Over time, the increased demand for temperature sensitive goods and the extension of shelf-life, has led to the development of diverse means of transport.

This has been accompanied by technical developments designed to maintain unbroken cold chains. Transport refrigeration is by land, sea and air. Land transport being the most diverse comprise refrigerated semitrailers, containers rigid vehicles and small vans.
Sea transport is now mainly refrigerated containers though entire refrigerated ships exist and significant numbers of fishing and fish processing vessels. Air transport times are short and the temperature control rudimentary.

Over the past decade global container numbers have grown steadily as international transportation has increased between developing countries.
Growth is predicted to continue given the desire to have foods available all year round which requires imports from abroad as fruit and vegetable crops depend on seasonal weather.