Best Practices for Shipping Perishable Goods Using Reefers

The shipping of perishable goods was tricky in the past but everyone is doing it successfully these days. People can order chocolates and fruits from a different state or country and it would still arrive fresh at their doorstep. If you ship perishables which require temperature control, protection from extreme temperatures, space ventilation or humidity, you must consider shipping them in a reefer container. These are excellent for shipping a wide range of items that require special maintenance at a set temperature.

In this article, we will look at some best practices for shipping perishable goods efficiently.

6 Essential Steps to Remember

First things first, you need to understand that reefers are not refrigerators. A reefer container is not meant to cool down the perishable products but is rather designed to keep them at the right temperature as they are initially getting loaded in the equipment. Reefers are designed to transport temperature-sensitive cargo and have more insulation as compared to regular ocean cargo ships.

These are 6 points you must remember when you ship perishable goods via reefer containers.

  1. The cargo must be kept in a warehouse at the same temperature that you want them to be at when they reach their destination. This is critical as it ensures that the cargo is maintained at the right temperature from the beginning to the end. 
  2. The next factor you must consider includes finding out if your warehouse would be using a cold tunnel or not. If you use a cold tunnel, it would be ok to pre-cool the reefer, however, you should not pre-cool the reefer if you are not planning to use a cold tunnel. This is because pre-cooling the reefer container might condense water and once the doors of the empty reefer are opened, the warm air gets into the container. This may lead to icing in the reefer which is definitely not a situation you would want. 
  3. Next, pay attention to packaging and stuffing. You cannot pack the perishable goods the way you would with a dry container setting. The reason why fruit cartons have numerous holes is related to the supply chain procedures. The chilled commodities such as fruit and meat need air cooled down around their boxes along with the air going in and out of their boxes.
  4. Another critical factor for transporting containers by sea is how you stuff or load your container. When you use dry containers, you can use all of the container space. But, it is different with temperature controlled shipping containers. The idea is to create space for the air to flow through the product according to its requirements. 
  5. Next comes weighing and measuring the shipment. It is essential that you use an industrial weighing scale to obtain the exact weight measurement of the container. This ensures that you don’t overload the reefer which may lead to accidents or damage of the product. 
  6. Now that you have chosen the right warehouse, loading dock and choice of the packaging and stuffing, you need to ensure that the reefer container has a portable generator unit to power the container through its entire journey. It is imperative that you communicate about the product’s temperature, humidity level and ventilation requirements that your cargo needs so that the trucker as well as ocean carrier will do their part to set the right temperature and ventilation, to take your product to its final destination without causing any damage to it.

While the reefers ensure that the cargo reaches its destination in the intended condition, you need to make sure that you take the necessary steps and use the appropriate tools and technology like truck scales to achieve the desired results. 

Kevin Hill, Quality Scales Unlimited

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Author Bio

Kevin Hill heads the marketing efforts at Quality Scales Unlimited in Byron, CA. Besides his day job, he loves to write about the different types of scales and their importance in various industries. He also writes about how to care for and get optimized performance from different scales in different situations. He enjoys spending time with family and going on camping trips.