New service carrying bananas from Central America to Europe in reefer containers with controlled atmosphere technology gets underway.
Chiquita Brands International, has announced that the first vessel in its service linking Central America to Europe’s Vlissingen port in Netherlands has sailed. The service will be operated with five fully cellular container vessels, and serve all Northern European destinations for Chiquita. It is part of a major service reorganisation announced by Chiquita last year, which sees container ships replacing conventional reefer vessels for Chiquta’s Northern European business. Stevedoring at Vlissingen is provided by Kloosterboer.
Chiquita said the new vessels “have also helped to reduce the handling of fruit at ports and increased stowage capacity by 12.5%, thanks to a more efficient storage from origin to destination, guaranteeing the cold chain. These improvements will mean more bananas can be moved per trip, using less energy whilst still ensuring the fruit quality is prioritised.”
With regard to reefer containers, Chiquita recently purchased 2,500 new units from Maersk Container Industry (MCI), out of which 1,000 were equipped with MCI’s controlled atmosphere (CA) system. CA is not needed for Chiquita’s shorter routes from Central to North America, but on the longer routes to European markets it extends the transportation window to 45 days by controlling ripening.
"Looking back over these past years work with the container fleet upgrade, we can proudly say we have achieved something remarkable" said Carlos Lopez Flores, President of Chiquita. "We’ve saved an unprecedented amount of energy – the equivalent of the CO2 emitted by 3,000 cars per year.”
Stefano Di Paolo, President of the Great White Fleet, added; "On January 9th the first vessel in this new service left Central America to sail to the Port of Vlissingen, a new modern hub that will allow Chiquita to serve all Northern European destinations with the best transit time in the industry. Chiquita is proud to offer its clients the best service in quality, time and efficiency."
Chiquita has not yet made an announcement with regard to remote reefer monitoring technology, but WorldCargo News understands it is one of several carriers investigating and testing this technology.