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Published: 5 October 2017      

MCI reefers for AEL

Africa Express Line Ltd (AEL) has ordered 500 Star Cool Integrated reefer containers from Maersk Container Industry (MCI).

The containers will be deployed to service AEL’s owner, French fruit exporter Compagnie Fruitiere, in routes to and from Europe and West Africa. They will feature both MCI’s controlled atmosphere system and be compatible with other modified atmosphere systems used by AEL.  

AEL selected the StarCool integrated refrigerated container and the Star Cool Controlled Atmosphere (CA) technology for its proven high energy efficiency and effective care of the ripening process of perishables,” MCI said in a statement.



“We set out to invest in containers that would protect the high-value produce we transport while saving energy,” says Mathew Shed, Technical Director at AEL. “After comparative field trials, the controlled atmosphere technology clearly demonstrated its ability to help ensure the produce arrives at its destination in optimal condition. We will also take advantage of the energy saving applications and remote monitoring capabilities of Star Cool. Not only will they help us optimise operations, but they will also help us stay true to the CSR commitments we share with our owner, Compagnie Fruitiere.”



All Star Cool containers will be equipped with Refcon RMM+ modems, which AEL is implementing across all its reefer fleet, for remote access to monitor the assets, temperature, atmosphere, and alarms logged in real time in the Star Cool units. “To further propel energy performance, AEL will activate the StarConomy reefer control application, which is proven to halve energy use while maintaining the same temperature inside the container, preserving produce quality,” MCI added.



“We have a long-standing relationship with AEL and we are delighted that they again have chosen to add the most efficient container model,” says Soren Johannsen, Chief Commercial Officer, MCI. “The integrated Star Cool 2017 model provides a whole suite of new efficiency-enhancing features to support the needs of modern container operations – from monitoring and controlling the atmospheric conditions on the inside of the container to digitalised solutions that allow for transparency and expanded data access.”



Working with Emerson, AEL is an early adopter of remote reefer monitoring, and the new Star Cool reefers feature built-in digital solutions that can be used as part of AEL’s roll out of this technology. These include an energy meter that can be read either manually or remotely, and the “Intelligent Trip Inspection (ITI)” that now comes standard in all Star Cool reefers. This enables the Pre-Trip Inspection process to be performed remotely, with self-diagnostics to identify issues that need to be addressed. 

The order is another step in AEL’s move to extend its use of reefer containers as the number of reefer ships in the market declines. To supplement its fleet of specialised reefer vessels, AEL is chartering the new build 2,345 TEU MV MIMMI SCHULTE’, which is equipped with high reefer plug capacity, to carry its new 40-foot high cube Star Cool CA reefers. 

The new reefers will be delivered directly from MCI’s factory in Qingdao for deployment to West Africa.



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  • Africa Express Line
  • Compagnie Fruitière
  • Maersk Container Industry
  • Reefer container manufacture
  • Container shipping


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