Keeping reefer maintenance records
Most reefer container owners
provide a logbook in a pocket on
the control panel door along with
the circuit diagrams. The log book's
use is not monitored and often the
last entry may have been made two
or three years ago, or the logbook
has been lost and not replaced.
From the container owner's point of
view, the log book is not considered
very important, so no record is kept
to indicate when a maintenance
procedure is performed on the
Competent person for doing the maintenance job
Authorised service providers
are responsible for carrying
out reefer container machinery
maintenance. Before any loaded
passage, the machinery must
undergo a thorough and detailed
inspection and all maintenance
checks must be carried out as
stipulated by the manufacturer; the
desired result being maintenance
free carriage of the reefer cargo.
These maintenance procedures
are expected to be carried out by
shore staff (an authorised service
provider, ASP) that have service
contracts with the container owners
(or the agents).
The ASP's technicians are trained
by the manufacturer and their skills
are upgraded through frequent
training programmes and workshops.
Most manufacturers stipulate that
80% of the technicians should
have undergone one of their
training programmes and that 50%
should have attended upgrading
programmes in the last three years.
The manufacturer's authorisation
indirectly guarantees the quality of
the job carried out.
An ASP is also responsible for
carrying out warranty jobs on reefer
container machinery, free of charge
to the customer on a priority basis,
including the replacement of spares
on behalf of the manufacturer. In
return, the service provider receives
a discount on the cost of spares.
An ASP is also expected to keep a
minimum inventory of the spare
parts stipulated by the manufacturer.
The aim is to provide prompt and
efficient service to the customer
and maintain the manufacturer's
reputation in the market.
Exclusivity of the
Service providers may have
authorisation from any number
of manufacturers such as Carrier,
Thermo King, Daikin or Mitsubishi.
ASPs do not sell reefer container
machinery, they only service it. Spare
parts are replaced as necessary.
Regardless of the make of the
container requiring maintenance,
the service provider has to be able to
provide the necessary service using
the particular manufacturer's spare
parts. The service provider signs
contracts with different competing
container owners (or their agents)
for storage space and servicing,
repairing and preparing the reefer
Once a reefer container has been
unpacked at the consignee's
premises, the owner's agent sends
it to the ASP's depot, where a
preliminary inspection is carried
out and a report submitted to the
owner's agent highlighting any major
visible defects. As soon as possible,
a detailed physical and operational
inspection is carried out by the
service provider. A report including
a cost estimate is then submitted to
the owner's agent.
repairs may be granted subject to the
agent's financial authority to accept
the estimate and authorise repairs up
to a certain limit. The service provider
carries out only the repairs authorised
by the agent.
The container is stored
in the storage depot until needed for
the next consignment of cargo. Once
a cargo is found by the agent, notice
is given to the service provider to
carry out the final inspection of the
container and prepare it for carriage
of the specified cargo. This may
involve the provision of additional
fittings inside the container. When
the container is fully prepared for a
specified cargo as per the shipper's
requirements, it is inspected by a
surveyor appointed by the shipper
and then taken to the packing area.
Reefer cargo is usually packed in
a refrigerated loading bay where
the temperature is the same as that
required by the cargo during the
passage. After loading the container
goes to Customs, and then to the
port where it is kept at a site with
reefer points. Electric power is
connected as soon as possible to
keep the machinery running and
maintain the temperature.
service provider is usually contracted
to supervise the plugging,
unplugging and running of the
reefer machinery during the waiting
period until it is finally connected
to a ship's power supply.
designated ship arrives and is ready
for loading, the reefer container
is unplugged and loaded into its
allocated slot on the ship. As soon as
possible it is connected to the ship's
power supply to keep the reefer
owners have comprehensive
check lists to ensure that both the
requirements of the consignee and
the cargo are met.