Do you have frozen and/or perishable items to import to Nigeria? There is no point being afraid your perishable and frozen foods might get spoilt before they reach Nigeria. Importing perishables and frozen foods is also profitable.
The 6 Types of Shipping Containers
There are 6 types of shipping containers used in freight forwarding, as follows:
- Dry storage containers – these are the standard previously mentioned shipping containers, which are used to ship dry materials, normally in 10ft, 20ft and 40ft lengths.
- Flat rack containers – these contain collapsible sides which fold, ideal for shipping boats, equipment and cars.
- Open side containers – here the doors to the containers can be opened completely on the side, which allows for wider loading of materials, ideal for shipping vegetables.
- Open top containers – as per the title, these containers have no roof, which enables goods of any height to be shipped, such as logs or machinery.
- Tanks – these are designed to retain liquids (including fuels), and
- Refrigerated containers – for food stock, pharmaceutical goods or wines
Importing Perishables and frozen foods
The Reefer Container is in other words the Refrigerated Containers. In terms of structure, they all appear alike but functions quite differently.
They are typically large fridges with the capacity to control the temperature. This makes them ideal for importing perishables and frozen foods such as vegetables, fruits, meat, fish, seafood, dairy and non-food products like flowers, pharmaceuticals etc.
Reefer container becomes an important part of your business if you deal with perishable or frozen goods. Some perishable goods need to be moved in chilled condition maintaining a controlled temperatures.
The Reefer has the ability to maintain at required temperatures throughout the period of transit.
How Reefer Containers Actually Work
Reefer containers require a constant supply of electricity to maintain its temperature. The powers are supplied by the power outlets of the vessel or by portable generators.
Another amazing fact is that it has the ability to adjust temperatures where necessary, i.e.
‘Reefer containers can maintain cargo temperatures of between -35°C and +35°C regardless of the outside environmental conditions. They do this by channelling air underneath the cargo through T-shaped decking.
This is been specifically designed to ensure air can flow across the entire shipment correctly.’ – credit to tradefinanceglobal.com.
The control unit on the container allows for the setting and adjustment of parameters such as temperature, humidity, ventilation and atmosphere. The settings used will vary depending on the type of cargo being transported.
For example, controlling the CO2 and O2 levels in a unit containing fruit can substantially lengthen the ripening process, allowing it to be kept fresher for longer. Many types of fruit require no humidity control, but most will need to be stored at a very specific temperature.
Benefits of a Reefer Container
Over the last decade, reefer containers have been successfully competing for trade with reefer ships and have quickly increased their market share. This is no surprise when you consider the following advantages:
i. They often don’t need to be put into cold storage upon arrival at their destination as they are self-contained refrigerated units.
ii. They are available in a variety of dimensions, which makes them suitable for road, sea, and air transportation.
iii. They can be partitioned to create different departments at different temperatures. This allows for the storage of both frozen and chilled goods in the same container.
iv. They are durable and can remain operational in harsh environmental conditions.
v. They can be transported by diversified carriers. This offers greater financial security and a faster return on investment than specialised reefer ships.
vi. They can prevent products from ripening too quickly and ensure a longer shelf-life by circulating cool air.
Types of Refrigerated Shipping Containers
1. Closed Reefer: This is a conventional type refrigerated container. It comes in one-piece with integral front wall and an all-electric automatic cooling and heating unit for ISO sea-going containers.
2. Modified/ Controlled Atmosphere (MA/CA) reefer containers: These type of insulated shipping container maintain a constant atmosphere by replacing consumed oxygen using an air exchange system. It keeps an ideal atmosphere in equilibrium with the product’s deterioration rate.
3. Automatic Fresh Air Management Containers: Popularly known by its acronym – AFAM. This reefer container uses advanced technology to regulate the air combination by automatically adjusting the scale of fresh air exchange. It works similar to Controlled Atmosphere refrigerated container, controlling the composition of oxygen, carbon dioxide and others. The controls of the AFAM refrigerated containers can be adjusted to influence and extend the shelf lives of the cargo they carry.
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