What is a Reefer Shipping Container: Uses & Dimensions

Reefer shipping containers keep your inventory cool all season.

It’s easy to take for granted running into your local supermarket to pick up produce that’s either not in season or not native to your region. No matter the supermarket, chances are strong that they rely on logistics to get produce on their shelves.

Farms in Mexico, California and Florida provide most of our country’s fruits and vegetables. Distributors pack their temperature-controlled warehouses full of their products so they will be ready to send out to retailers, i.e., supermarkets.

This is where insulated storage containers come into the picture.

What is a reefer container?

A reefer container is a refrigerated shipping container used to store perishable goods and other items that need to be temperature controlled. They are essentially large portable refrigerators that allow fruits and vegetables to get to supermarkets at the exact level of ripeness desired.

These containers are a great fit for many businesses and trades. From the food and restaurant industry all the way to the pharmaceutical industry, these storage containers are ideal for storing perishable items that need to avoid extreme temperature fluctuations.

How do reefer containers work?

Refrigerated containers, or "reefers," come in different lengths and are electrically powered. United Rentals offers reefer containers in 20-foot and 40-foot configurations.

Reefer containers have different temperature modes and ventilation systems. They can maintain a consistent temperature, fluctuate temperature during travel, or even warm up goods when required. Forced cool air circulation prevents chilled products from ripening too quickly, ensuring a longer shelf life and maintaining the market value. The ventilation system allows for fresh air to circulate within the container to remove unwanted gases and moisture.

There are also insulated containers, which are different from refrigerated storage containers. Insulated containers are modified steel shipping containers. Well insulated and optionally equipped with electricity, these containers are used for storing goods that don't require a controlled temperature, just a steady one.

Insulated shipping containers maintain a moderate temperature. Working like a cooler, they do not allow for air exchange, and because these containers are airtight, they help to prevent the decay of the goods stored.

United Rentals has reefer containers and insulated storage containers available in select office locations. Click here to contact your local branch location for availability and learn more.

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