On 18 May, two forty foot refrigerated containers will depart the port of Halifax, Canada, each carrying 20 tanks of live lobsters. Their destination is a specially built shellfish-handling facility in Urk, The Netherlands, and from there to a supplier in the UK.
Significantly reduced carbon footprint Traditionally, the accepted way to transport lobsters from their harvesting grounds in Canada to Europe has been by air freight; however, with this new Aqualife technology, Maersk Line is able to safely containerise lobsters and, by doing so, significantly reduce their carbon footprint.
Thomas Eskesen, Senior Director Reefer Management, says, “There is no doubt that the carbon footprint aspect has become a real motivator for both consumers and retailers.”
The transit time from Nova Scotia, where the lobsters are loaded, to Europe on Maersk Line’s transatlantic service will be approximately 10-12 days, compared to just 2-3 days via air freight.
The technology works through a steady supply of air being streamed into the purpose-built lobster tanks via the reefer container’s piping system. This, in effect, induces an artificial state of hibernation through the creation of an environment that slows down the lobsters’ metabolism.
The tanks were successfully trialled in June 2009. With some 15,000 tonnes of lobster air-freighted to Europe each year from Canada, the Halifax service offers our customers an environmentally friendly solution in the shellfish trade.
Both the containers and the tanks that make up the Aqualife system are built at Maersk Container Industry’s Danish facilities. While Maersk Line owns the assets, the patent for the technology is co-owned between Maersk and Aqualife.