Refrigerated shipping containers are a good choice for anything that needs to stay at a constant temperature while being shipped, and especially for any long distance or overseas shipments, where direct sunlight and lack of shade can greatly increase the internal temperature of such containers. While refrigerated containers can cost more money than standard metal containers, they're worth that investment if it means protecting your items while in transit. If you're a commercial business owner and think that you may need to use a refrigerated container, note a few factors to consider about these containers, so you can ensure you use the right type and know what's involved with its use as well.
What needs refrigeration
Don't assume that just foodstuffs need a refrigerated shipping container; as said, containers on a ship or even a railcar can be exposed to constant direct sunlight as well as high humidity levels, so that heat and moisture get trapped inside that container. A refrigerated container that lowers the temperature and takes away humidity can protect items like automotive parts, steel parts or anything else made of metal that may tend to rust, furs, papers, and textiles of all varieties. If you're not sure if your items need a refrigerated container, ask yourself if you would store those items in a garage at home; if not, you don't want to ship them in a standard shipping container, so invest in a refrigerated container.
Insulated versus refrigerated
There is a difference between insulated and refrigerated shipping containers; insulated simply means that the container has a layer of insulating materials between two skins of metal, so that temperatures inside the container remain somewhat constant, and the container isn't likely to hold as much heat and humidity. However, actual refrigerated containers will come with a mechanical refrigerated system that allows you to maintain a constant temperature. This may be more expensive, but is the right choice for foodstuffs, fur, and anything that can be easily damaged by rising heat and humidity.
Interior space may be limited
Refrigerated containers may need added insulating layers, as mentioned above, as well as mechanical panels and other pieces that control the temperature, that hold the refrigerant itself, and which are used to circulate that refrigerant. Don't assume that you will have the full footprint of a refrigerated container for shipping your items, as you need to accommodate these mechanical features inside the container, and this can greatly reduce the number of square feet or meters inside the unit that is usable for shipping.