Insulated Container: What It Is and Why You Need It

If you're shipping temperature-sensitive products, an insulated container may be the solution you’re looking for. Why? 

Insulated containers protect against thermal shocks and humidity, ensuring that your product arrives in the same condition it left in. This is a must if you’re shipping wine, for example.  

But what exactly is an insulated container?

An insulated container is a dry container that has been upgraded with an insulated liner to protect cargo against thermal shocks and humidity. Pre-COVID-19, dry containers were readily available anywhere in the world.

After the global pandemic created a North American North American bottleneck, many businesses worldwide are struggling with container shortages. As a result, containers are in high demand and short supply.

And reefer containers, which are cooled with a refrigeration unit built into the container, are expensive and harder to come by. Insulated containers are such a hot commodity right now, that it's important to understand how they work and what your options are.



When using an insulation liner made by Hillebrand, you can transform a standard dry container into a food grade container, since they are made in accordance with FDA guidelines.

What exactly does an insulated container do?

An insulated container helps maintain the integrity and freshness of a product during transport.

Upgrading a dry container to a container with a specialized insulation liner is ideal for cargo that needs safeguarding from:

  • Bad smells

  • Condensation or container rain (a build-up of moisture inside the container)

  • Cross-contamination

  • Humidity infiltration and extremes (high or low)

  • Thermal shocks and extreme temperatures

While an insulated container doesn't provide to-the-degree temperature control, it can stabilize the temperature inside a container within a certain amount. Insulated liners help prevent damaging dips or spikes in temperature that can spoil consumables like wine.

And because insulated liners fully seal containers in a food-grade quality lining, they protect against contamination without compromising on space or eco-friendliness.

What sizes does an insulated container come in?

In order to turn a dry container into an insulated container, insulated liners are placed inside the container.

Insulation liners come in standard sizes to fit 20-foot and 40-foot containers  and 40-foot HC — the most commonly used. Additionally, insulated liners can be added to a range of pallet sizes and cases.

How sustainable is an insulated container vs. a reefer container?

Insulated containers are a more sustainable option than reefers, which require a constant flow of refrigeration to maintain temperatures.

Reefer containers are cooled with a refrigeration unit built into the container, while insulated containers don't need any external power source or fuel to work. 

Additionally, Hillebrand liners offer a 23% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions compared to reefer containers and are 100% recyclable.  Additionally, they are also made from recyclable materials. 

How Hillebrand can help protect your cargo

We can help protect your wines and beers with our insulation liners, which reduces temperature increases to an average of 8-11°C /14-20°F.

Our liners are also excellent at reflecting heat, boasting a 94% radiant heat reflection, nearly double the amount competitor liners offer (* ASTM testing methodology). The internal temperature will only increase to a maximum of 11ºC/51ºF once the cargo is loaded and sealed inside the liner, which safeguards your goods for 40 days or more.

Contact us today to get a quote and learn more about how we can help you ship your temperature-sensitive products.


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