Phase 3 - Loading of the refrigerated container


While we realize that P&I Club Members typically are not involved in the loading of perishable cargo in refrigerated containers for CY-CY shipments, we offer the following loading guidelines as best practices that can be passed on to suppliers, transloaders, cold storage operators and shippers.

P&I Club Members may be involved with loading perishable cargo for CFS shipments and/or through bills of lading involving transloads to and from refrigerated containers, railcars and/or refrigerated truck trailers. 

The shipping line typically arranges for the temperature and fresh air exchange (vent) to be set at the load port or off dock container yard, the shipper and/or their truckers and suppliers should check the refrigerated container to ensure that the temperature and vents are set according to the booking.

The shipper and/or their suppliers should also check to make certain that there are no visible damages to the container and that the container is clean and free of any odours. The shipper should also check to ensure the generator is operating and has adequate fuel for the trip.

The unit should be pre-cooled with the doors closed

After the unit has been pre-cooled, the unit should be shut down while the actual loading is taking place to prevent accumulation of moisture on the evaporator coil. 

It is very important that the cargo is cooled to its desired carrying temperature prior to loading. The reefer unit is not intended to cool cargo and this could result in excessive moisture on the evaporator coil.

Chilled Cargo Stowage Guidelines

For all chilled cargo such as fresh fruits, vegetables and chilled meat, we recommend that the hand stowed cargo or unitized, palletized cargo be stacked as a solid block in the seagoing container without any space between the cargo and the walls of the container.

In all instances, cargo should never be loaded above the red line or up against the container doors, which may block or hinder conditioned air circulation and, potentially result in substandard temperature management. Slip sheets or similar materials block air circulation and should never be used. The goal of proper stowage is to allow air to circulate through and around the chilled cargo. 

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