Tuesday, November 17, 2015

New Source to Provide Local Reefer Containers for Shipping Lines and Fruit Producers

Bid to Break Chinese Manufacturing Monopoly
Shipping News Feature
CHILE – Maersk Container Industry (MCI), an independent business unit in the Maersk Group conglomerate, has begun production of the first refrigerated containers and Star Cool refrigeration machines built in South America at its new MCI facility in San Antonio, Chile. The first trial production of these ISO standard 40 foot reefer containers was successfully delivered during the third quarter of 2015 to Maersk Line and CMA CGM operations and shortly thereafter both shipping lines placed new orders. Stig Hoffmeyer, Chief Executive Officer of MCI, said:

“In this sweet spot of fruit exporters, we have placed the factory right where the demand is. For the first time ever in South America, reefer containers can go straight ‘from factory to farm’. Offering the Star Cool Integrated reefers locally to shipping lines, farmers, fruit distributors and leasing companies, will have a financial benefit counted in thousands of dollars per reefer, and millions for the industry in total.”

According to international shipping and transportation analyst, Seabury, every year more than 100,000 reefer containers are needed in Chile to cater for the large export market and, when Colombia, Ecuador and Peru are included, the total rises to approximately 300,000 reefer boxes. For many years, China has been the only country with bulk reefer container production. Chief Operations Officer of Maersk Line, Søren Toft, whose company has secured a fixed monthly volume from the MCI facility, which Maersk says should allow for increased agility and a faster response time to the demand in the region, commented:

“MCI is a strategic supplier for Maersk Line. The production of the Star Cool reefer containers out of Chile means that we can immediately employ them instead of an empty relocation trip. It will help us create new business opportunities in the West Coast of South America. We're looking forward to further applying our advanced refrigeration solutions to the very specific cargo needs of the local fruit industry.

“We are in this for the long term and our 1,000 employees are fully committed to ensure an ongoing world class production. Our new MCI factory is a strategic $200 million green field investment. In the coming years, we will gradually ramp up production to 25,000 reefer containers per year giving full priority to safety and quality. The factory is designed for a potential future sale of 40,000 reefers by 2020, all under one roof.”

The company has said that it aims to benefit the local farmers with the close access to the Star Cool Integrated reefer technology which MCI hopes will open up broader market coverage, becoming a catalyst for improved levels of South American fresh produce exports. The Star Cool refrigeration machine is not only able to service cargo at refrigerated temperatures with the lowest energy consumption, the add-on service of the ‘Controlled Atmosphere’ system has also proven worthwhile when carrying fresh fruit and vegetables over extended distances.