Dong Fang International Containers
Dong Fang International Containers

Reefer Container Transport Considerations and Cargo Packaging Requirements

Precautions for loading cold shipping containers

  • During the loading process of reefer containers, the reefer container supplier should inspect the refrigeration device and confirm that the refrigeration unit has stopped operating.

  • Pre-cooling of goods: before loading, the cushioning and other padding materials used in the reefer container should be pre-cooled, and the goods should also be pre-cooled to the temperature required for transportation. Due to the limited refrigeration capacity of the container, it can only be used to maintain the temperature of the goods. If the temperature of the goods is too high, the refrigeration system will be overloaded, which will cause the system to malfunction and affect the transportation of the goods.

  • About pre-cooling of reefer containers: generally, reefer containers should not be pre-cooled, because when a pre-cooled reefer container is opened, hot air from the outside will enter the container and condense moisture, which can damage the outer packaging and labels of the goods, and the water droplets condensed on the surface of the evaporator will affect the refrigeration capacity. However, when the temperature of the cold storage is the same as that inside the reefer container and the "cold air passage" is used for loading, the container can be pre-cooled.

  • Pre-inspection test: each reefer container should be inspected for the body, refrigeration system, etc. before delivery to ensure that the container is clean, undamaged, and the refrigeration system is in ideal condition. A qualified reefer container should have an inspection qualification label.

  • Preparations before packing: for different perishable goods, the following items should be confirmed: ideal temperature setting; setting of fresh air exchange volume; setting of relative humidity; total transportation time; volume of goods; packaging materials and sizes used; necessary documents and certificates.

  • Attention before packing and during loading: the set temperature should be correct; the set fresh air exchange volume should be correct; the set relative humidity should be correct; the refrigeration system should be stopped during packing; the goods stacked in the container should be below the red loading line and not exceed the vertical plane of the T-slot; the goods stacked in the container should be secure and safe; the total weight of the goods stacked in the container should not exceed the allowable load capacity of the container; the total weight of the reefer container after loading (including the weight of the accessories) should not exceed the weight limit of any country passed through during transportation.

  • Off-cooling time: short-distance transportation or refrigeration system failure may occur during the handover between various transportation modes, leading to the discontinuation of refrigeration. Short-term discontinuation of refrigeration for frozen and refrigerated fresh-keeping goods is allowed. Many products can accept several hours of discontinuation of refrigeration, but not all goods are such. Long-term discontinuation of refrigeration is not allowed for any refrigerated goods. The refrigeration system should work continuously for special goods and temperature-sensitive goods to avoid any temperature fluctuations that may cause a decline in the quality of the goods.

Packaging of reefer container goods

Packaging is an important part of refrigerated goods transportation and the basis for preventing damage and contamination of goods. Cold shipping containers should be properly designed and use high-quality packaging materials that can withstand the entire process of refrigeration and transportation. Packaging should be able to:

  • Prevent stacking damage to the goods.

  • Withstand impacts during transportation.

  • Have standard external dimensions suitable for pallets or direct loading into reefer containers.

  • Prevent dehydration of goods or reduce the rate of water vapor loss.

  • Prevent oxygen from having a barrier effect on oxidation.

  • Maintain strength in low temperature and humidity.

For the above reasons, different goods require different designs and packaging materials that meet quality requirements. Perishable fruits and vegetables should use packaging that allows air to circulate in the middle of the goods and carry away gas, water vapor, and heat generated by the respiration of the goods.