refrigerated shipping container

The Ultimate Guide to Refrigerated Shipping Containers: Everything You Need to Know

refrigerated shipping container

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refrigerated shipping container

Refrigerated shipping containers, also known as reefers, are essential for businesses that require cold storage solutions. These containers are designed to maintain a consistent cold temperature, making them ideal for storing perishable items such as food, flowers, and pharmaceuticals. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the benefits of using refrigerated containers, how they work, the different types available, their sizes and dimensions, how to choose the right container for your needs, maintenance tips, troubleshooting techniques, and where to buy or rent them at the best price.

Benefits of Using Refrigerated Containers for Storage

Refrigerated shipping containers offer numerous advantages for businesses that require cold storage solutions. Let’s explore some of the key benefits:

1. Maintains a Consistent Temperature

One of the primary advantages of refrigerated containers is their ability to maintain a consistent temperature. This is crucial for storing perishable items, as it ensures that they stay fresh and protected from damage. Unlike traditional storage methods that rely on ice or refrigerators, refrigerated containers provide a controlled environment that prevents temperature fluctuations.

2. Easy Portability

Refrigerated shipping containers are designed to be easily movable. This makes them a practical choice for businesses that need quick access to their products or have limited space. Whether you run a home office or have multiple stores across town, refrigerated containers can be conveniently placed to provide easy access to your inventory.

3. Suitable for Quick Turnaround Times

For businesses with short turnaround times for specific perishable products, refrigerated containers can significantly speed up the process. By keeping the items cool and safe until they are ready for use, these containers ensure that your products are in optimal condition when they reach your customers.

How Refrigerated Storage Containers Work

Refrigerated shipping containers are specially designed to store perishable goods. These containers are made of insulated materials and utilize a cooling system to maintain the desired temperature. Let’s take a closer look at how they work:

1. Insulation and Temperature Control

The insulated walls of a refrigerated container help to keep the interior temperature regulated. The insulation prevents outside heat from entering the container while also retaining the cold air produced by the cooling system. This insulation plays a crucial role in ensuring that the items stored inside remain fresh and safe.

2. Cooling System

The cooling system in a refrigerated container is responsible for maintaining the desired temperature. These systems require three-phase electrical power and can run on either 440 volts or 220 volts with a transformer. By utilizing cold air and well-insulated walls, the cooling system keeps the items frozen or chilled without the need for ice or external refrigeration.

Types of Refrigerated Shipping Containers for Storage

There are various types of refrigerated shipping containers available, each with its own benefits. Let’s explore the different types and their specific applications:

1. Standard Refrigerator Container

The standard refrigerator container is the most common type and is typically the most cost-effective option. It is suitable for storing food that doesn’t require special care or preservation, such as frozen foods. These containers maintain a consistent temperature and provide a reliable storage solution for a wide range of perishable items.

2. Reefer Container

Reefer containers are designed to store perishable items that require a constant temperature. These containers have well-insulated walls that can handle fluctuations in temperature effectively. Reefer containers are versatile and can be used for a variety of products, including food that needs to be kept at a specific temperature range.

3. Temperature-Controlled Container

Temperature-controlled containers are ideal for storing items that require extreme temperatures or protection from moisture damage. These containers are often used for pharmaceuticals and sensitive electronic parts. Temperature-controlled containers provide precise temperature control and ensure that the stored items are kept in optimal conditions.

Sizes and Dimensions of Refrigerated Shipping Containers

Refrigerated shipping containers come in various sizes, allowing businesses to choose the right container based on their storage needs. Let’s explore the most common sizes and their dimensions:

1. 20ft Refrigerated Shipping Containers

The exterior dimensions of a 20ft refrigerated shipping container are as follows:

  • Length: 20 ft.
  • Width: 8 ft.
  • Height: 8 ft.

These containers are suitable for businesses that require moderate storage capacity and have space constraints. They are commonly used for storing perishable items such as food and flowers.

2. 40ft Refrigerated Shipping Containers

A 40ft refrigerated shipping container is larger and provides more storage space. The standard dimensions for a 40ft container are:

  • Length: 40 ft.
  • Width: 8 ft.
  • Height: 8 ft.

These containers are suitable for businesses that require a larger storage capacity. They can accommodate a significant quantity of perishable items, making them ideal for businesses with high inventory demands.

3. 40ft HC Refrigerated Shipping Containers

The dimensions of a 40ft HC (high cube) refrigerated shipping container are:

  • Length: 40 ft.
  • Width: 8 ft.
  • Height: 9 ft 6 in.

The increased height of the HC container provides additional storage space, making it a popular choice for businesses that need to store larger items or require extra headroom for their perishable goods.

Choosing the Right Refrigerated Container for Your Storage Needs

When selecting a refrigerated container for your storage needs, several factors should be considered. It’s important to choose the right size, take into account the average temperature of the storage location, and ensure that the container’s insulation and ventilation are suitable for your environment. Here are some key considerations:

1. Size and Capacity

The size of the container is an essential factor to consider. Assess your storage requirements and determine the volume of perishable items you need to store. Based on this assessment, choose a container size that offers sufficient capacity to accommodate your inventory.

2. Temperature Considerations

Consider the average temperature of the location where the container will be stored. Ensure that the container’s cooling system can maintain the desired temperature range in your specific environment. Check if the container’s insulation and ventilation are suitable for the temperature conditions.

3. Electrical Setup

Ensure that the correct electrical setup is available at your delivery site. Refrigerated containers require three-phase electrical power and can run on either 440 volts or 220 volts with a transformer. Make sure that the necessary electrical connections are in place to support the container’s power requirements.

Once you have considered these factors, you can compare prices and specifications between different containers to find the one that best suits your storage needs.

Maintenance of Refrigerated Shipping Containers

To ensure the longevity and optimal performance of your refrigerated shipping container, regular maintenance is crucial. Here are some essential maintenance tips:

1. Cleanliness and Dryness

Keep the container clean and dry to prevent the growth of molds or mildew. Regularly inspect the interior and exterior of the container for any signs of moisture or dirt buildup. If necessary, use appropriate cleaning agents and ensure thorough drying before storing any items.

2. Insulation and Seals

Regularly check the insulation and seals of the container to ensure they are in good condition. Insulation is essential for maintaining the desired temperature, while intact seals prevent air leakage. If you notice any damaged insulation or seals, promptly repair or replace them to maintain the container’s efficiency.

3. Electrical Setup

Regularly inspect the electrical setup of the container, including the connections and wiring. Ensure that all electrical components are secure and functioning correctly. If you detect any issues with the electrical setup, contact a professional for repairs or maintenance.

By following these maintenance practices, you can prolong the lifespan of your refrigerated container and ensure that it continues to provide reliable cold storage for your perishable items.

Troubleshooting Refrigerated Shipping Containers for Storage

Troubleshooting refrigerated shipping containers can be challenging, but there are steps you can take to address common issues. Here are some troubleshooting techniques:

1. Temperature and Humidity Levels

Regularly check the temperature and humidity levels inside the container. If they are outside the normal range, it may indicate a problem with the unit. Ensure that the doors are properly closed and not being left open, as this can affect the temperature and humidity control.

2. Ventilation Systems

Inspect the ventilation systems to ensure they are working correctly. Check for any drafts or air leaks that could indicate a problem with the components or the ventilation system itself. Proper ventilation is crucial for maintaining the desired temperature and preventing moisture buildup.

3. Electrical Connections

Test the electrical connections between components inside the container to ensure they are secure. Loose or faulty connections can lead to malfunctions in the cooling system or other electrical components. If you identify any issues with the electrical connections, consult a professional for repairs or further troubleshooting.

If you encounter persistent issues or complex problems with your refrigerated container, it is recommended to seek assistance from a qualified technician or service provider who specializes in refrigeration systems.

Buying or Renting Refrigerated Shipping Containers for Storage

Whether you need a refrigerated shipping container for short-term or long-term storage, there are options available for both buying and renting. Let’s explore the benefits of each:

1. Buying a Refrigerated Container

Purchasing a refrigerated container provides long-term storage solutions. This option is suitable for businesses that require consistent and ongoing cold storage capabilities. Buying a container offers the flexibility to customize it according to your specific needs and ensures that you have full control over the container’s usage.

2. Renting a Refrigerated Container

Renting a refrigerated container is a viable choice for businesses that require temporary or seasonal storage solutions. This option allows you to access a refrigerated container for a specific duration without the commitment of purchasing. Renting is cost-effective and convenient, especially for businesses with fluctuating storage needs.

Why Refrigerated Storage Containers are Practical for Various Industries

Refrigerated storage containers offer practical solutions for a wide range of industries. Let’s explore why they are beneficial for different sectors:

1. Food Industry

The food industry heavily relies on refrigerated storage containers to maintain the freshness and quality of perishable items. From restaurants and catering businesses to farming operations and packaging houses, refrigerated containers provide a controlled environment for storing food products and preventing spoilage.

2. Floral Industry

Flowers are delicate and require specific temperature conditions to maintain their freshness. Refrigerated containers offer an ideal storage solution for the floral industry, ensuring that flowers stay vibrant and last longer. Florists and flower suppliers can rely on refrigerated containers to preserve the quality of their floral arrangements.

3. Pharmaceutical Industry

The pharmaceutical industry often deals with temperature-sensitive medications and vaccines. Refrigerated storage containers provide the necessary temperature control to ensure the efficacy and safety of these products. Pharmaceutical companies can store their inventory securely in refrigerated containers, protecting them from damage caused by temperature fluctuations.

4. Retail Industry

The retail industry can benefit from refrigerated storage containers by keeping perishable items readily available to customers. Retail stores can store dairy products, meat, and other perishables, ensuring that they remain fresh and safe for consumption. This allows businesses to meet customer demand for perishable goods efficiently.

Observing Temperature Inside Reefer Containers

To monitor the temperature inside a refrigerated shipping container, you can rely on the display located outside the container. The display provides real-time temperature readings, allowing you to ensure that your items are being stored at the desired temperature range.

Maintaining the correct temperature is essential for preserving the quality of your perishable goods. By regularly monitoring the temperature display, you can take immediate action if any fluctuations or abnormalities occur.

The Temperature Range of Refrigerated Containers

Refrigerated shipping containers are capable of maintaining a wide range of temperatures to suit different storage needs. These containers can function as freezers and reach temperatures well below zero degrees Celsius. The insulation and climate control systems of refrigerated containers allow them to keep items cold even in the harshest conditions.

When Should You Consider Refrigerated Storage?

Refrigerated storage is an excellent choice for businesses that need to store perishable items, such as food, flowers, and pharmaceuticals. If your products require specific temperature control to maintain their quality and freshness, refrigerated storage containers are the ideal solution.

Consider refrigerated storage if you meet the following criteria:

  • Your products are perishable and require temperature-controlled storage.
  • You need a reliable and efficient storage solution for maintaining the quality of your inventory.
  • Your business operates in industries such as food, floral, or pharmaceuticals.
  • You have space constraints or require easy access to your perishable items.

Refrigerated shipping containers provide the necessary conditions to keep your products fresh, safe, and readily available for use or distribution.


Refrigerated shipping containers offer businesses a practical and reliable solution for storing perishable items. With their ability to maintain a consistent temperature, easy portability, and suitability for various industries, these containers are a valuable asset for businesses that require cold storage solutions. By understanding how refrigerated containers work, the different types available, their sizes and dimensions, maintenance tips, and troubleshooting techniques, you can make informed decisions when choosing and utilizing these containers. Whether you decide to buy or rent a refrigerated container, you can ensure the optimal quality and longevity of your perishable goods with this versatile storage solution.