Until a few years ago, it was not possible to transport bananas from growers in Ecuador to consumers in Azerbaijan except by air. Then came a reefer trade game changer: Maersk Container Industry’s Star Cool Controlled Atmosphere (CA). A new animation film (http://www.multivu.com/mnr/63464-maersk-star-cool-reefer-film) now seeks to explain this simple, affordable technology.
Banana producers soon saw potential travel time increase from 20 to 45 days. Bananas from the Matanuska Farm in Mozambique’s Nacala region, for example, could suddenly reach markets in Europe and Asia, and Star Cool CA allowed exporters in Ecuador access to banana consumers in Baku, Azerbaijan.
Four years later, more than 25,000 Star Cool CA reefers are in action around the world on several major reefer container lines in both Asia and Europe.
New CA animation goes beyond banana and avocado exports to target shippers of a range of high-respiring fruits and vegetables such as asparagus or mangoes.
The Star Cool CA track record is based on a simple patented design. During transport, the biological respiration processes within the cargo will consume the container’s oxygen (O2) so the Star Cool trick is to control this process with a membrane filter. In an energy-efficient way, the filter releases excess carbon dioxide (CO2), which in some cases can damage the cargo if left uncontrolled.
“We took a technology well-known from other contexts and developed it further. Star Cool CA uses a permeable membrane and a vacuum pump to extract excess CO2 from the cargo,” said Gert Jorgensen, head of MCI’s research and development section.
Acquisition and operation cost is important for the use of CA in new trades.
“More customers will be able to use CA because the acquisition cost is relatively low. They will also save money on operations as cost per trip is kept to a minimum,” said Anders G Holm of MCI sales and marketing.
The Star Cool CA animation follows a similar film about MCI’s automated ventilation, AV+. “Don’t leave your fridge open!” shows how AV+ controls the air intake in a reefer to save energy and to preserve cargo quality.
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