Insulated Non-Operating Reefer Shipping Container

Non-operating Reefer Shipping Container

Insulated non-operating reefer shipping containers are refrigerated containers that no longer have a working refrigeration unit. They usually have one set of double doors on the end. 

Non-operating reefer shipping containers are also known as insulated containers or non-operating refrigerated containers.

Although the refrigeration unit is not working, the inside of the container will remain slightly cooler than the outside environment as a result of the R30 insulation. 

All refrigerated containers have an R30 thermal resistance rating. This means that heat does not transfer easily from the outside in and the inside out. 

Along with insulation, the floors are made from aluminum. Instead of a flat floor that’s found in the standard dry van shipping containers, refrigerated containers have T-bar flooring (also known as T-grating, T-floor, T-style floor, or T-section floor) to keep the contents raised up above the floor so that the cold air can circulate. 

Non-working reefer shipping containers come in the following sizes: 20-foot, 40-foot, and 40-foot High Cube (HC). A High Cube container is one foot taller than standard containers, this allows for more vertical storage space and airflow. 

How Big Is a Used Non-Operating Reefer Shipping Container?

It can be a challenge to picture exactly how big a container can be. Here are a few everyday guidelines to help you.


20 ft


40ft HC

How much space will it take up outside?

Slightly bigger than a large single parking bay

Slightly bigger than two large single parking bays head to toe

Slightly bigger than two large single parking bays head to toe

How high is it externally?

About half a foot shorter than standard ceiling height (9ft)

About half a foot shorter than standard ceiling height (9ft)

About half a foot higher than standard ceiling height (9ft)

How many standard pallets (48” x 40”) can it hold?

9-10 Standard- pallets in one layer or tier

21 Standard- pallets in one layer or tier

21 Standard- pallets in one layer or tier

What Are the Dimensions of a Non-Operating Reefer Shipping Container?

Here are the approximate dimensions of the most common refrigerated (Reefer) shipping container sizes.





High Cube (HC)

External dimensions

20’ long 

8’ wide 

8’6” high.

40’ long 

8’ wide 

8’6” high 

40’ long 

8’ wide 

9’6” high (1ft taller)



17’ 11” long

7’ 8” wide

7’ 6” high 

37’ 11” long

7’ 8” wide

7’ 6” high 

37’ long

7’ 6” wide

8’ 4” high 

How wide is the door?

7’ 5” wide  

7’ 3” high

7’ 6” wide  

7’ 6” high

7’ 6” wide  

8’ 4” high

What is the internal floor space?

134 sq.ft.

284 sq.ft.

284 sq.ft.

What is the volume? (Cubic Feet)

1,007 cu.ft

2,132 cu.ft.

2,368 cu.ft.

What does it weigh empty? (Tare)

6,530 lbs

9, 750 lbs

9,950  lbs

What Can This Type of Container Be Used For?

Non-operating reefer shipping containers are unique in that they are insulated and they have aluminum T-bar flooring. The insulation will provide some measure of temperature control which makes them ideal for the following uses:

  • Farming – useful for storing extra harvest while waiting to transport to market. Installing a small aircon on the back end can aid in maintaining a cooler internal temperature. On-site storage in hot climates. The interior will take much longer to heat up than a standard dry van. 
  • Storage for colder climates. In extreme cold weather climates, the insulation will help maintain the internal temperature slightly warmer.  

Watch the video below on Non-Operating Reefer Container Benefits

What Is the Condition of a Non-Operating Reefer Shipping Container?

Non-Operating shipping containers are guaranteed Wind and Water Tight. This means that they will seal up properly and will not leak. 

You can expect a Wind and Water Tight container to have original paint, shipping line-markings, dents, abrasions, and surface rust. 

On-Site Storage has a wide range of non-working refrigerated shipping containers available to buy or rent. If you need help making a selection, give us a call today. 

Frequently Asked Questions about Non-Operating Reefer Shipping Containers

How much does a non-operating reefer cost?

A non-operating reefer container will cost around $7,000 dollars depending on size and location. It’s worth comparing the price of a 20-foot versus a 40-foot, sometimes there is very little difference and you’ll get twice the storage space. 

If you’re interested in learning more about getting a non-operating reefer container or any other type of shipping container, don’t hesitate to give us a call at (888) 405-8772. Or you can also order here instead!

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Non-operating Reefer Shipping Container
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