One reefer container company has split off from its parent group and has listed on the New York Stock Exchange, while global giant Del Monte continues to invest in vessels with a high proportion of reefer plugs
Historically, most refrigerated container production ran from May to November in line with the seasonal waves of fresh produce exports from South America, Asia and Oceania. Today, more than half of world’s reefer trade is in non-seasonal cargoes – frozen meat, fish and vegetables, plus pharmaceuticals. Production of new reefer containers is now more equally spread throughout the year. The maturing demand has required reefer box production companies to mature as well.
Carrier Global Corp, which provides reefer products under the name Carrier Transicold, has taken the significant step of separating from United Technologies and debuting on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) under the symbol CARR. Carrier president and chief executive Dave Gitlin says, “Against the backdrop of unprecedented global uncertainty, Carrier and its employees remain focused and continue to solve critical challenges – from improving indoor air quality, protecting the world’s food and pharmaceutical supply and keeping people safe and secure. I am honoured to lead this fantastic company and now, more than ever, I am incredibly proud of the perseverance and resiliency of our talented workforce.”
The nascent public company has been boosting its attractiveness to clients with a range of new offerings in the container reefer market. Building on the pioneering legacy of the refrigerated container shipping industry’s first controlled-atmosphere system 25 years ago, Carrier Transicold has developed the next-generation EverFRESH system, which makes premium performance more affordable than ever for fleets and container leasing companies. Using active controlled-atmosphere technology, the EverFRESH system optimises the balance of oxygen and carbon dioxide within a refrigerated container, slowing respiration and the natural ripening of the commodity inside.
As an active system, it generates high-purity nitrogen to displace oxygen more quickly and responsively, rather than relying on respiration alone to gradually reduce oxygen levels.
“The active nature of the EverFRESH system can handle a broader range of perishable commodities than modified controlled-atmosphere systems, making it a more versatile choice for many customers,” says Carrier Transicold global container refrigeration senior product manager Jim Taeckens.
“Another key benefit of the EverFRESH system’s active technology is that it maintains a positive air pressure within the container, making it far less sensitive to box leakage than other types of systems,” Mr Taeckens explains.
Del Monte takes delivery of the first of a series of reefer plug vessels
The first of the six vessels, Del Monte Gold, sailed from Guangzhou Wenchong shipyard in China in June 2020. The series has a full cargo capacity of 1,276 TEU with 634 plugs for forty-foot high cube reefer containers. The air-cooled containers will maintain the cargo at specified temperatures, travelling in reefer mode with multiple temperature variants from -25°C to 40°C.
“We have been working towards this goal since 2017 and could not be more excited to see it come to fruition,” says Fresh Del Monte Produce senior vice president of shipping operations Helmuth Lutty. “As one of the world’s leading producers, marketers and distributers of fresh fruit and vegetables, we have set a very high bar for all the reefer containers and ships in our fleet. These six new vessels set the bar even higher and allow us to deliver the high-quality fresh fruit and vegetables we are known for, while meeting our sustainability goals.”
Each vessel meets the most stringent emissions control regulations and includes:
“Today, shipping accounts for the largest portion of our global energy use,” says Fresh Del Monte Produce chief sustainability officer, Hans Sauter. “In 2018, we committed to lead by example and reduce our vessel emissions by 10%. With the addition of these six new container vessels we are well on our way, estimating a saving of nearly 19,000 tonnes of fuel each year.”
Thermo King launches next-generation generator set
Thermo King, a leader in transport temperature control solutions for mobile applications and a brand of Trane Technologies, is introducing SG-5000, the next-generation generator set for marine containers. Available in both clip-on and under-mount configurations, SG-5000 can power all ISO reefers on the market, ensuring complete temperature control and protection of the refrigerated cargo.
Designed and manufactured specifically for the North American market, the new Thermo King SG-5000 gensets are California Air Resource Board (CARB) compliant for the lifetime of the product, protecting the customers’ investment and removing the need for retrofit or replacement. As with the CARB regulations, the SG-5000 also enables lifetime compliance with Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Tier 4 standards for off-highway diesel engines.
“Thermo King invests in research and development that corresponds with evolving and emerging technologies and allows us to deliver sustainability driven products and services that offer value, dependable performance and environmental responsibility,” says Thermo King Global Marine, Rail and Air vice president and general manager Jessica Poliner. ”We are committed to supplying our customers with the broadest product portfolio for reefers and generator sets today – and to be a trusted partner through the product’s lifecycle. The SG-5000 launch is just another step on that journey and plays an important role in helping to ensure cold chain integrity and protect against food loss.”
Daikin secures landmark shipment from Taiwan to USA
The culmination of 10 years of negotiation bore fruit with the first-ever shipment of guavas from Taiwan to the USA. Daikin Active controlled atmosphere (CA) refrigerated container technology was selected by ocean carrier Yang Ming Marine Transport Corporation for the historic shipment.
In October 2019, the USA signed the major trade agreement with Taiwan, paving the way to export Taiwanese guavas to the USA. Previously, concerns over unwanted pests such as fruit flies entering the USA had meant only Mexico was permitted to export guavas to the USA. The 10-year trade negotiation reflected rigorous US sanitary and phytosanitary protocols. With its first shipment of guavas to the USA, Taiwan became the only Asian country and just the second in the world now permitted to export this popular fruit.
The first Taiwanese guava shipment to the USA took place in January with the help of Daikin’s CA technology, which complies with the demanding cold treatment quarantine process while maintaining optimal transport conditions for the premium guava. Cold treatment, used internationally to prevent the spread of fruit flies without the need for pesticides, requires the core pulp of fruit to be maintained consistently below a certain temperature for a specified number of days during transport. In the case of Taiwanese guava, US rules specify that the core of the fruit must be kept below 1°C for 17 consecutive days.
“We appreciated the benefits that Daikin Active CA brought to our first-ever shipment of guava from Taiwan to the USA under cold treatment,” says Yang Ming Marine Transport Corporation’s commercial reefer department vice president Wang Tang, “We are proud to help open up the important US market for Taiwanese guava, which is already enjoyed by consumers in Canada, China, Hong Kong and Singapore”.
The Daikin Active CA system reduces oxygen and carbon dioxide and boosts nitrogen levels to quickly put fresh produce into a state of hibernation. This helps to maintain the quality and extend the shelf life of a wide range of fresh produce, even on long journeys. Daikin’s Active CA charges a rich nitrogen gas into the container which reduces the oxygen content, in turn reducing the respiration of the cargo, providing all-important humidity maintenance. Combining Daikin Active CA VPSA technology with cold treatment helps to counteract potential chilling injuries and other negative effects of holding higher maturity fruit in a low temperature environment over extended periods. This ensures the best possible cargo care and quality outturn along with regulatory compliance.
“We are delighted that Daikin Active CA and refrigeration container technology was selected for this historic shipment, ensuring the reputation of Taiwanese guava was maintained while meeting all the required safety controls. To our knowledge this is the first use of CA container technology combined with cold treatment in the international transport of guavas,” says Daikin Reefer general manager, global marketing and service, reefer department Ah Huat Goh, “We now look forward to supporting the growth of this exciting new export trade for Taiwan”.
As well as providing its Active CA and container refrigeration technology, Daikin Reefer closely monitored temperature, oxygen, and carbon dioxide levels inside the container during the entire shipment. Both the exporter and importer were highly satisfied with the shipment outturn and the guavas were distributed to the market within hours. The entire shipment sold out in a single day.
The impact of Covid-19 on the reefer trades
Carrier Transicold’s director of marketing, global container refrigeration Willy Yeo notes the impact of Covid-19 on the reefer trade. He says, “Since the onset of the pandemic, we have continued to work closely with our customers worldwide to ensure that during these challenging times we are able to best meet their needs with our industry-leading refrigerated container units, controlled-atmosphere systems, parts, services and digital offerings.
“We have continued to see encouraging order activity from our customers, as overall demand for our refrigerated container units has remained relatively stable. We managed to keep overall production at necessary levels due to our dedicated employees maintaining safe and reliable operations and our supply chain partners helping to minimise potential disruption risks.”