101 - Refrigerated Containers

Reefer container is short for the refrigerated container, also abbreviated as RF container. A reefer container is a shipping container that remains its cargo at a regulated, cool temperature. A reefer usually works at a temperature range of -30°C and +30°C and handles frozen, chilled, or cold goods.

Refrigerated containers play a critical role in the global supply chain. In this post, we explain everything you need to know about how reefers work and their components and dimensions, but also their specifications, standards and how to stow a refrigerated container properly.

refrigerated containers

Smart Containers – Merging McLean’s and Berners-Lee’s inventions

Some people may know Malcom McLean – the inventor of the freight container – but who is Berners-Lee? Tim Berners-Lee developed the basic idea of the World Wide Web (WWW).

More than 60 years after the invention of the sea container and the predecessor of the WWW both technologies rule the world. Both technologies are valued as equally disruptive for mankind as the invention of the letterpress by Johannes Gutenberg in the 15th century.

refrigerated containers

Refrigerated containers: Monitor your energy consumption

Decarbonisation starts and ends with energy consumption. But where to start? Monitoring energy usage of refrigerated containers gives you a starting point to evaluate before investments are made. That's clever.

Monitoring of refrigerated containers must include monitoring energy consumption as well to learn about processes, maintenance and in-time repairs of reefers. Energy efficiency of reefer operations is only possible when consumption is monitored and managed in an intelligent way.

refrigerated-containers-2

Refrigerated Containers in Walvis Bay: to be or not to be

Economically, fishing is the main thing in Namibia, besides mining. The nutrient-rich cold Benguela current along the Namibian coast supports a vibrant fishing industry that harvests fish, lobsters and crabs in an area of 1,570 km and 200 nautical miles westwards into the Atlantic Ocean, from the northern border of South Africa to the southern border to Angola. That's a long coastline, home to seal colonies and schools of flamingos.

That's why refrigerated containers play an important role in Namibia's fishing industry. 90% of the catch is exported, partly canned, partly refrigerated. The port of Walvis Bay constitutes a vital link in exporting fish and fish products from Namibia to a global market.

Cold Chain and Refrigerated Containers Logistics

Food products, pharmaceuticals and electronic equipment are valuable, temperature-sensitive cargo. But a cold chain to assure freshness and safety is fragile and only as strong as its “warmest” link. Cold chain logistics involves the transportation of temperature-sensitive products along a supply chain using refrigerated containers and packaging solutions from harvesting and producing to the hands of the end-consumer.

We created this eBook to provide an introductory, yet complete overview of the stages, processes and technologies of the modern world cold chain logistics.

refrigerated-containers-3

Fewer claims: Automated refrigerated containers monitoring

In most ports, terminal automation primarily focuses on container handling while the monitoring of individual containers is done manually. Energy monitoring is key in keeping the temperature of perishables at the right levels, but it is a very labor-intensive job as the temperature setting and monitoring are often done manually. Lack of available labor as well as human errors often result in temperatures not staying at the required levels and fresh produce going to waste.

According to international transport insurer TT Club, refrigerated container incidents have been one of the leading causes of insurance claims in the transportation industry over the past three years with human error being the cause in a majority of cases.

refrigerated-containers-4

How real-time refrigerated container information impacts safety and productivity

Container Terminals are hazardous places: Dockers may be dealing with a variety of vessels, people and weather under the pressure of a tight timetable. These ever-changing circumstances lead to ever-changing risks. Companies must address and manage these risks accordingly. At the same time, operations in the yard must continue.

As human errors occur - every human movement in a container yard is a potential incident, automating services is not only a reasonable approach to maximize safety, but guarantees continuous crane operation.

refrigerated containers operations

Refrigerated Containers: Optimize efficiency and safety

Refrigerated containers are shipping containers used in intermodal freight transportation to move temperature-sensitive cargo, can control temperature and atmosphere, relies on external power, and is handled by an internal controller.

As refrigerated containers are a vital part of the global supply chain, you don't want to break the cool chain at any point in the supply chain. However, reefer cargo is temperature-sensitive and spoiling it comes with high costs.

Reefer operations in a container terminal are labour-intensive and need constant monitoring and management. An automated reefer monitoring and management solution gives you total control of your terminal reefer operations.

refrigerated-containers-productivity

Refrigerated Containers Productivity

As the pressure in the global supply chain increases and container terminals are the vital gateways for the global economies, terminal productivity becomes focused on providing reliability and stability to the supply chain and improving their output considerably. As a result, productivity is in focus once more and more than ever.

With insurance claim costs, accidents, and terminal slowdowns, your reefer productivity will suffer but also trust and future business can linger for years. Automatic reefer monitoring and management is a proven solution protecting your and your customer's assets.

Factors like space, energy, workforce, processes, spoiled cargo, and container handling equipment- will directly influence your reefer productivity.

Regarding refrigerated containers, automation offers higher productivity in several aspects: Insurance claims, human errors, personnel safety and terminal equipment.

refrigerated containers

Refrigerated containers: Automated logistics in ports

Reefer Logistics, also known as the cold chain, has become an essential part of carriers' strategies to connect producers and consumers within one chain. The aim is to give customers shorter overall lead times and more predictable costs to calculate. In addition, there is the promise to store and transport perishable goods at the right and consistent temperature throughout the complete end-to-end supply chain.

A refrigerated container typically circles the world four times each year under extreme handling and weather conditions. Over a typical lifecycle of 15 years, a reefer sees many vessels, ports and others means of logistics. Handling and maintaining reefers is an uphill task. Therefore, there is massive potential to reduce inefficiencies and costs in reefer operations.

refrigerated-containers-7

Refrigerated Containers Operation Efficiency: Yilport goes live with Reefer Runner

IDENTEC SOLUTIONS’ Reefer Runner, the world’s most advanced terminal-based reefer monitoring solution, went operational in December 2021 at Puerto Bolivar / Ecuador as part of Yilport’s initiative to boost productivity at their terminals worldwide.

While the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the implementation of the system, the project team kept their cool and executed according to plan: "With our flexible system and a global team that will go the extra mile while being extremely accommodating to our customers' timeline and needs." Despite this extraordinary challenge, the go-live was completed on December 27th, 2021.”

vw-autostadt-infographic

VW Autostadt Infographic

The Autostadt in Wolfsburg focuses on all aspects of mobility. The theme park and educational centre is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Germany. The Autostadt is also the world's largest new car delivery centre and home to the multi-brand ZeitHaus car museum.

refrigerated-containers-port

50 Container terminals worldwide

Big milestone for IDENTEC SOLUTIONS: Reefer Runner being installed / deployed at 50 container terminals is a major sign of success. Reefer Runner revolutionised the way refrigerated container management works today.

Fifty container terminals trust Reefer Runner because it works. Years ago, IDENTEC SOLUTIONS revolutionised how reefer monitoring was managed and developed a solution independent of reefer types, delivering data remotely, enabling energy monitoring without an additional power meter, and realising the first decarbonisation project (together with Siemens). But, most importantly, Reefer Runner is a solution that manages the entire process of reefer handling in ports, not just delivering data.