Exploring The Size And Capacity of Reefer Containers

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reefer Containers

Businesses that handle the transportation of perishable goods need to be well-versed in truck container capabilities. Reefer containers, commonly referred to as refrigerated containers, are an essential component of the global supply chain for the safe and effective transportation of perishable goods across extended distances. This comprehensive reference will explore the many aspects of refrigerated truck capacity, including their dimensions, sizes, and the factors that affect its useful capacity for different types of cargo. 

Introduction to Refrigerated Container Truck

Refrigerated containers are specialized shipping containers equipped with refrigeration machinery. Their design will maintain them at the same temperature regardless of the outside conditions. These containers are essential to the food and beverage, pharmaceutical, and floriculture industries because they preserve perishable commodities so well. 

Sizes and Dimensions

Refrigerated trucks come in two basic sizes, each designed to hold a specific range of commodities that are sensitive to temperature; these containers are necessary for the international shipping of perishable goods. This page provides a thorough analysis of the size and dimensions of truck containers, both 20 and 40 feet in length, along with an explanation of their capacities and any minor variations that may exist across units. 

20-foot Reefer Containers

Internal Dimensions: A standard 20-foot refrigerated container truck is 17.8 feet long, 7.5 feet wide, and 7.5 feet high inside. By using these measurements, we can ensure that the refrigeration unit can maintain the right temperature across the whole container while also maximizing the amount of space that is accessible. 

Gross Volume: When expressed in these dimensions, the gross volume of a 20-foot reefer container comes to about 1,000 cubic feet. This measurement indicates the amount of space that can be used for cargo before accounting for the space required for air circulation, which is essential to maintaining a constant temperature inside the container. 

Load Capacity: While the gross volume provides an approximate measure of the container’s size, the actual weight capacity depends on the kind of cargo and the tare weight of the container. The normal payload capacity of these containers is between 27,000 and 28,000 pounds, depending on the weight of the refrigeration unit and the need for sufficient ventilation. 

40-foot Reefer Containers

Internal Dimensions: The available surface is significantly more when one considers the internal measurements of a standard 40-foot refrigerated container truck, which are roughly 37.9 feet long, 7.5 feet wide, and 7.5 feet tall. This size works well for shipping larger things that yet require careful temperature control. 

Gross Volume: A 40-foot truck container has a volume gross of around 2,400 cubic feet. This enormous capacity makes it possible to transport more goods in a setting that is impervious to damage and spoilage. 

Load Capacity: 40-foot reefers have a maximum cargo capacity of 48,000 pounds, albeit this amount is subject to change, much like 20-foot containers. The exact capacity can be impacted by transport commodities, package density, and air circulation requirements. 

Effective Capacity Considerations

The effective capacity of a refrigerated truck depends on several variables, including 

Packaging and Storage: It is feasible to maximize the amount of space within the container by properly packing and stowing. However, make sure there’s adequate ventilation to maintain the desired temperature. 

Category of Goods: A product’s maximum permissible load in a container depends on its particular requirements for temperature, humidity, and airflow. For example, thick or strangely shaped objects may reduce the effective capacity. 

Temperature Conditions: The temperature required to transport the cargo may also have an impact on the container’s capacity. To exemplify the idea, certain commodities may require deep freezing during storage and transit to ensure that the cooling system keeps the necessary temperature throughout the consignment. 

Temperature Control and Modification

Because of their advanced refrigeration systems, which can maintain temperatures between -65°C (-85°F) and 30°C (86°F), truck containers are perfect for storing a wide range of products. The ability to precisely regulate temperature, humidity, and ventilation is essential for the preservation of goods that have a short shelf life. 

Technological Advancements

Refrigerated container trucks of today are increasingly using electronics to improve monitoring and efficiency. Modern insulation materials, remote control functions, and temperature monitoring in real time all add to the effectiveness of refrigerated transportation, which is essential for safeguarding delicate goods. 

Operational Challenges and Solutions

Refrigerated truck operations involve several challenges that must be met. These include managing the need for pre-cooling, supplying a constant power source, and handling the risk of cargo deterioration. Other practical possibilities include being exceptionally well-prepared before shipment, using gensets to ensure power remains on during transit, and adhering to the best standards when loading and unloading freight. 

The Role of Refrigerated Containers in Global Trade

Reefer containers, which are crucial to international trade, enable the movement of perishable goods between continents. Their capacity to maintain commodities at a constant quality has completely changed the food supply chain, enabling the year-round availability of once-seasonal items as well as assisting in the global distribution of medications and other perishable goods. 


The volume capacity of truck containers—which typically range from 1,000 to 2,400 cubic feet in normal sizes—is crucial to chilled transportation. The effective capacity for product transportation is determined by several factors, including the nature of the cargo, the effectiveness of the packaging, and the required temperature conditions. Especially in light of recent technical advancements and a greater focus on sustainability, refrigerated containers have been and will continue to be a crucial component of the global supply chain for the safe, effective, and environmentally responsible transportation of perishable goods. As the demand for chilled transportation grows, companies looking to maximize their supply chain operations must comprehend the advantages and disadvantages of refrigerated container trucks.