Each product has an optimum storage temperature which is the ideal condition for transportation. Generally, this is the coolest temperature a product can withstand before chilling or freeze injury occurs.
Physiological damage can occur to tropical and subtropical products which have been exposed to low but non-freezing temperatures. The most common example is the browning of banana skins. Often the damage only becomes visible when the product is returned to ‘room temperature’.
Products that can withstand cold temperatures can still become damaged when they reach freezing point. This occurs when the cellular structure of the product is ruptured by the expansion of water during the freezing process. It can cause products to appear water-soaked with damaged structures.
Humidity levels play a crucial role in achieving the optimum condition for cargo during transit. MSC’s world-leading reefer fleet features cutting-edge dehumidification technology, helping to protect fresh produce from shrivelling or excessive water loss. Please note that the services we provide can only reduce humidity; we cannot increase humidity levels within the container.
Ventilation protects chilled commodities from damage caused by a build-up of carbon dioxide and ethylene. If too much carbon dioxide accumulates inside the container, the internal tissues of products such as pears and apples may become discoloured. Ethylene is a hormone produced by all fruits, vegetables and flowers. Although it is necessary for the ripening process of fruit, it can damage other cargo such as green vegetables. MSC’s reefer units are fitted with vents to allow fresh air to circulate freely, without letting in too much moisture.