What You Need to Know About Reefer Shipping

What You Need to Know About Reefer Shipping

December 19, 2019

“Reefer shipping” is slang for “refrigerated shipping,” and is usually used for shipping food products that might spoil or decay on the journey. Reefer shipping covers a number of different transportation methods, including shipping by ground, rail, ship and plane. Read on for some interesting refrigerated freight facts in North Charleston, SC!

What is reefer shipping, and how is it used?

Believe it or not, reefer shipping originated in the 1960s with the need to keep bananas cool on their journey from their origin to places where they do not grow locally. Over the years, three different types of reefer ships have evolved: multi-purpose vessels (which store refrigerated goods underneath passenger compartments), container ships (which use refrigerated cargo containers) and entirely refrigerated ships.

Today, reefer shipping in North Charleston, SC is used to transport anything from fruits, vegetables and nuts to other goods in danger of melting, decaying or spoiling.

How it works

If you choose to ship your goods in a container ship, the container will come with its own refrigeration system, therefore bypassing the need for cold storage in between destinations. Typically, they are 20-foot cooling units that can be loaded on and off ships, as well as onto rail cars or other forms of ground shipping. Larger units can cost up to six times more than the standard.

Today, reefer shipping accounts for 4 to 5 percent of maritime dry goods shipping. There are a number of different companies that provide various forms of reefer shipping.

Specific challenges

Generally, food is the biggest component of reefer shipping (with caviar and shrimp being the most expensive cargo), but other goods—like blood, flowers and medication—can be shipped as well. Challenges occur when trying to ship different types of goods in the same container. Certain cargo will have different requirements as far as temperature, humidity, packing materials and more.

In other cases, such as with potatoes and tomatoes, the temperature and humidity have to change during the journey, which presents another challenge. Today’s reefer shipping containers are able to regulate the humidity and temperature with pre-programmed, multi-temperature control systems.

Whereas reefer ships would originally haul goods in a refrigerated part of the cargo hold, then transport them to cold storage until delivery or the next leg of the journey, today the market is trending toward using refrigerated containers on cargo ships. In fact, many cargo ships are being retrofitted for that specific purpose. This opens the market to shipping companies that do not specialize solely in reefer shipping in North Charleston, SC.

Whichever method of reefer shipping you choose, it’s a vital component of delivering unspoiled goods in a timely manner.

Reefer shipping in North Charleston, SC

All Points Transport can ensure your refrigerated shipment will benefit from cold supply chain best practices, as well as proper equipment and attentive drivers. We are well-equipped to haul reefer trailers containing all manner of climate-controlled goods and have been delivering exceptional results for over a decade. Call us today to find out how we can make your shipping a breeze.

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