What is controlled temperature transport?

Some goods, due to their specific nature, require transport in certain conditions, including controlled temperature.

This type of transport requires carriers to comply with specific conditions that should be maintained throughout the transport.

Therefore, the "controlled temperature" option is definitely a more expensive transport option than transporting a standard sea container.

Goods transported at controlled temperature

Goods that require special conditions are primarily: groceries but also medical products and medicines, cosmetics, chemical products and often electronics and building materials. These goods, as a result of fluctuations and exceeding minimum or maximum temperatures, may change their properties during transport and become completely useless for further use, not to mention the possible occurrence of threats in the form of, for example, changes in their chemical composition.


Transport services in controlled temperature conditions are performed using specialised isothermal bodies with aggregate or refrigerated containers, the so-called reefers.

The issue of temperature fluctuations and changing weather conditions is very important, especially in long-term sea transport. For a period of even more than 45 days, the cargo may cross many different climatic zones. Reefer containers are used to transport goods that require controlled temperature, e.g. fruit, vegetables, fish and meat.

Transport of containers performed in a controlled temperature mode is subject to stringent safety requirements, which include, for example, monitoring the temperature of goods at every stage using electronic devices.

Transport in controlled temperature requires maintaining the continuity of originally assumed temperature. Therefore, a reefer container should be properly checked both before and during loading. It is required to be operational, dry, preferably odourless, and in a good general technical condition.

It is worth mentioning that, apart from the right temperature, it is very important for some goods, especially fresh fruit and vegetables, to set additional parameters regarding proper ventilation or humidity levels.

Necessary equipment

In order to properly carry out transport at controlled temperature, it is required to equip the means of transport and a load unit with appropriate additional devices.

It is necessary to equip the vehicle with a semi-trailer unit, otherwise known as a genset. Power generators used in road transport of sea containers have been designed and built in such a way as to supply the container's refrigeration unit with electricity in a continuous and maintenance-free manner. Gensets can be permanently mounted in a container semi-trailer or rented at most container depots in our country.

However, on ships, the refrigerated container is connected to special electrical connections, which provide a generator with electricity necessary to maintain the required temperature inside the container throughout the journey.

Ships have a limited number of places/connections for reefer containers, so it is worth taking care of booking such a connection with a shipowner in advance.

Temperature-controlled transport is performed by maintaining the temperature in refrigeration or heating conditions. Depending on the specificity and properties of goods, a product can be cooled down to -25 degrees C or heated and kept at a temperature of +25 degrees C. Cargo insurance for goods transported in controlled temperature conditions is not more expensive than cargo insurance for goods transported in conditions without specifying temperature.

We will continue the subject of controlled temperature transport in further articles soon published on our website.