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In tandem with the menu of regular shipping containers we offer, SteelSTORED can also procure Refrigerated Containers, commonly known as “reefers,” for specialized use. First developed in the 1960s to safely carry temperature-sensitive perishables across the globe, reefers now serve the transport needs of diverse industries including florists, pharmaceuticals, hospitality/restaurants, chemicals, medical and even special events.

Acting much like a small refrigerator, reefers have truly transformed the process of moving and storing challenging cargo. With nearly all of the same features and dimensions as standard shipping containers of similar size, what sets reefers apart is their ability to offer temperature-controlled environments. Reefer climate options range from -15o F to 70o F, and they can easily accommodate multiple temperature settings simultaneously while protecting the integrity of vulnerable goods. However, due to full insulation within the walls of the unit – which generally runs three to four inches per wall – and the approximately two feet of the container’s length that’s needed to integrate the required electronic refrigeration equipment, their usable interior space is slightly smaller. And, unlike basic shipping containers which normally feature level plywood floors, reefers have aluminum T-bar floors to ensure cargo elevation. This distinction allows the consistent flow of cool air necessary to maintain appropriate temperatures and optimal ventilation while avoiding damaging levels of humidity or excess moisture. Finally, in contrast to noisy, diesel-powered options, reefers are quiet and environmentally friendly as they run on electricity. All they require is either 230V or 460V 3-phase power to provide a green, efficient operating unit.

Reefers come in various sizes, but the most popular on the market are the 

20-foot, the 40-foot, and the 40-foot High Cube (HC) models. The 40-foot HCs remain the most in demand, followed by the 20-foot. 

Features of 20-foot Reefers:

  • External Dimensions: L: 19 ft. 10.50 in., H: 8 ft. 6 in., W: 8 ft.
  • Internal Dimensions: L: 17 ft. 10.50 in., H: 7 ft. 1.00 in., W: 7 ft. 5.75 in.
  • Door: H: 7 ft. 5.125 in., W: 7ft. 6.125 in.
  • Cubic Capacity: 1,006 Cubic Feet
  • Empty Weight: Approximately 6,305 lbs.
  • Load Capacity: Approximately 64,240 lbs.

Features of 40-foot High Cube Reefers:

  • External Dimensions: L: 40 ft., H: 9 ft. 6 in., W: 8 ft.
  • Internal Dimensions: L: 38 ft. 0.25 in., H: 7 ft. 11.50 in., W: 7 ft. 6.125 in.
  • Door: H: 8 ft. 4.625 in., W: 7ft. 6.125 in.
  • Cubic Capacity: 2,387 Cubic Feet
  • Empty Weight: Approximately 9,744 lbs.
  • Load Capacity: Approximately 65,212 lbs.

In the past, reefers have been predominantly associated with transporting perishables. Over the years, however, their use has become much more diversified. Among the industries and scenarios for which they have become invaluable:

  • Food Supplies: From meat, poultry and seafood to fruits, vegetables and dairy, reefers are the ideal transport vessel to protect perishable food supplies. Frequently used for delivery, they can also be tapped for large-scale storage by restaurants, food banks, catering companies, sports stadium concession stands, big box supermarkets and even hotels. 
  • Pharmaceuticals: Many drug products depend on refrigeration to stay not only fresh but effective. Medicines from insulin and eye drops to antibiotics and nearly all currently distributed vaccines require low temperatures to maintain viability.
  • Disaster Relief: During an emergency such as a natural disaster, it is critical to deliver assistance both quickly and safely. Reefers ensure that food and medical supplies remain viable for use upon arrival.


  • Floral Suppliers and Retailers: To meet consumer demand, global floral suppliers look to reefers for adequate transport so that sales and availability remain consistent regardless of season. Large scale floral retailers also use reefers to retain product condition, visual appeal and longevity.
  • Film and Photography Supplies: For certain cameras and film, controlled temperatures are a must during transport. Reefers can avert any damaging moisture as well as excessive heat or cold. The same is true for the chemicals used for refined photo development.
  • Décor: Whether used for a home, an office or even a movie or theater set, décor items such as furniture, books and woodwork can easily be ruined by reckless storage choices. Climate-controlled reefers prevent unwanted harm to these often valuable pieces. 

Strong, durable, clean and versatile, reefers can be a great addition to any shipping container portfolio. Call SteelSTORED today to discuss how we can meet your specific transport and storage needs. 

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