Do you enjoy hauling reefer freight? Are you looking to drive a reefer trailer? If you feel something is missing with your current reefer, it might tempt you to switch. However, frequent changes can be overwhelming and affect your income. To simplify your decision, we've compiled a list of top reefer carriers known for great pay, reputation, and driver options. This guide will help you choose the best fit for yourself. 

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What Are Reefer Trucking Companies?

Another term for a reefer is a refrigerated truck. This freight method uses a reefer trailer to transport goods requiring controlled temperatures. The trailer, also known as a reefer truck, is used for transporting the cargo and is equipped with a built-in refrigeration system to preserve the products in their original state during transportation. For instance, consider perishable items like apples. If transported like non-food items, the entire batch might spoil before reaching the final destination. However, with a reefer trailer, the items stay fresh when they eventually reach the buyer.

Top 12 Reefer Companies

Numerous companies and carriers specialize in reefer trailers, ranging from large enterprises to smaller ones. Many focus on specific product types for reefer shipping or specialize in serving particular regions. Let's take a look at our top 12 picks.

  1. Kind Transport

Kind Transport, is one of our top choices for truck drivers looking to work for a reefer company. They are well-known for doing a great job in transporting goods and keeping their drivers happy. Even though they are not the biggest company, they are exceptionally good at what they do. The company is trusted to carry different cargo, including special items, making it a favorite for many businesses. This means it has multiple trucking opportunities for its truck drivers.

Kind Transport cares about its drivers and offers good benefits like flexible schedules, insurance, retirement contributions, and a guaranteed minimum weekly pay. If you work with Kind Transport, you're choosing a company that cares about its drivers and does a great job transporting goods, especially refrigerated items.

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  1. Boyle Transportation

Boyle Transportation, established in 1971 and headquartered in Billerica, MA, has consistently earned acclaim from the Truckload Carriers Association (TCA) as the Best Fleet to Drive For over eight consecutive years. Despite being a smaller company, Boyle Transportation stands out as one of the premier reefer carriers in the industry. Renowned for its trustworthiness, Boyle is a key partner for Big Pharma and the defense sector, handling a spectrum of cargo, including specialty freight alongside standard reefer shipments. 

The company upholds high professional standards, contributing to a low turnover rate among its truck drivers. Those in over-the-road (OTR) positions enjoy two days off each week, vacation days, comprehensive insurance plans, a 401k match, and a guaranteed minimum weekly pay.

  1. Stevens Transport

Stevens Transport is a top reefer company transporting goods that must stay cool. They've been around since 1980 and are based in Dallas, TX. Stevens Transport is well-known and respected for ensuring that products requiring specific temperatures during transport reach their destination safely and on time. If you're thinking about working with Stevens Transport, here's something that might interest you. They offer their drivers good pay and many benefits like health insurance and retirement plans. This means they care about keeping their drivers happy and satisfied with their work. And because they have a solid training program, they're open to experienced drivers and those new to the job. Choosing Stevens Transport isn't just about a job; it's about being part of a company that values its drivers and does a great job delivering goods that need to stay cool via a reefer truck.

  1. Halvor Lines

Established in 1968 and headquartered in Superior, Wisconsin, Halvor Lines stands out as a great option for transporting goods that demand controlled temperatures. Halvor Lines is recognized as an acclaimed reefer company for its equitable treatment of drivers and competitive pay. What distinguishes Halvor Lines is its dedication to integrating new technology and investing in modern equipment. A noteworthy aspect is their commitment to driver development. Halvor Lines provides paid OTR and CDL training programs, offering aspiring drivers valuable skills. Additionally, they offer CDL practice tests on their website to aid in preparation.

Halvor Lines extends beyond reefer freight. In addition to their proficiency in a reefer trailer, they also manage other types of freight, such as flatbed, dry van, and deck van shipments. This adaptability positions them as an excellent choice for drivers seeking diverse experiences.

  1. KLLM Transport

Founded in 1963 and headquartered in Richland, Mississippi, KLLM Transport is one of North America's largest reefer companies. With an extensive network, the company allows drivers to choose from various career paths, including over-the-road (OTR), dedicated, or regional routes, based on their location. What sets KLLM Transport apart is its commitment to offering competitive pay, with recent additions such as guaranteed pay for regional positions, ensuring financial stability for drivers in specific roles.

KLLM Transport is open to new drivers and provides comprehensive training programs. Opportunities like student-trainer positions are available for those aiming for top-earning positions within the company, offering a pathway to maximize earnings.

  1. Grand Island Express

Established in 1967 and headquartered in Grand Island, Nebraska, Grand Island Express has earned multiple accolades from the Truckload Carriers Association (TCA), placing them among the prestigious TCA Best Fleets to Drive For Hall of Fame. Grand Island Express boasts significant qualities despite operating as a smaller trucking company. It cultivates a close-knit, family-like environment, providing drivers with competitive pay and establishing a commendable reputation in the industry. This positive regard extends beyond their workforce to encompass strong relationships with customers.

While Grand Island Express may be smaller in scale, it ensures drivers have diverse opportunities. Whether opting for regional or over-the-road (OTR) routes, the company underscores its commitment to accommodating the preferences and requirements of its driving team.

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  1. Continental Express Inc

Founded in 1984 and headquartered in Sidney, OH, Continental Express Inc. has earned acclaim as an award-winning carrier, offering drivers various experiences. Whether you're inclined towards reefer, over-the-road (OTR), regional, dedicated, or team driving, Continental Express provides options to suit different preferences. With a fleet exceeding 1,200 trucks and a team of over 550 drivers, Continental Express operates as a family-owned business, enjoying a stellar reputation among drivers and customers. The company is committed to providing competitive compensation and excellent equipment to its driving team. Boasting terminals strategically located across the country, from Oregon to Virginia, Continental Express solidifies its position as a premier temperature-controlled logistics company. The extensive network of terminals ensures efficient service across diverse geographical regions.

  1. Marten Transport

Established in 1946 and headquartered in Mondovi, Wisconsin, Marten Transport distinguishes itself by providing diverse driving positions, particularly in reefer freight. Marten offers dedicated, regional, or over-the-road (OTR) routes, including team driving options for those seeking alternatives to hauling reefer. Renowned for its competitive pay programs, Marten ensures a minimum guaranteed annual payment of $70,000. The company emphasizes high accessorial pay and promptly compensates drivers with detention pay upon arrival for reefer freight pickup and delivery.

  1. Prime Inc.

Prime Inc., founded in 1970 and headquartered in Springfield, Missouri, is the largest reefer carrier in North America. Despite its substantial size, Prime has garnered several awards, including a place in the TCA Hall of Fame for Best Fleets to Drive For, underscoring its unwavering commitment to excellence in reefer transport. 

With a vast fleet at its disposal, Prime not only offers a multitude of driving options but also serves as a prominent training ground for new drivers, providing them with the flexibility to transition into open deck freight, tankers, or dry vans. Prime stands as a beacon of opportunity for those inclined towards the chilled and frozen logistics of the reefer industry.

  1. Stokes Trucking

Established in 1979 in Tremonton, Utah, Stokes Trucking, though modestly sized, has earned significant recognition as one of the 2022 Fleets to Watch by TCA, particularly for its standout performance in the reefer segment. The company prides itself on cultivating a family atmosphere, ensuring guaranteed weekly or twice-weekly home time for drivers engaged in the demanding world of reefer shipments.  An unusual yet commendable practice at Stokes is the implementation of odometer pay, a rarity in the industry, where drivers are compensated based on odometer miles. This measure spans various terrains, including those requiring reefer-specific handling.

  1. Hirschbach

Established in 1935 and headquartered in Dubuque, Iowa, Hirschbach is a unique and rapidly growing trucking company with a dynamic, fast-paced environment catering to OTR and dedicated reefer positions.  With a primary focus on its drivers engaged in the intricacies of the reefer sector, Hirschbach offers a distinctive no-cost CDL training program that not only facilitates skill development but also pays drivers during the training period.  The popularity of their lease program is evident in the occasional waiting lists for drivers eager to be a part of this unique trucking experience in the specialized realm of reefer logistics. Hirschbach stands out as a company that goes beyond the typical trucking landscape, providing drivers with unparalleled opportunities for growth and success in reefer transportation.

  1. Magnum

Founded in 1978 and headquartered in Fargo, North Dakota, Magnum distinguishes itself by offering exceptional treatment to its drivers engaged in dry van and reefer freight hauling. Offering a range of positions, including OTR, local, and regional, Magnum has acquired a reputation that entices drivers back to OTR driving with a particular focus on the specialized world of reefer transport. Drivers at Magnum enjoy the flexibility to switch between reefer and dry van freight, showcasing the company's commitment to providing diverse opportunities for those in the reefer industry.

Choosing The Right Reefer

The 12 companies listed above provide a solid starting point for choosing the right reefer company for yourself. Now, the challenge is pinpointing the one that best fits your needs. With their stability, competitive pay, and excellent reputations, the decision comes down to identifying the specific offerings that align with your preferences. 

Whether you're seeking a dedicated or regional route, enticed by odometer pay or guaranteed pay, or contemplating a shift to hauling flatbed loads, your choice should facilitate the growth and flexibility you aim for. Consider their hiring areas, as these companies are scattered across the U.S. Ensuring you reside within their hiring regions guarantees you can enjoy your desired driving route while balancing the frequency of returning home. Good luck!

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