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MSC has become the latest carrier to make a significant investment in controlled atmosphere (CA) technology, inking an order for 5,000 units from Carrier Transicold yesterday.
The XtendFESH units will be leased from SeaCube Containers.
“By adding atmosphere control for selected perishable cargo, we are enhancing the care we provide for the valuable commodities we ship for our customers,” said Giuseppe Prudente, chief logistics officer at MSC.
“XtendFRESH technology enables MSC to transport fruit and other refrigerated cargo over longer distances, creating tremendous new opportunities for exporters and importers.”
Carrier Transicold’s CA technology manages oxygen and carbon dioxide levels within refrigerated containers, reducing oxygen levels and increasing carbon dioxide at the same time. This removes ethylene, slowing the ripening of produce and helping to preserve its quality beyond what can be achieved by refrigeration alone.
MSC began experimenting with the technology in June, and conducted a trial shipment of melons from Spain to Asia.
“This represents a unique opportunity for Spanish producers to open new markets demanding high-quality fruits and vegetables,” it said at the time.
SeaCube chief executive Robert Sappio said factors such as slow-steaming and the development of service networks following the consolidation of shipping line alliances were creating demand for CA technology.
The system selected by MSC also has an option that enables conversion from R-134a to R-513A, a refrigerant with a significantly lower global warming potential.
In the past couple of months, Hapag-Lloyd and CMA CGM have placed large orders for reefers with CA technology – with Maersk Container Industry and Daikin, respectively – as carriers look to upgrade their range of reefer services for perishables shippers.