Maersk Container Industry, one of the Maersk Group’s business units, has started manufacturing refrigerated containers and Star Cool refrigeration machines at its new facility in San Antonio, Chile.
“In this sweet spot of fruit exporters, we have placed the factory right where the demand is,” said Stig Hoffmeyer, chief executive officer of MCI. “For the first time ever in South America, reefer containers can go straight from ‘from factory to farm.’ 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.”
Maersk Line and CMA CGM took delivery of the first trial batch of the ISO-standard 40-foot reefer containers during the third quarter of 2015, after which the two lines placed orders.
The MCI facility has also committed to providing Maersk Line with a fixed monthly volume so that it can respond quicker to growing demand in the region.
“MCI is a strategic supplier for Maersk Line,” said Søren Toft, chief operations officer of 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.”
According to analyst firm Seabury, more than 100,000 reefer containers are needed every year in Chile alone. Approximately 300,000 are needed if Colombia, Ecuador and Peru are also included.
The Star Cool system maintains fruit and vegetables at specific temperature ranges with low energy consumption, and is suitable for produce such as asparagus, avocado, banana and mango.
“We’re looking forward to further applying our advanced refrigeration solutions to the very specific cargo needs of the local fruit industry,” said Hoffmeyer. “We are in this for the long term and our 1,000 employees are fully committed to ensure an ongoing world-class production.”
He added that the company would gradually ramp up production to 25,000 containers per year, and that the factory has a potential capacity of 40,000 reefers by 2020.