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KMR Blog Post - What is a reefer container?

What is a reefer container?

Refrigerated containers, also called reefer containers, are used for goods that need to be temperature controlled during shipping. They are used to transport perishable goods such as fruits and vegetables, meat, fish (fresh or frozen), milk and dairy products, flowers, pharmaceuticals, and juice concentrates.



How does a reefer container works?

They are designed to maintain the temperature, humidity, and atmosphere of the container at a constant value during the whole transit time. The reefer container does not run on its own but needs to be plugged into an electrical source. This source can be at a depot, terminal, on board a vessel, or a genset.


What are the different features of a reefer container?

  1. Temperature: All standard reefer containers are built to maintain a temperature between +25° C and -25° C for chilled and frozen cargo. A certain percentage of the global reefer fleet is also capable of maintaining a temperature down to -35° C or even lower. Special containers (super freezers) can maintain a temperature down to -70° C.

  2. Ventilation: For a chilled temperature, air must always flow through the cargo to remove heat and gases. Therefore, the transport boxes used should have ventilation. Fresh air ventilation is required for fruits and vegetables. For frozen goods, air must flow around the cargo. There must be no large gaps between the cargo, the walls, and the cargo itself. The cargo should be stowed in blocks.

  3. Humidity: Some products benefit from a lower level of humidity in the air. A reefer unit has a dehumidification function which can lower the level of moisture in the air.

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