Several white cooling containers are stacked on top of each other.

Demonstrating climate and eco-friendly maritime shipping

Greener Reefers in international maritime transport

+ Show all
  • Commissioning Party

    German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection (BMUV)

  • Lead executing agency


  • Overall term

    2023 to 2026

  • Products and expertise

    Climate, environment, management of natural resources


Maritime shipping accounts for 80 per cent of international trade in goods and contributes to three per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions. Transporting valuable products through refrigerated containers, commonly known as reefers, is growing rapidly worldwide: currently standing at around 3.2 million and expected to double by 2030. However, reefers use refrigerants with high Global Warming Potentials (GWP), operating with low efficiency, and creating per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) along with trifluoroacetic acid (TFA). These substances pose significant harm to living beings, and there is presently no effective method to extract them from the water cycle.


The shipping industry has established and implemented innovative eco-friendly technologies for reefers and is on a low carbon pathway to reduce GHG emissions related to reefer containers.


The project encompasses several strategic measures aimed at innovating maritime transport practices to reduce environmental impact and promote eco-friendly solutions, including:

  • Demonstrating the advantages of a environmentally and climate friendly R290 Greener Reefer pilot in collaboration with container manufactures, shipping lines and logistic operators.
  • Developing technology roadmaps and forming alliances with the International Maritime Organization (IMO), the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), as well as partnering with port and maritime authorities along with transport ministries in respective countries for formulating emission mitigation strategies in the shipping industry.
  • Developing training curricula and carrying out reefers trainings for trainers and technicians with refrigerant training centres in Costa Rica, South Africa and virtually.
  • Establishing guidelines for an eco-label, similar to ISO standards, and creating a QCR Standard (Qualification, Certification, and Registration); and establishing methods to measure greenhouse gas emissions.

Last update: December 2023

Additional information