MSC Medlog

Medlog, the logistics arm of shipping group MSC, has opened a US$20m fresh fruit packing plant in Peru, marking MSC’s first foray into fruit packing.

The facility is based in the Piura Futura industrial park and is intended to serve producers and exporters of avocados, grapes, and mangos in the northern macro-region of Peru.

It is equipped with a calibration line and an artificial vision system that can classify and separate fruit according to size and weight by taking high-resolution images and evaluating their appearance and quality, detecting any stains or damages.

The plant is located on an area of 35,000m², and just 35km from the port of Paita, granting it direct access to the Panamericana Norte highway. The location is particularly strategic due to Piura's significant fruit export volumes, allowing for year-round operations: the grape season covers October to December, which is followed by the mango season from December to March, and finally avocado from March until August.

“With this opening, we’re entering the packing sector, which is perfectly complementary with MSC’s reefer ocean transportation services, allowing us to get closer to our fruit clients, as we provide this additional solution, on top of our already solid presence in the reefer sector,” the company told Fruitnet.

The shipper said it is continually striving to stay ahead of market trends to ensure it can help its customers reach key trade centres for their commodities. In the avocado business, for example, it recently added Philadelphia to its US port coverage on the Canada Gulf Bridge service with a view of offering the shortest and most reliable service to the country for Mexican avocado exports.

This past year and a half has been particularly challenging for the produce trade as cargo congestion brought on by extreme demand in combination with operational disruptions is felt across supply chains everywhere in the world.

Ocean carriers have been deploying all available capacity to manage the operational disruptions brought on by Covid-19. During this time, MSC says it has continued to work closely with all stakeholders to address the situation as effectively and efficiently as possible.

“In the first half of 2021, we started eight new services, deployed available vessel capacity, and provided hundreds of thousands of additional containers to help respond to the huge demand for cargo transportation in an extremely challenging and congested market,” the company said.

“We have also been diversifying the portfolio of available ports to alleviate some of the pressure from the more congested areas, rerouting cargo through other gateways, adding terminals, and diversifying inland with the railroads.”

It is difficult to predict exactly what the outlook might be for the coming months as much will hinge on the pace and trajectory of the coronavirus recovery curve around the world. “We’ve done our utmost best to keep customers’ reefer operations functioning amid the pandemic. The growing demand has also opened up new market possibilities, which we have been able to support thanks to our continual investment in the best technologies for refrigerated transport solutions,” the company said.