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Published Date

July 2008

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Container Refrigeration

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This is a detailed reference book covering every aspect of container refrigeration. Written by an industry expert, this 300-page book provides guidance on the operation and handling of refrigerated containers.

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A newbuild Panamax containership of 4,600 TEU will typically have capacity for 700 reefer plugs, and with a full load will consume 18 tonnes of HFO per day. However, you cannot just load a container plug and hope for the best. The requirements of the content and the power consumption demanded are important considerations for the refrigeration technician.


With a growing global refrigerated trade of 50M tonnes p.a, and with few dedicated reefer ships on order, growth is going to be seen in the available refrigerated capacity on container ships. However, increased reefer cargo claims point to a lack of knowledge by both ship and shore personnel.


This book aims to close up the gaps in that knowledge.


The Author

1 Basics of Refrigeration
1.1 Refrigeration
1.2 Refrigeration and Air Conditioning
1.3 Heat and its Measurement
1.4 Specific Heat
1.5 Temperature
1.6 States of Matter
1.7 Vapour and Gas
1.8 Sensible Heat and Latent Heat
1.9 Saturation Temperature
1.10 Fluids and Liquids
1.11 States of Fluids
1.12 Pressure
1.13 Flow of Heat
1.14 Relationship between Pressure and Saturation Temperature
1.15 Refrigerant
1.16 Foundation Pillars of Refrigeration
1.17 Refrigeration Capacity – Tonnage
1.18 Pressure-Temperature (PT) Chart

2 The Refrigeration System and the Flow of Refrigerant through the Components
2.1 Open Loop and Closed Loop Systems
2.2 Vapour Absorption and Vapour Compression Systems
2.3 Refrigerant Flow through the Components
2.4 Additional Components

3 Containerisation and Container Refrigeration
3.1 Introduction
3.2 The Container
3.3 Features of a Container
3.4 Advantages of Container Transportation
3.5 Parts of a Container
3.6 Types of Containers
3.7 Markings on a Container
3.8 Shipboard Orientation of Containers
3.9 Various Stresses on Containers
3.10 Refrigerated Containers
3.11 Dual Temperature Container Units
3.12 External Identification of Reefer Containers
3.13 Air Flow within a Reefer Container
3.14 Power Supply for the Refrigeration Machinery
3.15 Extra Deadweight, Loss of Volumetric Space and Additional Required Maintenance
3.16 Stowage of Loaded Reefer Containers
3.17 Running a Reefer Unit in Air Cooled and Water Cooled Modes Simultaneously
3.18 Loading of Reefer Containers on to a Ship
3.19 Evolution of Container Refrigeration
3.20 Commercial Aspects of Reefer Containers
3.21 Comparison of Reefer Container Freight and Air Transportation Freight
3.22 Profitability of Containerisation

4 Various Types of Refrigerated Cargo
4.1 Classification of Reefer Cargoes
4.2 Chilled Cargoes
4.3 Frozen Cargoes
4.4 Clustering of Containers packed with Chilled or Frozen Cargoes
4.5 Operation of Reefer Machinery for Chilled and Frozen Cargoes
4.6 Packaging Chilled and Frozen Cargoes
4.7 Ethylene Sensitive Cargoes
4.8 Chilling Sensitive Cargoes
4.9 Value of Reefer Cargoes

5 Compressors
5.1 Importance and Working of Compressors
5.2 Classification of Compressors
5.3 Comparison of Power Consumption of Various Types of Compressors
5.4 Semi-hermetic Reciprocating Compressors used in Container Refrigeration
5.5 Scroll Units
5.6 Shipboard Maintenance of Compressors on Refrigerated Containers

6 Expansion Valves
6.1 Importance of Expansion Valves
6.2 Types of Metering Devices
6.3 Types of Expansion Valves
6.4 Purpose of an Expansion Valve
6.5 Location of the Expansion Valve
6.6 Types of Expansion Valve Used in Container Reefer Machinery
6.7 Components of Expansion Valves
6.8 Operation of the Expansion Valve
6.9 Flash Gas
6.10 TXV Bulb Installation
6.11 TXV Hunting
6.12 Periodic Maintenance on the Expansion Valve
6.13 Replacement of the Expansion Valve
6.14 Substance Used in the Expansion Valve Bulb
6.15 Expansion Valve Inlet Filter
6.16 Other Versions of Expansion Valves

7 Controllers
7.1 Evolution of Controllers
7.2 Microprocessor Controller
7.3 Location of the Controller
7.4 Components of the Controller
7.5 Various makes of Controllers
7.6 Operation of a Controller
7.7 Controller Software
7.8 Upgrading Software
7.9 Functions of the Controller
7.10 Operation of the Control Circuit (Electrical Start-up Sequence)
7.11 Controller Analyser/Tester

8 Temperature Recording Systems in Reefer Containers
8.1 Temperature Measurement
8.2 Damaged Cargo – Record of Temperatures
8.3 Evolution of Temperature Recording Systems
8.4 Downloading and Interpretation of Recorded Data
8.5 The Future of Recording Systems

9 Controlled Atmosphere Systems
9.1 Basic Concept
9.2 Rates of Respiration of Different Products
9.3 Timeline of Controlled Atmosphere Systems
9.4 Conservation of Perishable Products through Controlled Atmosphere
9.5 Variation of Respiration with Oxygen Content
9.6 Controlled and Modified Atmospheres
9.7 Applications of Controlled Atmosphere (CA) Systems
9.8 Various Models of CA Systems
9.9 Safety
9.10 Benefits of Controlled Atmosphere

10 Humidification Systems
10.1 Variation of Humidity inside a Reefer Container over the Course of the Voyage
10.2 Implications of Reduced Humidity on the Cargo
10.3 Solution
10.4 Operation of the Humidification System
10.5 Components of the Humidification System
10.6 Pre-Trip Requirements
10.7 Post-Trip Requirements
10.8 Interdependence of Refrigeration, Humidification and Controlled Atmosphere Systems
10.9 Benefits of Humidification Systems
10.10 Dehumidification Mode
10.11 Humidification Systems

11 Refrigerants
11.1 Definition of a Refrigerant
11.2 History Timeline of Refrigerants
11.3 Generations of Refrigerants
11.4 Classification of Refrigerants
11.5 Desirable Properties of a Refrigerant
11.6 Which Refrigerant is Suitable for my Application?
11.7 The R-Numbering System
11.8 Global Warming and Ozone Depletion
11.9 The Montreal Protocol
11.10 Refrigerants Used in Container Refrigeration
11.11 Refrigerant Colour Code System
11.12 Refrigerants and Oil
11.13 Migration of a Refrigerant
11.14 Refrigerant Charge
11.15 Refrigerant Recovery Procedure
11.16 Changeover of Refrigerants
11.17 Threshold Limit Value
11.18 Impact of Legislation on the Shipping Industry
11.19 The Future of Refrigerants

12 Maintenance of Reefer Container Machinery
12.1 Periodic Maintenance on Reefer Container Machinery
12.2 Who Carries Out the Periodic Maintenance?
12.3 Exclusivity of the Authorised Service Provider
12.4 The Process of Approving Repairs
12.5 Pre-Trip Inspection (PTI)
12.6 Auto PTI
12.7 Reefer Container Equipment Maintenance Procedures

13 Reefer Cargo Losses
13.1 Poor Information Transfer and Communication
13.2 Pre-Shipment Failure to Provide Suitable Conditions or Information
13.3 Ship's Failure to Maintain Necessary Conditions

14 Carriage of Live Cargo Onboard in Reefer Containers
14.1 Loading
14.2 Carriage Guidelines
14.3 Safety Guidelines
14.4 Documentation
14.5 Actions in Case of Dispute

15 Worldwide Containerised Reefer Cargo Trade
15.1 Trends in Refrigerated Cargo Trade and Forecast
15.2 Growth of Reefer Containers over Conventional Shipment
15.3 Commodity-Wise Trade
15.4 Integral vs. Insulated Containers
15.5 Trends in Production of Reefer Containers
15.6 Replacement Container Stock
15.7 Capacity and Production of Reefer Containers – Region Wise
15.8 Cost – Price Issue
15.9 Share of Container Trade and Plug Capacity of Various Carriers
15.10 Trends in the Container Ship Fleet
15.11 Trends in Age and Size of Reefer Container Ships
15.12 Trends in Increasing Reefer Container Carrying Capacity of Ships
15.13 Classification Rules for Reefer Container Carrying Ships

16 Diagnostics and Trouble-Shooting
16.1 The Refrigerant
16.2 Components of the Refrigeration Cycle
16.3 Containers
16.4 Cargo
16.5 Partlow Chart Exercise
16.6 Electrical System


This book is written from the shipboard operator’s viewpoint, and aims to address some of the limitations of reefer container machinery, dispel the myths surrounding the science of refrigeration, and place facts in their correct perspective. Anyone connected with reefer container operations will also find it of interest. Each chapter is independent and stands alone, it is not necessary to read the chapters in order.

Mr. Chilukuri Maheshwar is a Marine Engineer, having passed out from Marine Engineering College (DMET), Kolkata, India in 1980. He has sailed with The Shipping Corporation of India Ltd. From 1980 to 1997, the last 5 years of which were as Chief Engineer.

Ashore, he had worked from 1997 to 1999 as Chief Engineer of Taj Connemara Hotel, Chennai, India, a business Class Five Star Hotel belonging to The Taj Group. From 1999 to 2001, he was a Customer Service Manager, for South Asia for Reefer Container Products Group of Carrier Transicold and set up the Reefer Container Service Office for South Asia at Mumbai (Bombay).

From October 2001 till August 2006, he was a member of Engineering Faculty at the Training Ship Chanakya, College of Nautical Sciences, Navi Mumbai, India, which is a Merchant Navy Training Institute of the Govt. of India and affiliated to the University of Mumbai and Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU). He is also involved in training and consultancy in the field of Reefer Containers. Presently, he is with Fleet Management Training Institute, Mumbai, India, as Training Superintendent.

He had completed his MEE, MBA and M Phil. in Management and is currently pursuing Ph.D in Management with BITS, Pilani, India under the Distance Mode. His topic of research is related to “Inland Usage of Reefer Containers for reducing the Post-Harvest Losses of Horticultural Products in India”.

He is a life member (Fellow) of Institute of Marine Engineers (India) and Institution of Engineers (India). He is also an Insurance Regulatory Development Authority (IRDA) approved Insurance Surveyor and Loss Assessor, a Chartered Engineer, an Approved Valuer and an Institute of International Container Lessors (IILC) certified Container Inspector.

Title: Container Refrigeration
Number of Pages: 300
Product Code: 4362
ISBN: ISBN 13: 978-1-905331-25-3 (9781905331253), ISBN 10: 1-905331-25-8 (1905331258)
Published Date: July 2008
Binding Format: Paperback
Book Height: 280 mm
Book Width: 160 mm
Book Spine: 10 mm
Weight: 0.90 kg
Author: Chilukuri Maheshwar

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