Reefer Cargo Handling: A Guide to Handling Perishable Cargo

Reefer Cargo Handling: A Guide to Handling Perishable Cargo

Exporting perishable cargo such as fresh fruits, vegetables, meat, dairy products, seafood, etc., can be a challenge for exporters. However, reefer containers help exporters transport perishable cargo across long distances with ease. Reefers are spacious, temperature-controlled containers that exporters use to ship such goods. If you're curious about what reefer containers are and how they work, read on.

Here, you can learn all the necessary things about reefer cargo handling.

The cargo handling process for perishable goods is a critical aspect of logistics that ensures the quality and safety of items like fruits, vegetables, dairy products, and other temperature-sensitive goods. Perishable cargo, also known as perishable freight, requires special handling and specific conditions to maintain its freshness and prevent spoilage during transit. This process involves the use of reefer containers, which are refrigerated containers designed to keep cargo at specific temperatures. The reefer container handling procedure includes monitoring and controlling the temperature according to the reefer temperature guide, which provides detailed instructions on the optimal reefer container temperature for fruits and other perishables. Understanding what is perishable cargo and what is cargo handling is essential for effective logistics management.

Perishable cargo handling involves various factors to consider when transporting perishable goods, such as the type of reefer used, the temperature settings, and the duration of transport. Reefer ships, meaning vessels specifically designed to carry refrigerated cargo, play a significant role in the transport of perishable goods. The reefer cargo meaning and reefer ship meaning highlight their importance in maintaining the cold chain during long sea voyages. Perishable goods logistics, including the role of perishable freight forwarders, is crucial in the global supply chain, ensuring that items reach their destination in optimal condition. A comprehensive cargo guide and adherence to reefer container handling procedures are vital for successful perishable goods transportation. Understanding what are reefers and what is reefer freight helps in selecting the right equipment and strategies for maintaining product quality throughout the journey.

The process of reefers cargo

The refrigerated container shipping companies and Perishable Logistics Services use reefer cargo handling for transporting Perishable goods. The reefer's cargo handling is divided into various stages, including:

  • Pre-shipment handling

    At the outset, shippers need to provide accurate information about the goods they're shipping. This includes details about the product's volume, weight, packing type, required temperature, humidity conditions, departure, and destination. This information is crucial for freight forwarders and perishable cargo handling by refrigerated container shipping companies.

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  • Pre-cooling

    You should know that reefer doesn't lower the temperature of goods. But they maintain the pre-cooled temperature of goods. So, before shipping the products, the shipper must ensure the products are frozen or chilled to the recommended temperature. The shipper also pre-cooled the container to meet the recommended temperature.

  • Packaging and stowing

    Once the cargo and container are pre-cooled, the shipper focuses on packaging and stowing. Sturdy cartons are used for packing, ensuring they can withstand the weight of parcels stacked above them. Different products demand distinct packaging and stowing practices due to their unique requirements. In this process of perishable cargo handling, reefer containers play a vital role, maintaining the necessary temperature conditions to ensure that perishable cargo arrives in optimal condition. To ensure successful shipping, exporters must follow the reefer temperature guide and adhere to meticulous perishable cargo handling practices throughout the transportation journey.

The benefits of reefer cargo

A Reefer Cargo has several benefits for Frozen Export Logistics Services, such as:

  • It is durable and can operate in inclement conditions.
  • You can find reefer in various dimensions, making them ideal for sea, road, and air transportation.
  • It helps avoid the wastage of perishable goods by extending their shelf life.
  • Reefer can bypass cond storage on arrival at the destination port as its self-contained refrigeration unit.
  • You can get a better return on investment with reefer cargo than with reefer ships.

What are the conditions for reefer cargo?

You can use reefer for transporting different types of perishable goods, but you should know that different perishable goods have different temperature and humidity requirements. Here are the three types of goods that have different conditions for reefer cargo, include:

  • Frozen goods

    The frozen goods include ice cream, frozen seafood, meat, poultry, and more. These goods require a temperature of -20°C and below to be stored and transported. This freezing temperature prevents spoilage and maintains the goods' aroma, flavor, texture, and quality.

  • Chilled goods

    The chilled goods include vegetables, seafood, dairy, eggs, and more. These goods require low temperatures, around 0°C. These goods also require a lot of moisture and gasses while transporting.

  • Special and miscellaneous cargo

    Additionally, ensuring the proper handling of reefer cargo involves adhering to industry-standard practices. Proper training in cargo unit handling and familiarity with reefer container handling procedures play crucial roles in maintaining the quality and safety of the transported goods. For those operating within this sphere, certifications like cargo unit handling certificates validate a comprehensive understanding of proper handling protocols, contributing to successful cargo handling operations.


The process of exporting and importing goods can seem intimidating because of large documentation requirements, poor stakeholder collaboration, and lack of transparency. However, you can export or import perishable goods more easily with reefer cargo. When you ship goods using reefer cargo, you should ensure that it practices proper storage to avoid the risk of spoilage. Perishable Logistics Services like Citrus also ensure it uses proper ventilation and correct settings.