What is the difference between a dry van and a reefer trailer?

Dry vans and reefer trailers are both common types of trailers used for transporting goods, but they have a key difference in their functionality:

  • Dry vans: These are essentially large boxes on wheels. They are not temperature controlled and are used to transport non-perishable goods that are protected from the elements, such as furniture, appliances, clothing, or boxed items. Dry vans are generally more affordable to operate and are readily available.
  • Reefer trailers: Also known as refrigerated trailers, reefers are equipped with a refrigeration unit that allows them to maintain specific temperatures within the trailer. This makes them ideal for transporting perishable goods, such as frozen foods, produce, pharmaceuticals, and chemicals. Reefers are more expensive to operate than dry vans due to the added cost of the refrigeration unit and the fuel required to run it.

Here’s a table summarizing the key differences:

FeatureDry VanReefer Trailer
Temperature controlNoYes
Typical cargoNon-perishable goodsPerishable goods
Cost to operateLowerHigher
AvailabilityMore readily availableLess readily available