This paper analyses reefer cargo maritime shipping characteristics and recent development in South American East Coast ports. The geographical area studied goes from Punta Arenas (Chile) to Manaus (Brazil). The study main hypothesis is reefer shipping as a profitable market niche in spite of higher operation costs and a very demanding supply chain. The paper comprises three sections: the first one describes global reefer cargo transportation general characteristics. The second, reefer shipping in South American ports, focusing five main issues: (1) Cargo flows; (2) Ports infrastructure; (3) Post- Panamax vessels operation and its economies of scale; (4) Shippers and carriers' mergers and acquisitions processes and (5) Containerization process. Finally, it investigates the marketing relationship between shippers and shipping liners. The exploratory study was based on technical reports and statistics analysis, and interviews with industry executives, performing a multicase study. The general conclusions indicate that South American reefer market has concluded its containerization and concentration processes and showing a very good developing prospect for the region. Some experts consider that the market will keep increasing as a result of improved quality of products and enhancing cold logistics services providing, in spite of the international crisis, due to emergent markets buying and more demanding clients.