Maersk Container Industry (MCI has begun production of the first refrigerated containers and Star Cool refrigeration machines built in South America at its new MCI facility in San Antonio, Chile.
The first trial production of these ISO standard 40ft reefer containers were successfully delivered during the third quarter of 2015 into the Maersk Line and CMA CGM operations and shortly thereafter, both shipping lines placed new orders, the company said. Maersk Line has now secured a fixed monthly volume from the MCI facility allowing for increased agility and fast response time to the demand in the region.
In the coming years, the factory will gradually ramp up production to 25,000 reefer containers per year. The facility is designed for a potential future sale of 40,000 reefers by 2020, all under one roof.
“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,” said Stig Hoffmeyer, CEO of MCI.
“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.”
Every year, more than 100,000 reefer containers are needed in Chile to cater for exports. Including Colombia, Ecuador and Peru it amounts to approximately 300,000 reefer containers, predicts Seabury, the international shipping and transportation analyst. For many years, China was the only country with reefer container production.
“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,” said Søren Toft, Maersk Line’s COO.
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, Maersk said.
“We’re looking forward to further applying our advanced refrigeration solutions to the very specific cargo needs of the local fruit industry,” Hoffmeyer said.
“We are in this for the long term and our 1,000 employees are fully committed to ensure an ongoing world class production.”