Understanding reefer containers and refrigerated shipments

General cargo containers are very useful when used in transportation of consumer goods that do not require special conditions.

You can use a 20ft dry container when transporting textiles from China to USA, 40ft dry container when transporting automobile spare parts from Japan to Holland or 45ft pallet wide dry container when transporting mobile phones from Tawian to UK.

But some goods require special conditions. 

For example you can not carry fresh fruits with a general cargo containers from Brazil to European Union countries.

The average transport time between a port of loading in Brazil to Port of discharge in Europe is 25-35 days.

If you ship fresh fruits with a general cargo containers from Brazil to Europe, the cargo turns into trash and lost its economical value during the transportation.

As a result you have to ship perishable goods via reefer or refrigerated containers.

Today I am going to explain the basics of reefer containers and refrigerated shipments. 

What does 22RT, 42RT and 45RT mean in international container transportation?

There are various types and sizes of containers available in international transportation. 

Most of the containers are designed to be using in transportation of general cargo. These containers are known as general purpose containers.

Small amount of containers are designed to be used in transportation of special cargo. These kind of special cargo containers are named according to their usage such as reefer container, isolated containers, refrigerated containers, tank containers, bulk container, platform containers etc...

All containers, general or special purpose, should be marked according to ISO Shipping Container Size Codes.

What does 22RT, 42RT and 45RT mean?

22'RT, 42'RT and 45'RT are the ISO Shipping Container Size Codes for 20 feet reefer container, 40 feet reefer container and 45 feet highcube reefer container respectively.

  • 22RT 20 Feet Refrigerated Container: These containers have the same standard sizes as 20 feet dry container. Reefer containers are especially suitable for cargo which requires constant temperature levels above or below freezing point. 
        Food can be transported with these containers.
  • 42RT 40 Feet Refrigerated Container: 40ft refrigerated containers have very similar inside dimensions as 40 feer dry container. They are suitable for cargo that requires constant temperatures during the transportation.
        Food can be transported with these containers.
  • 45RT 45 Feet Highcube Refrigerated Container: 45ft highcube reefer containers and 45ft dry highcube containers share similar interior dimensions. It is possible to carry perishable goods that need constant temperature during the transportation.

        Food can be transported with these containers.

NOT: 45RC is the ISo code of 45 Feet Highcube Refrigerated Container which is suitable for carriage of chemicals. 45RC container is not suitable for food stuff carriage.