When stuffing a reefer container it is important to consider the commodity type and packaging being used.
This will help you to decide the best stuffing pattern for your cargo based on its requirement of free flowing air around or between products.
As a general rule, pre-cooled frozen cargoes only require free flowing air to circulate around the product, whereas chilled commodities such as fresh fruit and vegetables require air to flow through the cargo. This is because chilled products produce respiratory heat which needs to be removed to avoid damage to cargo due to temperature change.
There are two recommended patterns to follow when loading your reefer cargo:
Block stowage is usually used for loose cargo which is not palletised. Depending on the commodity being loaded and the cartons being used, either a weave block (Image A) or a chimney pattern (Image B) are commonly used for block stowage.
Image A: Weave block
Image B: Chimney Pattern
When loading palletised cargo it is important to ensure your cartons are securely supported. Corners of boxes must be aligned with the corners of the pallet to ensure weight is supported from the bottom structure upwards.
As the containers we provide are bottom airflow reefers, it is essential that air holes are aligned to ensure the air can move freely through the cargo. This is essential for chilled, perishable products.
Image C: Example of securely loaded palletised cargo
Palletised stowage provides flexibility in the loading patterns with six recommended options:
Image D: Six recommended loading options for palletised stowage.
Image E: Palletised stowage within a container.
Reefer container stuffing
Image F: Examples of incorrectly stuffed reefer containers.
It is essential when stuffing a reefer container that cargo is loaded up to the edge of the T-floor. This will ensure an even flow of air around the container.
When there is not enough cargo to fill the entire T-floor, we recommend using a filler or dunnage to cover the vacant area. This can also be used to cover the centre panel between pallets where there is empty space.
By following this guidance you can ensure the air within the reefer container doesn’t circulate past the cargo rather than your desired route around or through the goods.
Please note that as an exception, appropriately pre-cooled frozen cargo can be loaded as per the third image, however appropriate bracing would be required.
When using palletised stowage, it is recommended that the last cargo loaded into the container should be covered to encourage air flow through the cargo and prevent air escaping through the open space around the cartons.
At all times remember not to load cargo beyond the red load line of the container or beyond the end of the T-floor.
Image G: Side view of a correctly stuffed reefer container.
Image H: Loading and airflow within reefer containers.
Image I: Top view of reefer container stuffing.
Other useful reefer information: