Cargo Handling – Pre-cooling of Reefer Cargo

reefer container air flow

Cargo Handling

Pre-cooling of Reefer Cargo:

  • Products should always be pre-cooled to the required temperature before being loaded into the container. Doing this avoid product temperature fluctuation and maintain the quality and freshness of perishable products and avoid spoilage.
  • Reefer containers are designed to maintain the temperature of the products they contain. It is a miss to lower it.
  • Cargo loaded at temperatures above reefer container set temperature can cause considerable strain on the reefer unit and may eventually result in a breakdown.

Preparation Process:

  • Cargo must be properly pre-cooled to its desired temperature prior to loading.
  • Ensure reefer container has been set with the correct temperature setting. Take careful note on +/- and C/F.
  • Air vents are to be opened to the required setting. The correct setting depends on the cargo.
  • Switch off the reefer machinery 15 mins before door opening and during cargo stuffing to avoid condensation and vacuum damage.
  • If inland transit time is greater than 1 hours for chilled cargo and 2 hours for frozen cargo, it is recommended to use the generator set to supply power to container during inland tracking.


  • Operating reefer machinery when the doors are open causes hot ambient air to rapidly move into the container and heat up the cargo instead. When humid air enters the reefer, moisture condenses on interior surfaces and product, which may cause cargo damage.

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