A Detailed Guide to Shipping Reefer Containers

Shipping containers come in all shapes and sizes, making it possible for businesses to transport goods with the utmost security.

But how are perishable items such as frozen meats, produce, and pharmaceuticals shipped without spoiling?

That’s where the reefer container comes in handy. In this post, we explain the purpose and benefits of reefer containers for shipping climate-sensitive cargo.

What is a Reefer Container?

A reefer container is a covered shipping container with a built-in thermostat that can be adjusted to maintain a steady, specific temperature within for shipping perishables.

Reefers control humidity and facilitate proper airflow within, which protects goods from fluctuating temperatures, excessive moisture, and heat.

There are 3 different types of reefer containers used depending on the type of cargo, shipping requirements, and purpose:

  • Closed reefer: This is the traditional reefer with a front wall and an electric automatic cooling/heating system.
  • Modified Atmosphere/Controlled Atmosphere: This type of reefer features an air exchange system that constantly replenishes oxygen to keep the atmosphere within the reefer balanced.
  • Automatic Fresh Air Management: This advanced system automatically adjusts the air exchange within the reefer to maintain a specific temperature.

What Are the Benefits of Using a Reefer to Ship?

As mentioned, reefer containers are primarily used to ship perishable items, such as meats, seafood, produce, pharmaceuticals, film, and other temperature-sensitive goods.

Here are some other benefits of shipping with reefers:

  • Since reefers maintain a specific temperature, shippers can save time and money on utilizing cold storage upon arrival at the port.
  • Reefers are versatile and come in different sizes, which makes them ideal for sea, air, and drayage.
  • Highly durable, reefers can withstand inclement weather and other harsh conditions with ease.
  • Container ships are now redesigned to accommodate reefers, making loading and unloading an easier process.

Final Thoughts on Effective Reefer Shipping Practices

Without a doubt, reefer containers have revolutionized the way we keep goods fresh and extend the shelf life of many products.

If you’re new to using reefer containers to ship, here are some helpful tips to keep your delivery running smoothly from start to finish.

  • Be mindful of how the cargo is packed, ensuring it’s stable and secure. Remember not to store cargo above the red load line.
  • Set the temperature and humidity settings, checking that ventilation is set up properly.
  • Pre-cool the cargo if necessary.
  • There shouldn't be any gaps between pallets and the door.

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