Shipment Quality Best Practices for Refrigerated Products

  • The refrigeration unit of the rail car should be started in advance of loading and allowed to run for a few hours to verify proper operation and to pre-chill or heat the lading compartment prior to loading. USDA Guidelines recommend only running the unit 2-3 hours for pre-cooling.
  • After pre-cooling or heating the unit, verify the unit is running in the correct Intelliset setting. These settings were developed based upon industry practices and guidelines regarding different commodities to allow for proper temperature setting, air flow and return air. Please follow the Intelliset setting to ensure proper refrigeration of your product.
  • Once set correctly, loading can commence. During loading, and at all times when rail car door is open, the refrigeration unit must be off to ensure optimum unit performance and integrity.
  • Product temperature should be monitored at the time of loading. The requested refrigeration thermostat temperature should not exceed five degrees difference from the product's core temperature.
  • Load in such a manner that allows for maximum airflow through and around product.
    • Do not use slip sheets or any other device that will block vertical airflow. When possible, chimney stacks should be created through the length of the car to enhance vertical airflow. Do not load within 14'' of ceiling panels. Reject any cars that have major damage to ceiling panels and/or sidewalls. Product should be loaded at a consistent height through the length of the car, do not stack the ends of the car higher than the doorway.
  • When loading refrigerated rail cars with an inside height greater than 9'6", such as UP's ARMN 110XXX and ARMN 111XXX cars, shippers must load below the stenciled maximum load height line of 11'8". If loading above this height, the Combined Center of Gravity for the load must be calculated to ensure the load does not exceed a Combined Center of Gravity higher than 98" from the top of rail.
  • Seal rail car with barrier seals rather than indicative seals. Use cable seals with a minimum diameter of 1/8'' or bolt seals. Utilize rail car's high security hasp, if available, as an additional security measure.
  • Unload rail car within 48 hours upon arrival at destination.