Reefer Container FAQs
You can’t control the weather, especially at sea, and your goods are likely to face a range of climates on a long trip between here and Europe, for example. The problem is that many goods sent by sea and rail need to be in good condition throughout. You wouldn’t want cheese sent from Europe to Australia to be at the ambient air temperature all the way around the world as you’d probably smell it 10 days before the ship arrived!
The answer is to send your perishable goods by ‘reefer containers’. Refrigerated containers – ‘reefers’ – are specially modified shipping containers for delivering goods at controlled temperatures anywhere in the world. Thanks to these you can move anything from pharmaceuticals to food at just the right temperature by land and sea for thousands of miles without the goods spoiling en route.
If you are shipping items that are temperature sensitive, then you will most likely have to buy a reefer container in order to ensure that your goods arrive in top condition.
There may be some questions you have about reefer containers. Let’s answer some of these now:
FAQs about reefer containers
1. What is the difference between a reefer container and regular shipping container?
A reefer container is a shipping container that is refrigerated and able to maintain a steady temperature for the duration of an international shipping voyage. This kind of container is able to maintain a temperature at freezer, refrigerator or warm levels according to the needs of the items inside.
2. How does the refrigerator work?
A reefer has a refrigerator unit attached to the back of the container and either runs on generator or is plugged into a power source when it is at the dock or on the ship. It is also heavily insulated within to maintain those temperatures and reduce the energy requirements to chill the air and pump that around the inside.
3. How does air circulate in the containers?
Cold, cool or warm air is circulated throughout the unit via an air duct system that enters the container from the bottom. The flooring, walls and ceiling has special T shaped grooving so the air can circulate freely even with tightly packed cargo. The air then circulates throughout the reefer container until it is pumped back into the refrigeration unit.
4. What goods are usually shipped in this kind of container?
Often a reefer is used to transport perishable items such as fruits and vegetables. Meat and dairy products can also be sent. Another common cargo is pharmaceuticals that must be kept at certain temperatures at all times in order not to spoil. Refrigerated units have changed the way we eat all around the world making exotic and imported fresh foods a real option for people everywhere.
5. How reliable is the refrigeration?
Generally speaking you can keep the goods within a temperature range of plus or minus one degree Celsius. This is thanks to computerised refrigerator units that are able to control the temperature in a very precise manner.
6. What about goods that need to be kept warm?
Did you know that a reefer container can maintain temperatures between -30 degrees C and +30 degrees C? That may mean automotive or computer parts that need to be kept at room temperature in order not to be damaged by the climate can be kept at a tightly controlled temperature (even above freezing) for the journey to its destination.
7. If the goods produce gases is this a problem?
Fruit is a typical cargo that emits gases that need to be removed during shipping. Ethylene is a gas emitted by fruit that causes it to ripen, meaning that through a journey it could all spoil. Reefer containers’ air conditioning systems vent such gases, preventing ripening during transit. Other examples include coffee beans that release a gas that needs venting during the trip.
8. Do they cost more?
Yes, since they require more hi-tech equipment to keep the content in good condition, and also require monitoring by shipping staff, they do tend to be more expensive than a regular unit.
9. What sizes do they come in?
You can get refrigerated containers in 20 foot and 40 foot sizes and occasionally in 10 foot size. These containers are generally a little smaller inside since space is sacrificed to the refrigeration unit in order to maintain standardised dimensions.
Want a reefer container? Contact us today!
Here at Gateway Container Sales we have a range of different reefer containers for sale and hire.