Photo: Dr. Jean-Paul Rodrigue, 2006.
Refrigerated containers represent a growing share of the containerized traffic handling temperature-sensitive agricultural products and seafood. While a regular containership has several slots that can be used to house reefers (require electric power supply), there are also specialized containerships designed specifically to carry reefers. They tend to be of smaller size but able to travel at higher speeds, thus more suitable to the perishable nature of the products they transport as well as the specialized markets they service. Many reefer containership designs also carry their own cranes as many docks at small private ports servicing only a fruit export function and thus having limited or no intermodal equipment available.
On the above photo, a geared reefer containership is entering the harbor of Zeebrugge (Belgium) where a section of the port is specializing in receiving fruits from all over the world. Some temperature standards are being used, such as “banana” (13 oC), “chill” (2 oC), “frozen” (-18 C) and “deep-frozen” (-29 oC).