What are these Refrigerated Containers?
Refrigerated Containers or reefer containers are big fridges that are used to ship the perishable products to the consumers. These containers are temperature controlled in order to avoid the damaging or staling of the food items like fresh fruits and vegetables, seafood, meat, dairy, flowers, pharmaceuticals, photographic film, and several chilled and frozen goods. These containers are set up in a way that it might be spoiled if kept over-night. Please note that these refrigerated containers look very similar to the normal shipping containers but function as a fridge for your perishable products making them an ideal choice for transporting or shipping goods.
How do the reefer container work?
You might be wondering but how do the reefer container work; they are bottom air delivery units especially designed to distribute the chilled air from the floor deck designed in the form of T. The chilled air from the floor deck of reefer container is spreads uniformly across the products kept inside it making it fresh and healthy just the way it should be.
The refrigerated containers can be adjusted according to the requirement of the specific perishable product kept inside of it. Just the way the reefer container can maintain the lowest temperature (-35 degree Celsius), it can also maintain the warmest temperature (+35-degree Celsius) for the warm goods.
The control unit on the reefer container allows you to set or adjust the parameters including the humidity, ventilation, atmosphere, and not the least temperature of the container but the settings usually depends upon the type of cargo that is being use to transport. The reefer containers require a constant supply of electricity for everything to work smoothly and this electricity is supplied by the vessel’s power outlet or by the gensets portable generators.
What are the advantages of choosing to ship perishable product via reefer container?
If the product that is being shipped to the consumer is a perishable product like fruits and vegetables then the shipping company chooses a reefer container or refrigerated containers over any other way to ship because of the following reasons:
- The products don’t need to be kept in a refrigerator as the reefer container works exactly like a refrigerator and keeps your fruits, vegetables, flowers, meat, etc., healthy, and fresh.
- The reefer containers are available in various shapes, sizes, and forms which makes it easy for the shipping company to use them whether it is via air, water, or road transportation.
- The products that arrive in reefer containers are fresh and healthy to use. The perfect amount of temperature and other settings adjusted on the refrigerator containers makes them durable.
- Since the reefer containers comes in various sizes and forms, you can divide the container according to your products like you can put the chilled perishable products on one side and the frozen ones on the other since they both require different temperatures.
- They can prevent products from ripening too quickly and ensure a longer shelf-life by circulating cool air and avoids the wastage of perishables.
- The refrigerator containers are safe for the products and safety for food products is very essential.
What are the different types of refrigerated containers?
Now you maybe wondering that if the reefer containers are available in different forms that what the types of reefer container. Well, we’ve got that covered for you; let’s look at the different types of reefer containers used to ship perishable products to the consumers.
Closed reefer container:This reefer container is basically known as a conventional type of refrigerated container that comes in one-piece and integral front wall. The cooling and heating unit in reefer container is all-electric automatic.
Modified/ Controlled Atmosphere (MA/CA) reefer containers:This reefer container is an insulated reefer container that can maintain a constant atmosphere and use the air exchange system to replace the already used oxygen. This is done to maintain an ideal atmosphere inside the container for the perishable products’ freshness and durability.
Automatic Fresh Air Management Containers:reefer container is advanced and uses the latest technology for regulating the air inside. It automatically adjusts the air inside accordingly; one could say that it is like the MA/CA reefer containers and controls of the container can be adjusted to extend the shelf life of a cargo irrespective of the atmosphere or conditions outside the reefer container.
How to avoid a damaged refrigerated container?
When you ship a perishable product like fruits and vegetables in a cold storage container, it is possible that there might be a problem that you have to face; leakage. But in order to avoid the leakage, try out these tests on your reefer container to fix the problem.
Soap water test:It is a simple test where you spray a soapy water on the troubled pipe on a low-pressure line and if there is any form of leakage in the reefer containers’ pipe, the bubbles would appear and you’ll know a problem to fix.
Electronic leak detector:Electronic leak detector is a portable unit that is carried to detect the leak in the reefer container. Make sure you use it in utter silence.
Inbuilt fixed type leakage detection unit:To make life and work easy, some reefer containers comes with an inbuilt leakage detection unit that provides you with an audio-visual alarm in case there is any leakage.
Halide Lamp Test:Halide lamp test is also done to detect the leakage but it works on the principle of colour of flame. For testing for the leakage in the reefer container, the halide lamp is passed around the area where there is a slight doubt for the leakage. It is the most traditional forms of test for the leakage in a container.
What is the right way to handle a reefer container cargo?
One of the things that needs to be taken care of is the fact that cargo that contains reefer container must be handled precisely and in the right process which starts from the time of packaging, to storing, to transporting, and finally the last processing. The entire process needs to be handled with a lot of care and utmost attention because the products that are being shipped are perishable food products that needs attention otherwise, they could get damaged in case you miss out on any single step. Let’s look at the various steps to be kept in mind while handling the reefer container.
Pre-shipment:One of the very first steps that the shipper must do before shipping the products is to provide the accurate information about the things or products that are being shipped in a reefer container. The freight forwarder handles the important things like looking for the right reefer container vessel, shipment dates, cargo size, weight, and conditions. So, for freight forwarder to work smoothly, the shipper needs to provide the accurate information.
Pre-cooling:The reefer containers are used to maintain a certain temperature for the products kept inside but what about the product’s temperature when it’s not inside the reefer container? The shipper needs to pay attention to the fact that the perishable product that is being shipped inside the reefer container must be pre-cooled in order to prevent surface thawing and freezer burn which happens when the reefer container’s and product’s temperature don’t match. So, to avoid it the shipped needs to make sure that the pre-cooling is done properly.
Packaging and stowing:The cartons used to store the perishable products must be strong enough to hold the product’s weight and is capable enough to hold the weight of the stacks of cartons placed above it. It should also be able to protect the products kept inside it. The chilled fruits and vegetables you need should be provided with the proper air supply while packaging so that they don’t go stale and the frozen goods are needed to be packed as a solid block with each other.
Best practices in reefer shipping
In order to cut and reduce the risk of damage and spoilage, Here are some do’s and don’ts:
- For proper stability pack the cargo tightly.
- For the reefer prescribed temperature and humidity is to be set.
- Cargo should be pre-cooled.
- Along with proper ventilation correct settings should be ensured.
- Stow the cargo above the marked red line
- Allow tight stuffing that can block the airflow
- Pre-cool the reefer if it is not in cold storage
- Allow gaps between the pallets and the door
- Miss shipment deadlines specially in case of perishables
TABLE: Reefer container temperature and humidity settings for different commodities
Who to contact for reefer container services?
The entire process of selecting, packaging, transporting, and processing of perishable products is tedious and requires a lot of expertise to handle all the settings and adjustments of the reefer container.
Boxnbiz is an ideal solution for your shipping problems as they have dedicated their lives to not only make the shipping or perishable products at your door step easy but also transparent as you can track your reefer container all by yourself. Their digital connect data base has made the selection process immensely easy and quick for individuals to make them their priority choice. They experts are always ready to help you in the process and give updates about your shipments.
For more information and quotation, book your appointment with the expert today.