Refrigerated Shipping Container Cost

In the market for a reefer container? Our guide shares what you need to make an informed decision from refrigerated shipping container cost, features, and more.

Whether you’re working in the food industry, with the healthcare industry, or in any place where temperature and humidity matter, you need to ship properly. Choosing the right refrigerated shipping container is a challenge if you’re not an expert on all things shipping and storage. However, with a little bit of research, you can find the best and cheapest solution for shipping your products and keeping them refrigerated for longer.

Here are four things to think about when you’re in the market for a new shipping container for refrigerated goods.

1. Choose the Right Shipping Container For Your Budget

If you want to get your refrigerated goods shipped, you need to consider what kinds of products you’ll be shipping before you invest in a container. The kind of container you choose is deeply dependent on the kind of business you do. Finding a reefer is hard and if you buy one that’s inappropriate for your products and services, you’ll be doing a disservice to your business and customers.

Budget Cost for Shipping Containers

When shipping canned goods or dry products, you can use a dry van trailer. This type of trailer is good for non-perishable food. They’re also affordable and can keep your products protected from the elements.

There are refrigerated versions if you want to maintain temperature control even for good that isn’t perishable.

If you’re going to ship perishables, then you want to find a properly refrigerated truck. A refrigerated trailer helps you by allowing you to control your temperature. This is the ideal solution because you can maintain the integrity of your freight by maintaining control over your trailer’s internal temperature at all times.

2. Packaging Matters in your Investment

Cold Shipping Container

When you’re thinking about refrigerated shipping, you could make a mistake by putting forth some redundant efforts. If you’re spending a lot of time and money on packaging your food to stay cold, then you put it in a refrigerated truck could bring the temperature down too much. If you over refrigerate your food, you’ll spoil the integrity of it and risk overspending only to compromise on quality.

Non-perishable food is much easier to package in crates that are easy to stack in a trailer. If you’re going to be using plastic containers or insulated boxes, you need to secure packages in crates that are secure.

If you’re shipping perishable items that could be compromised pretty easily, you need to find suitable packaging that doesn’t duplicate the work your trailer does. Protect your products with packaging to keep it at a solid and stable temperature.

Styrofoam boxes or sheets are great for insulating perishable products. The thickness will determine how well you keep the temperature in but will also contribute to the change in pricing. Your budget and your comfort with a non-sustainable product need to be considered.

If you use insulated liners or pads, you get a texture similar to bubble-wrap that securely wraps your perishables. When you spend the time and money to wrap up all of your product, you won’t have to spend as much on refrigerating your items. They’ll stay cool as long as you keep the elements out.

3. Consider How Loading and Unloading Times Impact Costs

While you might only consider that you’ll be running the refrigeration on your shipping container while you’re traveling, you have to buffer on time. If you’re shipping a container to or from a destination, there will be periods where your container is just sitting around. During these periods, you’ll be using resources to keep things inside your container from spoiling.

You might end up with longer loading or unloading time that you’d think if you’re shipping fragile and perishable items. Medical supplies or medication often suffers from this issue as each crate needs to be carefully unloaded to avoid compromising the items.

You’ll have to plan ahead in general when shipping. You’ll also have to consider how much you’d actually save if you cut corners on how much you’re willing to spend on an energy efficient container.

Think about renting before you buy a refrigerated container to see how they fit your current business model.

4. Watch Out for Delays

Refrigerated Shipping Container

While out on the open road, just about anything can happen. While you may work delays into your schedule, they could be much worse than you expected depending on the time of year you travel.

Delays are common when storms hit or when you’re traveling overseas. Even changes in the political winds could impact how long your products sit outside of a dock waiting to be loaded in.

Delays when shipping food or medication will have few repercussions if you’re using the right kind of refrigerated truck. However, if you choose a shipping container that’s prone to breakdown or isn’t at the quality you should have chosen, you could lose your product.

Delays due to a breakdown are much harder to deal with. If the truck breaks down, the refrigerated component of the truck isn’t going to get the power it needs to keep things cool. When this is the case, you’re likely to end up with spoiled or compromised goods.

Some products start to turn as soon as the temperature changes. If this happens to your products, you’ll have to come up with a backup plan. Depending on how volatile your products are, consider having a permanent backup plan in place.

Finding a Low-Cost Refrigerated Shipping Container

While finding a low-cost solution for refrigerated shipping is challenging, it’s important to know what to look for before you begin your search. Hunting for the right refrigerated shipping container could take you a while, so try renting a few before you lay down your money to purchase one outright.

Check out our definitive guide for buying a shipping container before you lay down your cash.