Intelligent cooling containers improve sustainability and guarantee best quality bananas on shelves


March 31st 2020 ・ 10 min reading

By investing in 2500 new energy-efficient reefer containers from Maersk Container Industry Chiquita is taking a leap ahead.

With this new fleet the company will save 35 percent energy per container, reducing CO2 emissions to around 17,000 tons a year and improving banana quality.

Intelligent cooling

Transporting bananas over long distances used to be a challenge. When exposed to oxygen fruits continue to ripen. In the new airtight integrated containers Star Cool CA, however, the atmospheric conditions can be controlled precisely. The new technology, with which 1000 containers of Chiquita’s new fleet are equipped, allows shippers to carefully monitor and control the amount of carbon dioxide, oxygen and nitrogen. By controlling the ripening, the system ensures an extended transportation window of up to 45 days and arrival of the bananas in perfect condition for a prolonged shelf life in supermarkets.

«From shipment to shipment each load can be carefully controlled based on the needs of the cargo. This is essential for delivering best quality bananas to our customers. The CA technology is robust, effective and easy to control based on each individual shipment», says Stefano Di Paolo, President of Great White Fleet Ltd, the ocean carrier of Chiquita.

First-hand operational knowledge of low-energy consumption

Since adding Star Cool Integrated to its fleet, Chiquita has gained first-hand operational knowledge of its low-energy consumption and durable low-weight container design and software. Reducing energy consumption is one of the most important methods of improving sustainability. In order to achieve its sustainability goals, Chiquita began a container upgrade program in 2009. The goal of the company was to replace 65 percent of the container fleet by the end of 2017 and this has been achieved. It was a big project: Chiquita operates more than 15‘000 40-foot containers! Between January 2015 and the end of 2017 Chiquita replaced 4‘570 older containers with 5‘700 new ones. Prior to this, 7’000 units had been replaced. Despite an increase of 25 percent in the overall number of containers, Chiquita achieved an 11 percent reduction in electricity consumption.

Energy savings and emission reduction

The impact of this fleet renewal is substantial: per new container Chiquita achieves energy savings of up to 35 percent compared to the older ones. Even greater is the amount of energy saved with the software. It automatically shuts down the container compressor and saves up to 58 percent compared to the older units. As a result of these improvements, electricity savings of 34 million kilowatt hours per year have been achieved. In sustainability terms this leads to an annual reduction of 17‘000 tons of CO2 emissions. Just imagine: this is the equivalent of the CO2 emitted by 3‘000 cars per year. Looking back over these past years of container fleet upgrade Chiquita can proudly say: we have achieved our goal! Chiquita always keeps its promises.

Did you know?

  • Chiquita is both: a leading producer of bananas and an operator of its own substantial shipping fleet through the premier ocean carrier Great White Fleet.
  • Chiquita recognizes its duty to take the lead in banana production and to rally the industry to tackle key challenges. Sustainability is one of the most important of these.
  • In order to measure CO2 output Chiquita has conducted pioneering work with MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology). In May 2009 this led to Chiquita being recognized by SCLA (Supply Chain Leaders in Action) for its initiative to measure carbon footprint from farm to retailer.

Behind the Blue Sticker

Chiquita wants to make sure that the iconic blue sticker stands for sustainable bananas. That is why efficient and sustainable business processes have been introduced throughout the whole supply chain. One of the key sustainability initiatives was the container fleet renewal for reduced environmental footprint.

Video material

  • Discover the Star Cool CA animation film on Vimeo here
Intelligent cooling containers improve sustainability and guarantee best quality bananas on shelves - 1
Intelligent cooling containers improve sustainability and guarantee best quality bananas on shelves - 2

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