tightens carrier capacity, potentially resulting in significant spot rate increases. Considering the past year’s volatility in the truckload market, coupled with the nation’s reopening, there remains significant uncertainty. Shippers face questions regarding customer needs, carrier capacity, and material acquisition from vendors.

However, the past year has also highlighted the importance of flexibility in supply chains. By partnering with shipping providers who can adapt to your needs like accommodating summer surges, special projects, or rerouted networks. You can also navigate these challenges and capitalize on the opportunities that summer presents.

Industries Benefiting From Summer Freight Shipping

Many industries manufacture products that are sensitive to temperature changes. To ensure these products reach consumers in good condition, they require refrigeration during transportation

Here are some industries that benefit from refrigerated shipping:

  • Food and Beverage

Fresh produce, dairy products, seafood, and other temperature-sensitive items rely heavily on refrigerated shipping. This method allows the food and beverage industry to maintain optimal conditions “from farm to table,” guaranteeing high-quality products for consumers around the world.

  • Pharmaceuticals and Healthcare  

For the safe transportation of medications, vaccines, and medical equipment, refrigerated shipping is crucial. These delicate products can quickly lose their effectiveness if exposed to the wrong temperatures. Refrigerated transport ensures they arrive in a useable state.

  • Floral and Horticulture  

The floral and horticulture industries depend on refrigerated shipping to keep their products fresh and vibrant. This method mainly controls temperature and humidity levels, extending the shelf life of delicate flowers, plants, and foliage. This, in turn, leads to greater customer satisfaction.

Seven Ways to Summer Freight Shipping With No Issue

The summer months bring a unique set of challenges and opportunities for food and beverage shippers. Here are some key strategies to consider:

  • Plan Ahead for Seasonal Products

If your business sells summer goods, early planning is essential. Use market research or past sales data to forecast demand. This ensures you receive parts or finished products on time, so they’re available when customers want them. While summer isn’t peak shipping season, expect higher freight costs, limited capacity, and potential delays during the busy third quarter.

  • Mastering Spot Market Rates:

Even if most of your shipments utilize contracted rates, some are likely to enter the spot market during summer.  Especially in the current economic climate, understanding best practices for spot quotes can ensure you receive the most reliable and cost-effective rates for your shipments.

  • Optimizing Your Shipping Network:

Before the surge hits, it’s crucial to review your routing guide. Given the current market dynamics, regularly check with your shipping providers to assess their capacity. Can they handle an increase in your shipments? Do you have reliable backup options if a carrier falls through?

If your network routes require re-bidding, ensure a strategic approach to the RFP (Request For Proposal) process. If a carrier consistently rejects tenders or fails to meet your KPIs, can you depend on them during peak season as the market recovers?

Finding the right balance between cost and service is key. Consider this a good time to implement or enhance a continuous improvement program for your shipping network.

  • The Power of Lead Time:

Planning is crucial whenever possible. The more notice you can give your carriers, the lower the risk of disruptions within your supply chain.

  • Prioritizing Shipments:

Competition for capacity can be intense in certain regions during specific times. To ensure your most critical shipments arrive on time, identify those with flexibility and prioritize them accordingly.

  • Choose the Right Packaging

Work with your logistics provider to select the best packaging for your products. In summer, prioritize packaging that minimizes internal air space and has a secure seal. This allows your chosen coolant (dry ice, ice pellets, or frozen gel packs) to work more effectively. Additionally, the packaging insulation must be sufficient to survive the summer heat.

  • Explore Refrigerated Containers (Reefers)

Sometimes, speed and planning aren’t enough. Refrigerated containers, also known as reefers, offer temperature control from -65°C to 40°C, making them ideal for transporting fresh and perishable goods. As summer temperatures rise, reefers are a solution worth considering for sensitive shipments.


By following these strategies and remaining attentive to seasonal trends, you can navigate the summer freight shipping landscape with confidence. Proactive planning, strategic partnerships, and a focus on cost-effectiveness will equip your business to handle the increased demand and potential disruptions of the summer months.  

Embrace the opportunities that summer presents and ensure your products reach their destinations on time and in optimal condition.


What Is Peak Shipping Season?

The busy season for shipping, also called peak season, can be a bit rough. Prices go way up and down quickly, shipments sometimes get delayed or bumped to a later time, trucks might be slow, and there can be other problems. This peak season usually happens in the second half of the year, from around August to October.

How Long Does Freight Shipping Usually Take?

Shipping times can vary depending on a few things. The biggest factors are how far your stuff needs to travel, how it’s getting there and the route it takes. Even the season can affect how long it takes! Here’s a quick rundown: super fast express shipping can get there in just 1-3 days, air freight typically takes 5-10 days, and sea shipping, which is the slowest, can range from 20-45 days or even longer.

What Do You Mean By Freight Shipping?

Freight shipping efficiently transports goods by land (trucks), sea (ships), or air (planes). It encompasses various methods, like truckload and less-than-truckload (sharing a truck with others). Essentially, all cargo transported using these methods is considered freight.

Picture of Francine Goulet

Francine Goulet

Francine Goulet is the Founder and CEO of, one of the largest intermodal service providers in Canada, serving the North American market...

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