30 November 2017

Container Shipping Lines and Refrigeration Specialist Work to Improve Reefer Performance  

System Now Scrubs Ethylene and Carbon Dioxide from Perishable Fruit Shipments

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Shipping News Feature WORLDWIDE – Back in September 2015 we wrote how German container shipping line Hamburg Süd had chosen to use reefer boxes equipped with the refrigeration specialist Carrier Transicold's XtendFRESH system, and a meeting at the recent Intermodal Europe event gave the two companies a chance to reflect on how the decision had worked out, plus discuss plans for the future.

Reflecting the ever growing use of controlled-atmosphere (CA) technologies to maintain the quality of fruits and vegetables over extended shipping times, Hamburg Süd has now transported more than 7,000 container shipments of perishable goods using the system. Using the technology principally on its South American routes the ocean carrier has increased its usage in 2017, principally with the carriage of avocados and bananas, and expects to use it with an even broader range of perishables in 2018. Stefan Dühring, global head of logistics at Hamburg Süd, commented:

“There is a great deal of enthusiasm on the part of exporters to use controlled-atmosphere technologies to reach new regions for their perishable goods. The number of shipments using XtendFRESH technology represents a significant and growing segment of our refrigerated shipments. We’ve had success using the XtendFRESH system for avocados and bananas in many of our key refrigerated trade lanes. Our confidence in using XtendFRESH technology with higher-respiring perishables has led us to initiate plans to trial the system with shipments of South America-grown blueberries, a lower respiring fruit.”

Hamburg Süd, which collaborated with Carrier Transicold on system capabilities and testing during the development of the XtendFRESH system, originally began acquiring Carrier Transicold PrimeLINE® units equipped with the technology in 2014 before that 2015 order for 400 reefers. The system simultaneously controls carbon dioxide (CO2) and oxygen (O) levels in multiple combinations within a refrigerated shipping container to reduce respiration and the ripening of fruits and vegetables.

This enables a shipping line to transport exported perishable goods over longer times than with refrigeration alone, helping to reach new destinations. Preserving perishables is further enhanced by the system’s ability to remove ethylene, a hormone released by produce that can accelerate ripening if left unchecked. The system is the only CA solution with an integral ethylene removal capability. Jim Taeckens, senior product manager, Carrier Transicold, explained the advantages:

“The wider range of settings, along with ethylene control, provide advantages for shipping lines in meeting the needs of exporters. Additionally, the XtendFRESH system has no membrane filter to replace, as is common with some other systems, reducing maintenance requirements for fleets that offer it as an option for their customers.”

Taeckens added that to ensure optimal performance, containers must be in good condition with potential air leaks minimised through the use of a curtain wall at the door end of the container and Carrier Transicold provides training in the proper use of the XtendFRESH system and how to prepare a container prior to shipment. Helping to further boost performance, Carrier has worked with shipping lines on enhancements to the XtendFRESH system, including improved gaskets, advanced control software and a sensor to monitor operation of the ethylene and CO2 scrubber motor.

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