Episode 31: Reefer Container: Structure and Loading

Container identification | Who is responsible for load securing? | Friction value on the truck | Incoming container inspection

Episode 31: Reefer Container: Structure and Loading

Refrigerated containers have become an indispensable part of the logistics industry. They offer the possibility of transporting refrigerated goods at a defined temperature and monitoring the temperature profile.

Compared with the past, when refrigeration had to be provided by the means of transport, today's integral containers are easier to handle. The refrigeration unit is built into the container, which has the minor disadvantage that less storage space is available because the external dimensions are standardized.

Sigurd Ehringer - SeLogCon

About the author:

In a series of specialist articles from the field, on topics relating to containers and trucks, you will receive first-hand professional knowledge.
How to secure cargo correctly and what are the basics of cargo securing?

They are developed and presented by Sigurd Ehringer, owner of SE-LogCon:

  • VDI certified instructor for load securing
  • Reference book author
  • 8 years Project Manager
  • 12 years with the Bundeswehr (company commander)
  • 20 years of sales experience
  • since 1996 consultant/trainer in logistics
  • 44 years instructor/trainer in various fields

Episode 31: Reefer Container: Structure and Loading

The two pictures show a typical Type 45R1 refrigerated container with integrated refrigeration unit at the front.

The view into the interior shows the aluminum paneling and the floor consisting of aluminum grating.

This type of soil is mainly used for airflow.

The markings slightly below the ceiling show the maximum height at which the load may be stowed so as not to impede air circulation.

The marking can also be executed as a line. The type of execution is not defined.

Cargo securing is somewhat difficult because the refrigerated container does not have the usual lashing points on the lower and upper longitudinal members. It is designed to fill the cargo space positively and completely.

Another special feature is the floor. It consists of gratings in the longitudinal direction to ensure air circulation in the container.

The heated air is sucked in by the unit at the top, cooled in the unit and pressed back into the grating bottom.

The power of the unit is not designed to cool a load to the target temperature, but to keep the load at the temperature it has at the time of stowage. Palletized goods in particular should be stowed in such a way that the air can also flow upwards between the parts of the load.

The gaps in this cargo allow sufficient air flow to the top. The upright pallets as spacers and gap fillers favor this.

It is essential to observe the maximum stowage height in order to ensure temperature control during the entire transport process.

If positive stowage in the container is not possible, other aids must be used. Lashings are standard applications that rely on the presence of lashing points.

These lashing points are precisely what is uncertain. They are not included in all refrigerated containers. It is crucial to point out that lashing points are required when procuring the container. The shipping company or forwarder should be able to provide information about their loading capacity.

The arrows point to ridges in the grating base that are intended for lashing. They are not standardized.

The position on the floor is not uniform, but varies from manufacturer to manufacturer. The tensile strength (LC) is also not defined. In case of doubt, consultation with the manufacturer, shipowner or freight forwarder is indispensable.

When using dunnage, care must be taken to ensure that the internal pressure also reacts to temperature fluctuations.

If the temperature is relatively high at the time of stowage and is then greatly reduced by the refrigeration unit, problems may arise due to pressure drop. This must be taken into account when planning the transport.

Various lashing points are offered on the market. It is important to observe the manufacturer's instructions for use or to ask for them.

This lashing point is designed to attach lashing straps for the tie-down method.

To a lesser extent, the vertical edge can also be used for form fit.

The graphic shows how the lashing point is pushed into the grating floor from the door side.

The eyebolt must be screwed into the re-bearing with a specified torque in order to increase the friction via the contact pressure.

Always follow the manufacturer's instructions.

You can see the application of a reefer lashing point during loading in the adjacent video.


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Another system for securing cargo is based on air-filled dunnage. The so-called "SAM system".

It consists of two interconnected dunnage pads, which are additionally coated with anti-slip material on the outer sides, creating an additional frictional force to the container walls, in addition to the positive fit.

The lateral stowage cushions are connected to a sturdy tarpaulin, especially in the case of the door-side system, which additionally secures the load. For small loads, a tarpaulin can also be useful on the top side.

The dimensioning must be made up so that the cross tarpaulin is taut after filling.

The S.A.M. System is assembled according to the specific application.

The shipping company must therefore consider how its products can be secured in the refrigerated container so that the requirements of the CTU Code are met.

The shipping company and the control authorities in the port are guided by these specifications. In case of doubt, the container does not go on board. This delay can result in unpleasantly high costs.

It is certainly cheaper to agree on a reasonable, expedient and safe solution with the experts beforehand.

Your Sigurd Ehringer.

Sabine NaglerCustomer center - G&H GmbH Rothschenk

Picture company building Rothschenk
An employee of G&H GmbH Rothschenk sews a webbing strap to a dunnage bag.

On our own account:
Rothschenk. That's us.

Rothschenk is a manufacturer of load securing equipment for overseas containers. In the tranquil town of Aub in central Franconia, we develop, test and sell our own load securing equipment such as dunnage bags/padding, Lashing restraint systems, Edge Protectors, Anti-slip Mats, Lashing Straps and drum securement. You can get a small insight into our product world in our Online Shop: [R] SHOP24.

We develop for our customers, to whom also large corporations e.g. from the CHEMICALS-, BEVERAGES- and Automotive industry belong, individual load securing. Therefore we are used to come up with new products and solutions in our own research and test department.

We stand for quality "Made in Germany„. Not only in development, but also in production. Because we are the only manufacturer for load securing with our own production site in Germany. Real "Made in Germany" even.

>> Please use the comment function below for suggestions, additions and also for further questions.

We will, of course, respond promptly and professionally. Your Rothschenk Team

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Dear Customers. Our shop is a shop for companies and commercial customers (B2B-shop). Unfortunately, orders by private individuals cannot be taken.