Reefer logistics is an important part of the cold chain in which reefer containers are involved as the packaging for transporting perishable goods. Reefer logistics is challenging, as it deals with cost and time constraints as well as the product quality and sustainability requirements. In many situations, there is a trade-off between these factors (e.g., between transportation cost and the quality of fresh products). Furthermore, considering the high value of reefers, the efficient logistics of reefers is as important as the efficient cargo flows. This causes technical complications and the conflicts of interests between actors, especially, between cargo owners (or shippers) and the asset owners (or transport/terminal operators). Improving the efficiency of reefer logistics calls for a thorough understanding of the trade-offs and complexities. This paper aims to help develop such an understanding using a systematic literature review and a socio-technical system analysis. The results can be used to provide managerial insights for actors involved in a cold chain to design tailored solutions for reefers.