A new batch of 2500 Star Cool Integrated containers from Maersk Container Industry (MCI), Denmark, will be deployed in Chiquita Brands International’s shipping services. Of the batch, 1,000 integrated containers are equipped with MCI’s Star Cool CA (controlled atmosphere) system, which preserves the freshness of bananas during transit. By controlling the ripening, Star Cool CA ensures an extended transportation window of up to 45 days and the arrival of the produce in perfect condition for a prolonged shelf life in the supermarkets.

Optimal cargo care

Transporting bananas over long distances used to be a challenge. If there is oxygen to consume, the produce will continue to ripen, making the process a race against time. With its airtight integrated container design, Star Cool CA precisely balances the atmosphere inside the container and allows shippers to carefully monitor and control the amount of carbon dioxide, oxygen and nitrogen.

Chiquita, Charlotte, N.C., is a producer of bananas and an operator of its own shipping fleet through Great White Fleet Ltd., Dania Beach, Fla.

“From shipment to shipment, each load can be carefully controlled based on the needs of the cargo. This is essential to deliver best quality bananas to our customers, and allows for a transportation window of up to 45 days. The CA technology is robust, effective and easy to control based on each individual shipment,” says Stefano Di Paolo, president of Chiquita.

The Star Cool CA concept ensures safe operation and fast oxygen pull down. This reduces the speed of the ripening to a minimum, allowing for extended travel distances, optimal freshness and longer shelf life without using supplementary third-party solutions.

“We are very proud that Chiquita has once again selected Star Cool containers to optimize its fruit logistics and help deliver high-quality bananas to the consumers,” says Søren Leth Johannsen, chief commercial officer, MCI. “When you say Chiquita, you think bananas, a challenging fruit to transport over longer distances. Therefore, we’re very pleased that Chiquita has found first-hand that Star Cool CA is a robust and reliable solution for banana shipping.”

Low energy consumption

Since adding Star Cool Integrated to its fleet, Chiquita has gained first-hand operational knowledge of the low-energy consumption and durable low-weight container design. In the new batch, the banana producer will also be able to take advantage of MCI’s StarConomy software, which is said to halve energy use without compromising quality.

“Using Star Cool Integrated containers over the last two years, we are satisfied with the high-quality banana delivery,” adds Di Paolo. “At the same time, we have achieved significant operational efficiencies and markedly reduced our energy consumption. This goes hand in hand with our commitment to sustainable shipping practices, and we are now looking forward to even more power reductions adding the newest technology in this field.”

The seamlessly combined design of the Star Cool Integrated container ensures low weight and durability, which in return, translates into tangible operational value throughout the container’s 15-year lifetime.

The new 40-foot-high cube Star Cool Integrated containers are delivered directly from MCI’s manufacturing facility in Qingdao, China, to be transported to Moin, Costa Rica, for first loads of fresh bananas destined for the United States and Europe. The containers are supplied to Chiquita under a long-term lease managed by Sun Intermodal Ltd., UK.