May 18, 2010
New technology allows fresh bananas to be shipped all the way from the Philippines to Europe. This opens up new markets for far-away exporters, and provides consumers all over the world with fresh fruit products.
At the end of April, a Maersk Line container vessel carrying several containers of bananas from Davao, Philippines, arrived in Rotterdam, Netherlands. Imported bananas are nothing out of the ordinary in Europe, but arriving from a destination as far as the Philippines is extraordinary.
This particular cargo was a trial shipment, with the bananas having spent a total of 34 days in the container. Nonetheless, the bananas were as fresh as when they were loaded at the point of origin.
Advanced reefer technology
How can this be? In order to overcome the transit time, Maersk Line deployed its StarCare™ reefer equipment. StarCare™ is an exclusive Maersk Line technology in selected reefer containers, specially designed to carry bananas on routes with transit times over 30 days. After successful trials with bananas out of Ecuador, the shipment from the Philippines was initiated. And with great success! The quality of the bananas didn’t suffer from the long transit time, the colour was green as it should be, and the bananas were nice and firm with no chilling injuries – absolutely no deterioration of the fruit.
“We’re proud that the trial shipment was successful,” says Kim Aksel Kristensen, Director at Maersk Line’s Reefer department. “This means that we can offer growers, buyers and other entities involved in the banana trades a whole new dimension to their trading patterns. Maersk Line can now offer access to almost any market place globally through the use of StarCare™, in affordable shipment sizes down to 20 pallets; subsequently Maersk Line is being an active and innovative part of creating new opportunities for our clients in the single largest perishable commodity segment in the world, the banana.”