The European rotation of an MSC container service between the West Coast of South America and northern Europe has been modified to bring reefer cargo from Ecuador to Antwerp in just 17 days, with the Port of Antwerp the service's first call.
There is a clear trend in reefer shipping for more and more fruit to be carried in containers, with container carriers seeing their market share rise significantly in the past few years at the expense of the traditional reefer fleet.
Ecuadorian group Noboa has now decided to send its Bonita brand of bananas from Guayaquil by container carrier instead of the traditional refrigerated ships. The fruit producer opted for MSC because the shipping company is able to guarantee rapid transit times between Ecuador and northern Europe.
As a result, MSC has changed its sailing schedule specifically for this contract, so that Antwerp is now the first port of unlading. Antwerp is already the world’s largest banana port, as well as being an important hub for reefer cargo.
The first reefer containers with bananas were loaded on board the MSC Vaishnavi R in Guayaquil on 18 May, and the first shipment arrived in Antwerp on 3 June. From now on an average of 260 40ft reefer containers will be sent weekly.