Thursday, May 23, 2024
shipping and freight resource services
HomeFreight ContainerReefer container Pre-Trip Inspection (PTI)

Reefer container Pre-Trip Inspection (PTI)

What is reefer container Pre-Trip Inspection (PTI)..?? Article based on below questions from a reader..

PTI is an inspection conducted on an empty reefer container BEFORE RELEASE, to ensure the correct functioning of the cooling unit, temperature control and recording devices.. PTI also includes checking the container for structural damage, and ensuring that the inside of the container is clean and ready in all respect to receive cargo..

Q : Reefer unit PTI ( Pre-Trip inspection) expires after 30 days, is this correct ?

A : The validity of a pre-trip service could be anything from 30 to 180 days from the date entered on the pre-trip decal depending on the shipping line.. Different shipping companies may have differing validity periods.. Therefore it is always prudent to check with the shipping line and look for the PTI sticker.. 

image of fishQ : If PTI expired then can unit be released without RE-PTI to Shipper ?

A : In the interest of avoiding a claim, no shipping line will release a reefer container without a valid PTI.. So if the validity of the PTI has expired, then container will be released only after a second PTI is done..

Q : Is PRE-COOL an alternate for PTI ?

A : Pre-Cool is NOT an alternative to PTI.. Pre-cooling relates to the cargo and not to the container where as PTI is related to the container.. Pre-Cool is a process whereby the products, are pre-cooled (wherever required) to the required set (carriage) temperature before being packed into the container.. This will happen at the cold-storage facility.. The longer the cargo is pre-cooled the better it is in regards to shelf life of the cargo.. 

[quads id=”1″]

Q : If we do not arrange re-PTI then any claim will be on our account?

A : A PTI is a very important function for a reefer container.. As mentioned above, in the interest of avoiding a claim, no shipping line will release a reefer container without a valid PTI..

If a PTI is not done by the line and there is a claim, the line may be liable, unless they have a written note from the shipper or forwarder or contractual party NOT to do the PTI.. There would be some indemnities involved in this case, but I have not come across any client that would ask the line NOT to do a PTI..

A more detailed article on Refrigerated Cargoes in Containers and its requirements will be posted soon.. If you have not yet done, I encourage you to subscribe to this blog to receive the latest articles and updates..

Have you had any experiences to share relating to PTI..??


Liked the content..??

Sign up here to receive the best and most reliable content in the industry for free..




Hariesh Manaadiar
Hariesh Manaadiar
I am Hariesh Manaadiar, the Founder of Shipping and Freight Resource.. I have been in the dynamic shipping and freight industry for over three decades and have worked in several sectors.. I share my experiences and knowledge of the industry through this blog for those looking for help in the industry.. Stay subscribed for more free useful content about shipping, freight, maritime, logistics, supply chain and trade..


  1. Hi all, I’m a qualified electrician and have some basic skills on how a refrigeration system works. I started working on reefers in the year 2021 and still learning. I just want to know what the setpoint, return temperature and supply temperature should be before initiating a PTI on a reefer.

  2. Hi, If the container reefer was found malfunction after done pti and before loading into vessel,do we have right hold responsible to the release depot?

    • Hi Yvonne, that would depend on who you are/your role.. If you are a customer, you cannot do that because your contract is with the shipping line and not with the release depot.. But at the same time, it would also depend on the type of malfunction and when it happened and whether a PTI would have picked up any indication of malfunction.. There are several factors in this..

  3. Basically Pre trip inspection is basically on the container and not cargo and it is to test the efficiency of the functional parts that make up the whole cooling system be it mechanical and electrical if they are all working in good condition. And PTI should be carry out whenever a refer container is released out for outside stuffing.

  4. How to define the PTI Validation period? some carriers are 60days and Maersk even said the PTI valid 180 days. Why it has difference?

  5. For our shipper we received a reefer empty container PTI passed by carrier’s vendor for loading shrimps. After stuffing cargo, at our storage facility after one week the container found malfunctioning. Compressor dripped while running and not working. Reported to Carrier and they did not attend for repairs, claiming that the reefer container once PTI passed and in shipper’s custody it is the responsibility of shipper for repairs and cargo. No claims shall be accepted by the carrier.

  6. Before real potato chips production from collect inside the reefer container,how can i temperature control i mean temperature parameter?

  7. Hi Hariesh , I came across and founf this site. I am in a probation. I wonder if emprty reffer container has a seal when it is going to load in a vessel? If it is, explain to me when it happened?
    Many thanks,

  8. Bonjour,

    Est ce que le PTI doit il être réalisé par un organisme agréé ou peut il se réaliser par une personne technique comme un technicien de maintenance?

    Je loue des REEFER et je voudrais savoir s’il faut passer par un prestataire obligatoirement pour les reconduire 30 jours.

  9. Bonjour,
    Est-ce que le Reefer doit être obligatoirement à terre pour effectuer le PTI ou le faire avec le reefer sur remorque n’a pas d’incident?
    Combien de temps dure un PTI normal?

    • Hello Auguste,

      Le PTI doit toujours être effectué dans le dépôt AVANT de charger …

      La validité d’un service de pré-voyage pourrait être de 30 à 180 jours à compter de la date indiquée sur l’autocollant selon la ligne d’expédition.

      Translation courtesy of Google Translate.. Hope you understand.. 🙂

  10. Who will be responsible if an Agent paid PTI charges for empty reefer container and after PTI Process empty container found effected due to some technical faults? Who will bear PTI charges in this case? (Shipper / Agent / Shipping Line or Port Authorities)?

  11. Hello, I am working at International Law Office in Brazil, and we are facing some issues about PTI. If someone could help us, we appreciate! ** What is the origin of PTI? ** How did it start to be done? ** Is there any law about PTI?

    • Hello Andreia, PTI is not linked to any law.. PTI (Pre-Trip Inspection) is an operational requirement which is done in the best interest of the shipper and that of the shipping line to ensure that the reefer used is in good working condition and capable of carrying the cargo from A to B..

  12. Reefer Flood Preventer (Brand Name: RapiDrain)

    RapiDrain is new kind of Reefer Flood Preventer (RFP) that is inspired by everyday experience. It is used to prevent flooding of reefer containers which may lead to damage of reefer cargo by inhibiting clogging to the drain holes.

    Reefer Flood Preventer

    In order to prevent the build up of excess water, it is crucial to ensure that the reefer container drain holes is not clogged. This can be achieved by installing RapiDrain over the reefer container drain holes to prevent clogging and allow excess water to be drained off rapidly, thus preventing damage to the cargo and the container.

  13. Hi,

    I have a question please about pre-inspection.
    I’m working on a file and I found that the Seal N° of the shipper that we have on the BL are different of those of the inspector on his inspection certificate. How could you explain this;
    anyone could help me please on this?!

  14. Hi Hariesh

    Thought i would also mention too that. On the thermal side of things delamination on the side wall
    panels/roof/floor [especially if its holding moisture within the insulation and sweating] can also affect
    temperature readings, in that the machinery is continually working harder to maintain set point temp
    due to the thermal loss of insulation..

    This is normally a problem with older units. Other things to look out for would be poor improper repairs
    where incorrect foam may have been used on a panel repair or poor type welding [excessive porosity]

    Something else which you may not think about is taints. In theory the box is washed then passed by
    PPECB .Doors are than closed and container placed back into the stack waiting cargo booking. This
    is where a problem may re-occur as taints believe it or not can come back. Ive had instances were
    ive had to strip machinery looms, door gaskets, and sealant to remove taints.


  15. A reefer container is not designed/engineered to chill down or freeze a product, but rather to maintain it at its desired set temperature.

    Therefore, having the product already chilled down to the correct temperature before it is loaded into the reefer container is a must to ensure its quality.

    Also, it has been my experience that problems with cargo maintaining its set temperture is often due to improperly loading the cargo above the container’s load line, and/or by loading loose product, such as whole frozen fish on the T-floor of the container, with the product falling in between the longitudinal rails of the T-floor, and/or by loading the product all the way to, and against the doors of the container.

    Any of these stowages will block and prevent free-flow air recirculation, within the container, resulting in ice build up and warming of the product.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.



Sign up below to receive the best and most reliable industry content for free..



FBX - Freight Indices