Shipping Perishable Goods in Shipping Containers

shipping containters infographic

Whether you are looking to ship goods down the round, to the other side of the country, or even to another country entirely, the intermodal shipping container is an excellent way to transport lots of different types of cargo. If you take a look around your home or office, you will most likely be surrounded by many items which have found their way to you through being transported using shipping containers.

  • Electronics
  • Furniture
  • Machines
  • Clothing
  • Food

The list goes on for quite some time, but you get the general idea. When you are shipping items such as computers, household furniture or clothing, the temperature of the shipping container is not so important, as long as the products are protected from the elements.
When you are shipping perishable goods, however, it is critical that the produce is kept within a certain temperature range in order to make sure that it arrives at its destination in good condition, as well as being nice and fresh. This is especially so when you are shipping over long distances, as without a temperature controlled environment, you will find the goods have perished by the time they arrive at their destination.

You can find shipping containers for sale in Australia by PCS that are suitable for transporting perishable goods, to make sure that they are delivered in good condition so that they can be sold to the consumer. The two kinds of shipping containers that are most suited to this task are refrigerated shipping containers, and also insulated shipping containers, which are very similar, but do have significant differences.

The Refrigerated Shipping Container

You usually find that a refrigerated shipping container is available in either 20 foot or 40 foot sizes, and can be used to carry a wide variety of different cargo. A refrigerated shipping container is also known as Integral Reefer Container and can control the internal temperature of the shipping container through its integral refrigeration unit. When these types of shipping containers are being transported by ship, they are connected to the ships power supply which allows the refrigeration unit to run, keeping a constant temperature.

When the refrigerated shipping containers are transported by either rail or road, they are connected to an external power supply, such as a generator, in order to regulate and control the temperature inside of the shipping container. This means that no matter how the shipping containers are transported, you can keep the inside of the shipping container at a stable and constant temperature. Out of the two types of shipping containers that are used to transport perishable goods, the refrigerated shipping container is the most popular choice.

The Insulated Shipping Container

The insulated shipping container is also commonly known as a porthole container and is very similar to a refrigerated shipping container. Both types of shipping containers are insulated to help maintain a constant temperature inside, but the main different between the two is that an insulated shipping container does not have an integral refrigeration unit. They still work, in the same way, by pumping cool air in the bottom of the unit, and extracting warm air from the top, but when being transported by a shipping vessel they will be connected directly to the ships cooling plant. This allows the shipping container to have its internal temperature regulated so that it is possible to maintain a constant temperature.

The only difference that you can see on the outside of a refrigerated or insulated shipping container is that a refrigerated shipping container has a compressor which is visible, whereas an insulated shipping container has two holes at the top and bottom of one of the ends, which look like portholes.

Packing the Shipping Container

No matter which type of a shipping container you decide to use to transport your perishable goods, you are still going to have to pack the shipping container efficiently and make sure that the maximum amount of cargo can be loaded, whilst still being able to keep it at the desired temperature. There are many different types of goods which need to be transported at a controlled temperature such as;

  • Fresh fruit
  • Vegetables
  • Flowers
  • Meat
  • Fish
  • Prepared Meals
  • Dairy Products

Depending on the type of product that you are transporting, you will need to make sure that that they are suitably packaged. Each item that can be transported has its own unique requirements in order to make sure that they arrive in a fresh condition. This can include special boxes or packaging, as well as also having everything wrapped up in polythene bags, to keep the air out and prevent oxidation, as well as also helping to keep any water contained in the event of it melting or thawing out.

Insulated foam containers are superb to use as they can help to keep the temperature down for the contents inside, and they do not add a lot of weight as they are very light. Additionally ice can also be added to the foam boxes which are good when you are transporting things such as fish, or other types of seafood.

If the cargo is required to be kept frozen, then you will need to add more packaging than if it only requires to be chilled. This means that you will need to plan the packing of your shipping container accordingly, and make sure that you have all of the necessary packing materials in order to keep your cargo at the correct temperature. It also goes without saying that the distance that the shipping container is going to have to travel needs to be taken into account, as well as any restrictions which are placed on perishable goods when transporting your cargo to a different country.

All of the information that is required can be found on the internet, or you can also consult the shipping companies whose services you are using. If you pack your shipping container correctly and have all of your paperwork in order, you can transport your cargo halfway around the world, and it will still be in excellent condition when it arrives at its destination.

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Written by Guest Contributor

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