NOVA MEDIA PUBLISHING INC.

All Chiquita Bananas Now Shipped by Container

22.2.2019

Banana trader Chiquita has changed its import logistics for Europe. Instead of using Specialized Reefer vessels the bananas will in future only be transported in containers. On the occasion of the first launch of its new transatlantic service, on 18 February the group invited business partners and customers to a ceremony in the Dutch port of Vlissingen.

Around 500 to 600 (40-foot) refrigerated containers full of Chiquita bananas now arrive once a week at the Kloosterboer terminal in the harbor at the Schelde estuary. "We'll be able to do the same with two ships less," said Stefani Di Paolo, president of Chiquita shipping company Great White Fleet, which is responsible for the group's ocean freight logistics.

The new service, which delivers all the goods for northwestern Europe, including the UK and Scandinavia, from the producing countries of Costa Rica, Ecuador, Peru and Panama, is now operated with five medium-sized container vessels with capacity of around 2,500 TEUs - including two of its own Chiquita freighters, three others are chartered. By the beginning of the year, nine conventional reefers had been returned to their owners.

As the only starting point in Northern Europe, Vlissingen has a hub function: The goods destined for the surrounding countries are distributed directly - mostly by truck - from here, while the containers for the United Kingdom and Scandinavia are shipped using smaller feeder vessels for the final stage. In addition to cost savings, Chiquita expects the new system to deliver higher product quality.

If the bananas were previously loaded palletized and thus temporarily exposed to outside air at all transhipment points, they now remain firmly closed in the refrigerated container for most of the transport route. In the terminal in Vlissingen, the goods are only taken out of the container when the customer calls them up and sends a truck. "This will allow us to delay the removal of bananas from the controlled atmosphere of the containers at the latest possible time," said Di Paolo.

All in all, the containerization of European imports should have cost the company a three-digit million amount. In order to fully equip its own shipping service, Chiquita has acquired 7000 new refrigerated containers with CA technology (Controlled Atmosphere) for controlling the air composition inside. The last units will be delivered soon.

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