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What’s the Difference between Dry Container and Reefer Container


What’s the Difference between Dry Container and Reefer Container

The main difference between a dry container and a reefer container lies in their purpose and functionality:

#Dry Container: 

A dry container, also known as a standard container or general-purpose container, is a shipping container designed for transporting non-perishable goods that do not require temperature control. 

These containers are typically made of steel and have solid walls and a roof, providing a secure and weatherproof enclosure for the cargo. 

#Reefer Container: 

A reefer container, short for refrigerated container, is a specialized shipping container equipped with an integrated refrigeration system. 

It is designed to transport perishable goods and maintain a specific temperature range throughout the journey. 

Reefer containers have insulation, as well as a refrigeration unit mounted on the exterior of the container. 

They allow for precise temperature control and can maintain a range of temperatures, typically from below freezing to above freezing. 


If your business relies on frequent bulk shipments, you have two primary options — dry and reefer container shipping. Please continue to review below:

  • Dry containers :

They are a type of standard shipping or cargo container that accommodates dry, non-temperature-sensitive shipments. They are typically available in 40′ size, although there are 20′ options available. 

The containers consist of strong steel to resist wind, rain and saltwater. You can customize a dry container to have more security or added features for special loads in some cases.

Dry containers are versatile.

They are commonly used for transporting items such as electronics, clothing, furniture, machinery, and various dry goods.

In addition to bulk international shipping, many businesses have converted unused containers into innovative structures, like workstations, mobile clinics, retail stores, restaurants, food trucks, heavy equipment storage solutions, warehouses.


  • Reefer Containers:

They are insulated, refrigerated shipping containers with a built-in climate control unit to manage internal conditions. 

Reefer containers let you control the temperature, humidity and airflow inside the shipment to keep temperature-sensitive perishable items safe during long distances. 

They are an integral component of the cold-chain shipping process. Reefer containers usually come with metal walls, ceilings and roofs due to the nature of the products inside. 

Paired with the refrigeration unit, this makes them heavier than dry containers.

Reefer containers are also typically available in either 40′ or 20′ configurations. Most standard reefer containers are not self-powered and require generator sets on the chassis when transporting to and from the port. 

Some more specialized reefer containers, such as those provided by Klinge Corporation, also incorporate an on-board power source, reducing the logistics requirements for sourcing generator sets for the inland moves. 

Reefer containers are used for transporting temperature-sensitive products such as fruits, vegetables, dairy products, meat, seafood, pharmaceuticals, Chemicals and hazardous materials and other perishable items.


In summary, while dry containers are used for general cargo that doesn't require temperature control, reefer containers are specifically designed to transport perishable goods and provide a temperature-controlled environment to preserve the quality and freshness of the cargo

I hope the above content can help you accurately choose the appropriate container to transport your goods.

If you are interested in China import and export shipping services, please feel free to contact us.Shawn.Liao(Mr.) Phone/Wechat/Whatsapp/Skype: +8618926970495

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