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Packaging & stowage guideline for reefer cargo

Packaging requirements

Packaging plays an important role when it comes to protecting the cargo. The packaging material must be able to support a stacking height of up to 2.4 metres (7’10’’). The material should be able to withstand humidity without collapsing, and should allow the passage of an adequate vertical airflow through the cartons in order to maintain the desired temperature. As the air comes from the bottom of the container, the optimal air circulation can be achieved if each carton has symmetrical holes at both the top and bottom. The number, placement, size and shape of the air holes are determined by the product being packaged (as in fig. )

Furthermore, the wrapping material used should be sufficiently secure to prevent any blockage of the evaporator fan. If Humidity Control is to be used for transportation, use wax-impregnated cardboard or other materials that will not lose strength in high-humidity environments.

Packaging of frozen cargo
Fig: Packaging requirement of frozen cargo:
(1)Carton alignment for unrestricted airflow
(2) Strength of cartons in the corners
(3) Corners of cartons supported

Stowage requirements

Stowage should enable the air to circulate properly. Heat, water vapour, carbon dioxide and other gases produced by the respiration process from chilled fresh products may damage the product and should therefore be removed. The stuffing should allow the refrigerated air to circulate through the packaging material and throughout the entire load.



If the cargo cannot cover the entire floor area, heavy cardboard must be placed over the empty space. Cool delivery air will always take the route of least resistance, thus causing a “short circuit” of airflow resulting in insufficient cooling of the cargo.

Cargo must never, under any circumstances, be stowed above the red load line. This is to ensure the proper circulation of refrigerated air. Slip sheets should not be used for fresh, chilled cargo.

For palletised cargo, the following steps are recommended:

• The cartons must be stacked squarely on top of one another to ensure that the weight is evenly distributed to the four corners of the cartons.

• The corners of each carton should be supported directly by the pallet.

• Place cartons on the pallets so that air flow up into the cartons is not restricted.

• The ventilation holes, located at the top and bottom of the cartons, must be aligned to allow the air to pass freely through the entire load.

• Shrink-wrapped pallets, slip sheets, foam trays, plastic bags or similar materials that may obstruct and block the air passage should not be used.

• If pallets are wrapped with plastic to provide stability, do not cover the bottom or the top of the cartons.

Dedicated reefer ship
Fig: Dedicated reefer ship underway



Other useful articles :
  1. Methods of refrigeration

  2. Refrigeration is essentially the removal of heat through the process of evaporation. We choose to refrigerate commodities such as fruits and vegetables because we want to prolong their “practical shelf life” – the time from harvest until the product loses its commercial value.
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  3. Reefer cargo stuffing

  4. it is essential that all products are treated correctly prior to stuffing. Even though the temperature, ventilation and humidity are all optimal during the entire voyage, products will only arrive in perfect condition if the pre-treatment has been performed correctly. Successful shipping begins at the product sourcing area.
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  5. Growing demand for container refrigeration

  6. On deck refrigerated containers are generally serviced by clip-on air cooled electric motor drive cooling units. The units are plugged into the ships electrical system by way of suitable deck sockets.
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  7. Frozen products packaging requirement

  8. Proper packaging procedures will help protect frozen cargo during transport. Frozen products do not require air holes in the top and bottom of the cartons. Air flowing around the load is sufficient to remove heat that has penetrated the container. The cartons should be stacked directly on top of each other to take advantage of their strength in the corners.
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  9. Packaging & stowage guideline for reefer cargo

  10. Packaging plays an important role when it comes to protecting the cargo. The packaging material must be able to support a stacking height of up to 2.4 metres (7’10’’). The material should be able to withstand humidity without collapsing, and should allow the passage of an adequate vertical airflow through the cartons in order to maintain the desired temperature..
    More .....

  11. Choice of packaging for various commodities

  12. Goods should be well stowed within the package, evenly distributed and properly secured. Items completely filling the case or carton contribute to the strength of the whole package. Items which do not completely fill the package must be cushioned against shock or vibration.
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  13. How to keep cargo fresh ?

  14. Proper ventilation of fresh, chilled products is necessary to remove the heat, carbon dioxide and other gases produced by the cargo. Heat is removed by continuously circulating the internal air, whereas carbon dioxide and other gases are removed by replacing the internal air supply with cooled fresh air..
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  15. Loading precautions for refrigerated cargoes

  16. Refrigerated cargoes include meat carcases, carton (packed) meat, fruit, cheese, butter, fish and offal. Ships are specifically designed for their carriage, with separate spaces in holds and ’tween decks, each fitted with suitable insulation and individual control of ventilation. Ordinary general cargoes may be carried in the spaces at other times, the temperature being regulated accordingly for the type of cargo being carried.
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  17. Role classification societies maintaining seaworthiness of vessels

  18. classification societies publish rules and regulations which are principally concerned with the strength of the ship, the provision of adequate equipment, and the reliability of the machinery .
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  19. Periodic survey requirement by classification societies

  20. To maintain the assigned class all steel ships are required to be surveyed and examined by the Society’s surveyors at regular periods. The major hull items to be examined at these surveys only are discussed here..
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