Refrigerated shipping containers

How Refrigerated Shipping Containers Preserve Perishable Goods

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Refrigerated shipping containers are necessary to safely move perishable goods around the world. They keep things like food and medicines fresh and high-quality, stopping them from going bad and losing value. 

This blog will talk about the design, operation, benefits, and problems of refrigerated shipping containers, focusing on how important they are for keeping the integrity of perishable goods during shipping.

How Refrigerated Containers Work

Refrigerated containers, also called reefers, are needed to safely move things that go bad quickly, like food and medicine. To understand how they work, you need to know about refrigeration, the jobs of their parts, and keeping the temperature stable.

Refrigeration Principles and Temperature Maintenance

The goal is to get rid of heat so that perishables stay fresh. As heat energy moves away, temperatures drop. Temperatures inside containers must stay within certain ranges, usually -25°C to +25°C (-13°F to +77°F), so food stays fresh and people are safe while they’re traveling.

Components and Functions

  1. Compressors: They raise pressure and convert refrigerants into high-pressure vapors.
  2. Evaporators: These absorb interior heat, cooling the container.
  3. Refrigerants: They circulate, absorbing and releasing heat. Common ones include HFCs and HCFCs, with eco-friendly options gaining popularity for reduced environmental impact.

Types of Refrigerated Containers

Refrigerated containers are vital for transporting temperature-sensitive goods. This overview focuses on two types: Reefer Containers and Controlled Atmosphere (CA) Containers, each with unique benefits for preserving perishable items during transit.

Reefer Containers

These maintain controlled temperatures for goods like food and pharmaceuticals.

  • Construction, Insulation, and Ventilation: Insulated walls and ceilings, often with polyurethane foam, minimize heat transfer. Ventilation systems ensure even cold air distribution.
  • Compatibility with Land and Sea Transport: Versatile for land and sea, they fit into shipping vessels, trucks, or railcars for consistent temperature control.

Controlled Atmosphere (CA) Containers

These modify gas composition inside for precise preservation.

  • Gas Composition Modification: Adjusting oxygen, carbon dioxide, and humidity levels creates an optimal atmosphere for perishables.
  • Extending Shelf Life and Preventing Spoilage: Controlling the atmosphere extends shelf life, slows ripening, and prevents moisture loss.
  • Applications in Transporting Fruits and Vegetables: Crucial for maintaining freshness, ensuring produce arrives in optimal condition.

Challenges and Solutions

Managing refrigerated containers poses challenges in energy consumption and cargo safety. This discussion focuses on Energy Efficiency and Monitoring and Telematics solutions.

Energy Efficiency

Efficient energy usage is vital for cost-effective temperature maintenance.

  1. Energy Consumption: Refrigerated containers use significant energy, challenging sustainability.
  2. Advancements in Energy-Efficient Designs: Recent improvements aim to reduce energy usage without compromising temperature control.
  3. Balance between Low Temperatures and Energy Usage: Achieving this balance is crucial.

Monitoring and Telematics

Real-time monitoring and telematics enhance cargo safety.

  1. Real-Time Monitoring Systems: Track temperature, humidity, and location, aiding cargo management.
  2. Role of Telematics in Cargo Safety: Integrates GPS tracking and data analytics to prevent damage.
  3. Alarms and Alerts: Trigger corrective actions for deviations, maintaining cargo integrity.

Best Practices for Loading

Loading refrigerated containers requires careful planning and adherence to best practices for transporting perishable goods safely. This discussion covers guidelines for proper stacking, airflow, pre-cooling procedures, and pre-trip inspections to maintain container functionality and cargo quality.

Proper Stacking and Airflow

Efficient cargo arrangement and airflow are crucial for temperature consistency and preventing hotspots.

  1. Guidelines for Arranging Cargo: Stack cargo evenly and securely to avoid overloading and ensure weight distribution.
  2. Importance of Proper Stacking: Adequate stacking allows for sufficient air circulation, preventing hotspots and ensuring uniform cooling.

Pre-Cooling and Pre-Trip Inspections

Preparation is key for container functionality and cargo integrity.

  1. Pre-Cooling Procedures: Pre-cool the container before loading perishables to reduce temperature fluctuations and maintain cold chain conditions.
  2. Significance of Pre-Trip Inspections: Check container readiness, including temperature controls and insulation, through pre-trip inspections.
  3. Ensuring Container Readiness and Functionality: Thorough inspections ensure the container is set up to maintain required temperature and humidity levels during transit.

Recognize the Significance of Refrigerated Shipping Containers

Refrigerated shipping containers are essential for keeping perishable things fresh while they’re being shipped. It is very important for transportation to encourage responsible handling and environmentally friendly methods. 

Honor the unsung stars who work hard to make sure the quality of your fresh food is at its best, and support efforts to be more efficient, cut down on waste, and protect the environment for a better future.

Also Read: Need Shipping Supplies? Find Wholesale Boxes and Slash Your Budget



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