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Reefer Containers - how do they work?

A Reefer Container is a type of container used for transporting produce over long distances, when they need to be kept cool. Also known as Refrigerated Containers, reefer containers have the same dimensions as any other reefers or shipping containers, so that they can easily be stacked onto a container ship and then attached to a lorry.

What are reefer containers used for?

Reefer containers are a necessary means to an end when it comes to delivering safe, hygienic and fresh food to shops all over the world.  In a world where shipping still makes up a vast majority of the transportation of goods, making sure that the goods arrive at their destination at their optimum quality means that most food will need to be refrigerated during their journey.

reefer container

A reefer container from CRS

Refrigerating systems on reefer containers come in mainly three types. Firstly, and most commonly, a simple integral refrigeration system (slightly more basic versions of these are found within household fridges), which ventilates cool air in the container whilst removing any warm air.

 The second refrigeration system is slightly less common and used on containers where the simple integral refrigeration unit is not capable on ventilating properly outside. This would usually occur if the container were to be stored below decks on a cargo ship. The method involves water cooling, but it is rather expensive, and because most modern vessels rely on the use the ventilation, this method is declining in use.

The third refrigeration system for reefer containers is only used for relatively short shipping journeys. The method is known as cryogenic cooling. In this instance, liquid nitrogen or frozen carbon dioxide is used to cool the goods. The frozen gas slowly evaporates, and in the process cools the container. When used on a large freight ship, this method can last up to around a month, before the liquid nitrogen or frozen carbon dioxide runs out.

If you’re looking to buy a refrigerated container (reefer container), CRS Cold Storage can help you obtain one.

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