Reefer cargo losses due temperature failure & preventive measures
If inland transit time is greater than 2 hours for chilled cargo and 8 hours for frozen cargo, it is recommended to use the generator set to supply power to container during inland tracking . IF A GENERATOR IS NOT AVAILABLE, THEN IT is SUGGESTED THAT THE CONTAINER IS PLACED ON POWER FOR AT LEAST 6 HOURS PRIOR TO THE TRANSPORT . THIS WILL ALLOW THE MACHINERY TO EXPELL THE AMBIENT AIR THAT HAS ACCUMULATED INSIDE THE CONTAINER DURING LOADING. THUS THE PRODUCT TEMPERATURE IS STABILISED BEFORE TRANSPORT. FOR A 40 feet REEFER IT IS ESTIMATED THAT APPROXIMATELY 10 TO 13M3 OF AMBIENT AIR IS ACCUMULATED INSIDE THE CONTAINER.
Laden heat from external ambient may cause raise in carriage temperature if the reefer unit is left off power for too long.
Hence it is always recommended to truck reefer cargo during cooler climate (at night) or with clip on generator set to ensure continue power supply during land transportation.
Fig: Reefer container heating process
due to Poor Paperwork
The following reefer cargo claims resulted from
errors made by the ship's agent when
entering temperatures on the ship's
documents or by inputting incorrect
details into a computer.
Cheese from Denmark to the UK was
carried at 0 deg C instead of minus 20 deg C.
Concrete additives from Bremerhaven
to Helsinki, which needed to be
maintained at a temperature of +10 deg C
to prevent frost damage, were carried
at minus 6 deg C.
Bottles of wine from Antwerp to the
US were carried at minus 20 deg C.
Frozen beef was stored at +2 deg C as
the temperatures for two reefers had
been transposed by the Agent.
Instructions for Reefer
When the ambient temperature is warmer
than the cargo, operating the reefer with the
rear doors open will NOT cool down the
cargo. The introduction of hot ambient air
will heat up the cargo instead.
When hot humid air enters the reefer,
moisture condenses on the cold cooling coil
and turns to ice. Ethylene entering the reefer
from genset exhaust may cause ripening
of fresh produce. Exhaust odour may give
product off-fl avours. Cooled air escapes out
the rear door, and the cycle continues.
Once loading is complete and the doors
are closed the reefer could run for hours with
a partially iced up cooling coil, reducing its
cooling effect, and putting the cargo in danger
until the unit completes a defrost cycle
A port agent in the UK received a
container list from his principal's
South American agent. This included
two containers of frozen meat
shipped at minus 18 deg C. When this
information was transferred to
the agent's computer system, the
containers were shown as containing
film with a temperature setting of
+13 deg C.
Unfortunately, the error was
not picked up even after additional
checking, with the result that when
the containers were discharged at
the UK port they were set to +13 deg C
in accordance with the agent's
instructions. Three days after arrival
at the container depot, blood was
seen seeping from the doors of the
containers, these were then opened
to reveal the rapidly thawing beef.
The temperature control was re-set
to minus 18 deg C to try to stabilise
the consignment. Surveyors were
immediately instructed by the
carrier's P&I Club, and the Port Health
Authority issued notices stating that
the consignment could not be used
for human consumption.
An offer was accepted for salvage, this
reduced the claim against the agent
and was settled by the Club.
Our detail pages below examine some typical cases of damage to reefer cargoes & countermeasures against future claims
Related reefer damage cases :
- Ships failure to maintain necessary conditions
- Frozen lobster damage case and receiver claimed
- Failure to instruct terminal resulting damage to reefer cargo
- Practice of carrying unrefrigerated cargo in reefer containers
- Agents liability for a damage survey at discharge port
- Contamination of a tank container carrying wine
- Delivery of frozen beef without issuing a B/L caused a reefer claim
- Preventing garlic damage in a consignment - related recommendations
Refrigerated commodity pre -shipment failure to provide suitable condition - various countermeasures
Copyright © 2011 www.reefercargocare.com All rights reserved.
All information contained in this website is for preliminary
information only and is not legally binding. The publisher of this website cannot take responsibility for any damage to your reefer cargo due inadequate data or errors. For any remarks please
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.
- How refrigeration process works in a reefer container ?
- Chilled and frozen refrigerated cargo - stuffing requirements
- Integrated reefer containers transporting commodities at trans-ocean services
- Maintenance requirement for integrated reefer containers