Number of Reefer Slots per Container Port

Number of Reefer Slots per Container Port

Source: Web sites of port authorities and terminal operators.

The majority of container terminals allocate some space for refrigerated containers (reefers) as they account for, on average, about 5% of all the TEU handled. This represents a separate and specialized port function that requires equipment such as reefer plugs (power outlets), power supply, and labor to monitor the reefers. At the same time, they are being handled at the terminal. Although handling reefers at ports involves additional costs, it also involves revenues due to the higher value of the cargo and its time sensitivity; it commands premium rates.

The following patterns in the geographical distribution of reefer storage capacity at container ports are observed:

  • An inventory of the world’s ports revealed a total refer storage capacity of more than 405,000 reefer slots. At the port level, the median number of reefer slots is 800, but with a very high standard deviation, underlining an outlier group of ports with very high numbers of reefer slots.
  • Major transshipment hubs have a large number of reefer slots (3,000 and above) that are necessary to accommodate the connectivity between reefer shipping networks.
  • Major commercial gateways that serve as distribution nodes for imported cold chain goods.
  • Major cold chain export gateways supplying the global market with cold chain goods such as fruits, particularly in Central and South America and South Africa.