Maersk Container Industry (MCI), a Denmark-based independent business unit in the Maersk Group conglomerate, began production of the first refrigerated containers and Star Cool refrigeration machines built in South America at its new MCI facility in San Antonio, Chile.

"In this sweet spot of fruit exporters, we have placed the factory right where the demand is. For the first time ever in South America, reefer containers can go straight ‘from factory to farm,’" says Stig Hoffmeyer, chief executive officer. "Offering the Star Cool integrated reefers locally to shipping lines, farmers, fruit distributors and leasing companies will have a financial benefit counted in thousands of dollars per reefer and millions for the industry in total."

These 40-foot reefer containers are ISO standard.

"MCI is a strategic supplier for Maersk Line. The production of the Star Cool reefer containers out of Chile means that we can immediately employ them instead of an empty relocation trip. It will help us create new business opportunities in the West Coast of South America," says Søren Toft, chief operations officer of Maersk Line.

For the local farmers, the close access to the Star Cool integrated reefer technology opens up for broader market coverage and can become a catalyst for South American fresh produce exports. The add-on service of the "controlled atmosphere" system also carries fresh fruit and vegetables over extended distances.

"We're looking forward to further applying our advanced refrigeration solutions to the very specific cargo needs of the local fruit industry. We are in this for the long term, and our 1,000 employees are fully committed to ensure an ongoing world-class production," adds Hoffmeyer.

"Our new MCI factory is a strategic $200 million Greenfield investment. In the coming years, we will gradually ramp up production to 25,000 reefer containers per year, giving full priority to safety and quality. The factory is designed for a potential future sale of 40,000 reefers by 2020, all under one roof," he says.