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Refrigerated Containers

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Kingston Jamaica


Assignment submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree Bachelor of Science in Logistics and Supply Chain Management


Mr. Prince Layne


Samoy Rickard

 October 6, 2016

Table of Content

Acknowledgement                                                                3

Introduction                                                                        4

Containerization                                                                5

Refrigerated containers                                                        6-8

International Conventions and Protocols                               9-10

Conclusion                                                                        11

References                                                                      12-13


For the completion of this paper I would like to show my gratitude to the lecturer, Mr. Prince Layne for issuing this assignment allowing me to broaden my knowledge on the subject area. I would like to also thank the Caribbean Maritime Library for allowing me the resources needed to complete this assignment. I would also like to thank the authors of the documents used in completion of this assignment for their broaden knowledge on the subject area and helping to give me a good understanding of the subject at hand.


This research done in fulfillment of the requirements of the course Seaborne Cargo and Dangerous Goods aims to discuss the impact that Refrigerated Cargo in Containers has had on the supply chain. Special Refrigerated Containers otherwise known as reefers are originally designed to control temperature in containers to carry special cargo like meat, dairy products, flowers, chemicals etc. According to Maersk, the first refrigerated marine containers were introduced in the 60s. The introduction of these reefers has helped to shape the supply chain as we grow to know it for it has allowed for people to get a taste of things peculiar to their region and climatic zones. Further reading will help to explain to which extent these findings are true.

Background into Containerization

Container Trade has been around for over 60 years and has proven to be one of the most effective ways of transporting goods from one country to another. Containerization was an idea coined by the late Malcom P. McLean in 1955. He thought it would be a good idea to transport truck trailers with cargo still inside as this would be easier.

        Malcolm P. McLean, a truck entrepreneur, purchased a steamship company with the idea of transporting complete truck trailers with the cargoes still inside. The Ideal X was the first container ship which did its first voyage on April 26, 1956. It travelled from the port of Newark, New Jersey to the port of Houston, Texas, under the initiative of Malcolm P. McLean. Containerization was created to boost efficiency and effectiveness among trading industries. The process before containerization was slow and unreliable; more time was spent in port than at sea, theft at sea was frequent and goods were damaged. Therefore Malcolm P. McLean saw room for an improvement and this is where the idea was coined.

There are seven types of containers used in container trade; Standard Container, Tank Container, Flat Rack Container, Open top Containers, Flat Bed Containers, High Cube Containers and Refrigerated Containers. This idea draws from the method of “intermodalism”, this is the idea of a system based on the “theory that efficiency will be vastly improved when the same container, with the same cargo, can be transported with minimum interruption via different transport modes from an initial place of receipt to a final delivery point many kilometers or miles away”. (World Shipping Council, 2016, para. 5)

Refrigerated Containers

The idea of containers as introduced by Malcom P. Mclean was purely to transport Dry Cargo. However there became a need for special refrigerated containers to control the temperature allowing everything from meat, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, dairy products to be transported across the world. The first refrigerated containers based on truck units were introduced in the 60s. Reefers can be classified under the branch of physics namely cryogenics, which deals with the production and behavior of materials at very low levels. Reefers get pretty close as its main basis is the control of temperature in containers to ship cargo which need to be transported under special temperatures whether hot or cold.

World shipping council (2016) notes that Special super-freeze reefers can keep goods frozen at temperatures as low as -60 degrees C. But other reefers can preserve goods at warmer temperatures if that is necessary. De-humidification systems are able to ensure optimal humidity inside reefer containers. Some reefers also allow the atmosphere in the container to be controlled so for example, meat can be shipped between continents without spoiling as well as fruits. Even fresh flowers will continue to be fresh in a reefer container while they are travelling many miles over several days. It is because of reefer containers, that stores are able to stock and sell all kinds of fresh produce all year round.’

Reefer containers generally come in 20 foot and 40 foot lengths, with the same general dimensions as that of dry cargo containers of the same size. However, there is slightly less cargo space available inside the reefer container due to the space taken up by the refrigeration unit and ventilation equipment.

How they work

The refrigerated containers are ground air delivery units, this design allows for it to dispense chilled air from the floor, called specific T-Shaped Decking, it has the convenience a consistent and steady flow of air across the entire shipment. These reefers are powerful enough to provide air for the entire shipment.  It is important to note that reefers are not designed to reduce the temperature of the cargo but to maintain the pre-cooled temperature (all cargo has to be pre-cooled). These reefers can maintain the temperature of any shipment regardless of the temperature outside even in the most difficult conditions.



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