In order to minimise empty repositioning costs, container operators frequently use reefer containers in a “non-operating” mode to carry approved dry cargo – either on a return leg or to re-position the equipment without operating the refrigeration machinery.

Transporting “non-operating reefer” (NOR) cargo enables the carriage of additional cargo, where reefers need to be positioned for their next cargo move, but are competing for slot space with revenue-earning dry cargo.

Because of the differences between General Purpose and Refrigerated containers (both the design and the materials), the approval of NOR cargo – and the packing requirements – must be taken into account.

A new document entitled “Guidelines for the Carriage of Cargoes in Non-Operating Reefer Containers” has been published this month by the Container Owners Association – in conjunction with the CINS (the Cargo Incident Notification System) organisation ( The Guidelines have been sponsored by the TT Club.

To download a PDF of the Guidelines, click HERE