A refrigerated container or reefer is an intermodal container (shipping container) used in intermodal freight transport that is refrigerated for the transportation of temperature sensitive cargo.
While a reefer will have an integral refrigeration unit, they rely on external power, from electrical power points at a land based site, a container ship or on quay. When being transported over the road on a trailer they can be powered from diesel powered generators ("gen sets") which attach to the container whilst on road journeys.
Some reefers are equipped with a water cooling system, which can be used if the reefer is stored below deck on a vessel without adequate ventilation to remove the heat generated.
Water cooling systems are expensive, so modern vessels rely more on ventilation to remove heat from cargo holds, and the use of water cooling systems is declining.
The impact on society of reefer containers is vast, allowing consumers all over the world to enjoy fresh produce at any time of year and experience previously unavailable fresh produce from many other parts of the world.
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