What are the precautions while loading Refrigerated cargo on ships?

1. Types of refrigerated cargo:

  • Food products comprise the majority of refrigerated cargo, although other commodities such as medicines, drugs, and certain temperature-sensitive chemicals are often transported in this manner.
  • Items shipped under refrigeration cannot withstand long periods of exposure to normal outside air temperature or other conditions that might result in deterioration and ultimate loss of a commodity.
  • This applies whether the cargo is loaded in containers or is transported by conventional break-bulk stowage in the ship’s refrigerated cargo spaces.

2. Containers

  •  Containerization is a very effective method of transporting refrigerated cargo. Continuous refrigeration between point of origin and destination and the elimination of multiple handling required in conventional break-bulk shipments have drastically reduced in-transit damage and loss of these products.
  • The advantages of one handling at point of loading and point of discharge are especially apparent when compared to the conventional cargo system with its multiple handlings-
    • from warehouse to rail,
    • to truck,
    • through the terminal and aboard ship,
    • discharge at port as destination, and
    • reloading again to truck or rail for final delivery.

3. Stowage

  • Stowing refrigerated cargo does not differ greatly from that of general cargo, except that refrigerated cargo requires more care with temperature and ventilation and normally is not palletized.
  • Foods having a strong odour should not be mixed with those having a tendency to absorb odours.
  • All cargo compartments must be at the prescribed temperature before loading to prevent refrigerated cargo from thawing or spoiling.
  • Perishable cargo is divided into three general classes: frozen, chilled, and air-cooled cargo.


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