Maersk Container Industry (MCI) has fulfilled an order from Africa Express Line (AEL), an operator of nine specialist reefer vessels, to expand its refrigerated container fleet by 500.
Operating its fleet over a dedicated weekly liner service across Europe, Mediterranean and West Africa trade routes, AEL selected what Maersk claims is “the industry’s only fully integrated refrigerated container” due to its proven high energy efficiency and effective care of the ripening process of perishables.
The reefer containers also have Star Cool Controlled Atmosphere (CA) technology that allows remote asset checks through modems that communicate temperature and atmosphere, and connect to alarms logged in real time in the Star Cool units.
AEL’s owner, French fruit exporter Compagnie Fruitiere, will put the reefers into service in routes to and from Europe and West Africa
To further propel energy performance, AEL will activate the StarConomy reefer control application, proven to halve energy use while keeping the same temperature inside the container, preserving product quality.
To supplement its fleet of specialized reefer vessels, AEL is chartering a newly built vessel with high reefer plug capacity, the 2,345 TEU ‘Mimmi Schulte’, to carry the new 40-foot high cube Star Cool CA reefers.
Delivered directly from MCI’s factory in Qingdao, the maiden voyage will go to West Africa.
A Star Cool service manager oversees the arrival of AEL's new containers in Douala, Cameroon
Mathew Shed, Technical Director at AEL, said: “We set out to invest in containers that would protect the high-value produce we transport while saving energy.
“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.”
Learn how temperature control is a component of containerisation that has continued to rise in importance with international trade by reading the 'Keeping Cool: Challenges for Containerised Reefer Trade' technical paper
Soren Johannsen, Chief Commercial Officer, MCI, stated: “We have a long-standing relationship with AEL and we are delighted that they again have chosen to add the most efficient container model.
“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 digitalized solutions that allow for transparency and expanded data access.”