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General guidance for Reefer cargo handling in Port

Reefer containers require special care after they are loaded on board ship. These containers need to be supplied with power, monitored closely for proper function and repaired as required in case of malfunction.The article here is about procedures and guidelines on Reefer cargo handling in Port

It shall be confirmed beforehand from the terminal foreman/superintendent or local agent whether reefer container plugging / unplugging operation will be performed by ships crew or shore hands.

Reefer containers shall be plugged in and supplied with ships power as soon as practicable after loading. In case it is to be done by shore hands, ships crew shall still closely monitor the operation and confirm that all reefer containers are supplied with power earliest after loading.

Where applicable, cooling water shall be connected and valves opened. This is usually in case of water cooled reefer container units loaded under deck.

Reefer remote monitoring cables shall also be connected whenever equipped and compatible.
Once power supply to the reefer container is confirmed, its condition shall be checked for the following:

a) Set temperature compare with manifest temperature

b) Present actual temperature on partlow chart and digital indicator

c) Correct date/hour indication on Partlow chart (if applicable)



d) Ventilator percentage open or closed, compare with manifest

e) Container seal record seal number (e.g.: JJJ 345821 etc)

f) Any alarms displayed on the digital indicator

g) Control box door firmly tightened to prevent any water damage

h) Any abnormal noise or vibration from the refrigerating equipment

In case of any discrepancy in temperature or ventilator settings, the local agent / booking line shall be informed and clarifications sought.

Clarification will be given by the booking line (directly or via agent) and only upon written instruction from them, the vessel shall adjust any settings of temperature or ventilation. No temperature or ventilation settings may be tampered with in absence of such written instructions.

In case of a malfunctioning unit, the local agent must be informed and reefer technician arranged for inspection and repair. If the unit cannot be satisfactorily repaired within the duration of port stay, it must be off loaded.

In case of Warm or Hot cargo in a reefer is loaded on board the vessel, it must be first confirmed that the reefer container itself is working well. The shipment may then be accepted after obtaining a letter of guarantee from the shipper through agent and/or from an agent on behalf of the booking line relieving vessel owner/operator from cargo claims arising out of damage to cargo from this fact. This hot cargo statement shall be signed by the terminal and local agent.

If a letter of guarantee is not possible to obtain, an exception list may be prepared on board and signatures of the terminal, local agent and/or any third parties obtained on same to confirm condition of the reefer at time of loading.

Discrepancy report for warm or hot cargo reefer containers must be made out and sent to vessel operators, booking line, local agent and other concerned parties.
In case any reefer container is rejected for loading owing to Temperature / Ventilation discrepancy without clarification, warm/hot cargo without statement, malfunction or any such valid reason, the fact shall be reported to vessel operator and any other parties concerned.

Reefer containers being discharged shall be unplugged from power source only just prior discharge. They shall not be unplugged and left on board awaiting discharge for a long time. The power cables and monitoring cables shall be neatly secured so as to avoid any damage during cargo operations.

Particular care must be taken in operations involving restow of reefer containers in port. When placed back on board and plugged in, their parameters must be rechecked.

All reefer containers on board shall be monitored by checking physically at least Twice daily (am & pm) during vessels stay in port.

The probability of a reefer container being inadvertently switched off or unplugged while vessel is in port does exist. Also a reefer remote monitor alarm may go unnoticed while vessel is in port




Related articles

Reefer cargo Handling In Port

Reefer cargo care at sea

Commodities Shipped In Reefer Containers

Reefer Cargo Temperature Recording

Reefer Cargo Maintaining Records

Reefer Cargo Defrosting

Basic check item prior stowing Reefer Cargo

Preventing Reefer Cargo deterioration



Container handling additional guideline:

Containership cargo stowage and planning

Stacking Weights Restrictions

Lashing strength calculation

Dangerous goods stowage and segregation

Reefer Container Stowage

Out of Gauge Container Stowage

Special Container Stowage

20 or 40 or 45 feet Compulsory Stowage Locations

Irregular Stowage of Containers

Over-stow of Containers

Hatch Cover Clearance (High cube containers Under Deck )

Other matters regarding cargo stowage as necessary

How to load maximum number 20 feet container on deck ?

What are the extra precaution should be taken prior loading a 45 feet container on deck ?

Container damage in ''2 in 1'' cargo Operation

Modern containership & loading of various container types

How to load containers coming in different forms/sizes



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