The Evolution of Refrigerated Transportation: Highlighting the Transition from Traditional Reefer Trucks to Innovative Solutions Like ChillKart

The Evolution of Refrigerated Transportation: Highlighting the Transition from Traditional Reefer Trucks to Innovative Solutions Like ChillKart


November 20, 2023


Cold chain is a rapidly growing sector—critical industries such as fruits and vegetables, meat, poultry, fish, pharmaceuticals, dairy products, confectionery, and others depend on it. The cold chain also integrates logistics including temperature-sensitive transportation. With a strong link between cold storage and refrigerated transportation, it is time to go beyond traditional reefer trucks for more affordable and environment-friendly innovative solutions. 

Here, we will discuss more about the need to transition from reefer trucks to solutions like ChillKart and why you should act on it now. 

Refrigerated Transportation

Refrigerated transportation is a proven method of transporting or shipping freight that requires temperature-controlled vehicles equipped with a built-in refrigeration system. This helps keep the products at the desired temperature and humidity throughout the transit. 

According to a report by IMARC Group, the India refrigerated trucks market size was valued at INR 5.4 billion in 2022. It is expected to reach a value of INR 14.7 billion by 2028, with a CAGR of 18.1% between 2023 and 2028. 

Refrigerated Transportation: Why Is It Important  

Refrigerated transportation plays a crucial role in supply chains, primarily in ensuring the safety and quality of perishable and temperature-sensitive goods in transit. Here are a few key benefits of using refrigerated transportation. 

Preservation of Perishable Goods

Refrigerated transportation ensures the freshness of perishable items like fruits, vegetables, and dairy products. It also prevents spoilage during transit by maintaining optimal temperatures so that customers receive the products in the best possible condition. 

Safe Transport of Pharmaceutical/Biological Products 

Pharmaceutical products including medicines, drugs, vaccines, biological samples, etc. require strict temperature control to maintain their safety and efficacy. Refrigerated transportation effectively supports the distribution of these items across the globe. 

Expanding Footprint of Commerce and Business 

Refrigerated transportation enables businesses to expand their reach and, hence, trade. Moreover, transportation across different regions ensures that seasonal produce is available to the customers all year round. 

Quality Assurance

It helps maintain the quality of the products by controlling the temperature and humidity during transit. Since high-quality products are delivered to the customers, it enhances customer satisfaction and brand loyalty.

Economic Advantage 

Refrigerated transportation minimises the wastage of perishable products, ensuring they reach the market in sellable condition. This ensures economic benefits to different stakeholders involved in the supply chain. 


It offers the versatility of transporting a wide range of products, sensitive electronics, pharmaceuticals, etc. However, refrigerated transportation solutions help maintain customized temperature ranges to ensure safe transit. 

Regulatory Compliance 

It has become increasingly important for businesses to adhere to safety standards as well as international and local regulations related to the safe transport of various products. With refrigerated transportation, you can uphold these requirements. 

Real-Time Monitoring and Data Logging 

Integration of IoT devices allows real-time tracking of temperature, humidity, and location of the products or goods. Also, data logging of transportation conditions can be used for complaint and quality assurance purposes. 


With the advancement in technology and the advent of eutectic plate technology utilising stored thermal energy, the alternatives to traditional reefer trucks are gaining more popularity and adoption. Solutions like ChillKart from Rinac are not only economical but also greener and cleaner. 

The Right Time to Move Beyond Traditional Refer Trucks

As per the National Centre for Cold Chain Development (NCCD), 97.4% of fruits and vegetables produced in India move on roadways, and only 2.6% move through rail network. Refrigerated transport is primarily used for meats and dairy products, while the majority of the horticulture produce is still transported in diesel trucks. Not only the sector is highly fragmented, but third-party logistic players also dominate it.

The primary issue that remains is that the refrigerated transport in this segment uses diesel-powered refrigeration systems, which result in higher GHG (greenhouse gases) emissions, leading to air pollution and the release of pollutants such as nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, etc.

Additionally, the common refrigerants used in refrigerated transportation are R-134A, R-404A, and R-22. 

Here is a quick look at the refrigerated transportation types in India. 

Reefer Trucks with Eutectic Plates: Sustainable Cooling Technology 

In traditional reefer trucks, there is a significant dependency on diesel, petrol, or other conventional fuels for running cooling units. 

However, the use of phase change material (PCM) as thermal energy storage reduces this dependency and still enables the transportation of products or goods at a constant low temperature. 

In eutectic plates, phase change material solution is encapsulated in a metal or plastic plate. These PCM-filled encapsulated units are then mounted in the insulated containers and charged using electricity during non-operational hours.

Image  Source: Ozone Cell, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change 

Since the usual holding time is 14 to 16 hours, this eutectic plate system is ideal for inter-city transportation and short-hauls. 

Primarily, PCM can be of three types—salt hydrates, organic material, or eutectics. PCM also offers savings of up to 80% in operating costs by eliminating the use of diesel for running the ACs. 

Eutectic Vs. Air-Blown Refrigeration System 

This comparison summarises the high-value benefits of an eutectic refrigeration system over an air-blown one. 


Eutectic Refrigeration System  Air-Blown Refrigeration System 
Zero emissions  High carbon emissions 
Noies-free operations High-level of noise 
Reduced operational cost  High operational cost 
No fuel or energy needed for the refrigeration system  The refrigeration system runs on the vehicle engine or auxiliary engine 
Low to no maintenance  High maintenance 
No requirement for skilled labour for maintenance  Requires skilled labour for maintenance 
Preserves products in case of vehicle breakdown  Vehicle breakdown may result in product loss

ChillKart: The Revolutionary Solution for Refrigerated Transportation 

To tackle the impacts of reefer trucks on the environment and energy consumption, Rinac has innovatively designed ChillKart, eutectic refrigerated trucks for the secondary transport sector and last-mile delivery. 

Rinac offers two variants of Chillkart

  • Stored energy refrigeration combined with GRP (glass-reinforced plastic)-RPUF (rigid polyurethane foam) insulated containers ideal for last-mile delivery
  • RPUF-insulated GRP containers with forced refrigeration for long-haul

ChillKart finds extensive applications in various sectors including frozen fruits and vegetables or fresh produce, seafood, pharmaceutical products, frozen poultry and meat, fresh floral or nursery (horticultural) produce, milk and dairy products including frozen ice cream, etc. 

Why Choose ChillKart: Features and Benefits 

Here’s what makes ChillKart the preferred choice among businesses. 


  • GRP and rigid PUF sandwich panels manufactured using patented formo-bonding technology with CFC-free foaming process result in an insulated truck body
  • RPUF offers better thermal insulation properties, whereas, GRP results in lowered weight which means higher payload capacity and area for merchandising
  • Temperature range of -15℃ to -25℃ can be maintained for 10 to 12 hours
  • Eutectic plates eliminate the moving parts of the evaporator fan and compressor
  • No fuel or energy for refrigeration resulting in minimised operational costs
  • Noise-free operation, low maintenance, and long service life
  • Environment-friendly and sustainable 
  • Reduces your annual expense significantly by almost 50% when compared to reefer trucks

Apart from these, Rinac also offers custom features such as strip curtains, product chutes or side doors, lighting, shelving and rack systems, and multiple temperature applications.

Final Words 

The evolution of refrigerated transportation prioritises efficiency, reliability, and quality in the logistics and supply chain sector. From traditional reefer trucks to technologically advanced, sustainable eutectic refrigerated trucks, the journey has been transformative. Innovators like ChillKart are not just participants but active contributors in shaping the future of refrigerated transportation, ensuring that the transit of perishable goods is not just a logistical operation but a seamless, reliable, and quality-assured process.

To know more about ChillKart, get in touch with us today. 



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