If you ever thought moving fish, meat, fruit and vegetables halfway across the world was a simple question of a-to-b logistics, you should meet the Head of Commercial and Markets, Maersk Line Reefer, Ole Schack Petersen. To him transit times, reefer containers, temperature regulation and ‘controlled atmosphere’ are everyday terms that have occupied his professional universe for more than 35 years.
Ole literally knows about all there is to know about the ideal transportation of perishable goods across the world oceans. After setting foot on a reefer ship for the first time in 1978, he has never left the industry and when you sit across him today, this is no doubt the passion for keeping his promises to reefer customers all over the globe and ensuring perfect food quality to the end consumers is completely intact.
The closeness with the customers and the constant challenge of landing on the right side of a thin line between failure and success in the industry are his main drivers.
The instant feedback
“You can only survive in this line of business, if you are absolutely committed and absolutely genuine. You have to keep your promises and if for some reason you can’t you have to be completely honest and open about it.” The huge responsibility of creating ideal transport conditions for commodities with a short lifespan and by this effort keeping businesses all over the world financially afloat, doesn’t keep Ole sleepless. He thrives on it. “You get a feedback about how you are doing very, very fast in this line of business. We are talking about produce that stands no failure, no delay. You have to be accurate and you have to deliver. To me, the professional challenge is that whole vulnerability,” he explains.
New technology, new opportunities
The reefer veteran feels that he has literally seen the continents of the world grow closer during his lifetime in the business. The development of modern vessels and advanced reefer technology means that foods which could never had made their final destination in good condition even just a decade ago, are now being shipped out of emerging markets with a subsequent massive socio-economic impact.
“It has been and still is amazing to see these immense steps forward for the export opportunities. Looking at it in that perspective, it becomes even clearer that producing and exporting for instance fruit is never just a question of the fruit and the simple logistics. People’s life opportunities and livelihoods are literally on the line. In the reefer business, that’s what we promote and protect,” says Ole.
Ole Schack Petersen is one of Maersk Line’s reefer experts who are participating in the industry’s largest expo Fruit Logistica in Berlin from February 5 – 7.
How does a banana travel?
When you sink your teeth into a sweet ripe banana you bought from your local supermarket you probably don’t think about the fact that the piece of fruit you are enjoying in some cases has travelled several weeks under very particular circumstances.
However, bananas are among the type of fruit that is very demanding to carry around the world and the massive export of the fruit from the southern to the northern hemisphere wouldn’t be possible at all without advanced reefer container technology.
Too warm, too cold
When bananas meant for export are picked, they are still green and inedible and how they are handled during the trip to their final destination is absolutely crucial. Research and experience dictate that the ideal temperature to keep the bananas in perfect shape is 14 degrees Celsius.
If the temperature deviates by as little as 0.5 degrees, problems quickly occur. Increasing heat will ignite the riping process way too early resulting in rotten fruit on arrival, creating an atmosphere that’s too cold will literally ‘kill’ the bananas and make them unable to ever move from the unripe green stage to the desired yellow sweetness.
Creating the perfect banana bed
The answer is the right technology. By natural respiration the bananas will absorb O2 and produce CO2. Maersk Line’s StarCare™ container effectively maintains and controls the correct levels of these gasses, by the use of advanced CA membrane technology. Auto-fresh air intake regulates oxygen levels for the optimum atmosphere, virtually creating ‘the perfect banana bed’ which allows the bananas to travel for as long as 50 days and still be entirely fresh on arrival.
From February 5 – 7, Maersk Line will be at Fruit Logistica in Berlin. Fruit Logistica is the leading international meeting place of the fresh produce trade. Meet our reefer experts in hall 25, stand B-08.
Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller is now back in North European waters after a round trip of 12 weeks.
Last week we had an inducement call in Algeciras and on Wednesday we passed the Great Belt in Denmark on our way to Gdansk in Poland.
Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller will pass the Great Belt Bridge north bound Sunday afternoon (November 17) and arrive in Aarhus Sunday evening at around 17:00.
It has been a fantastic journey with many maiden events, typhoons with strong winds in the Far East, rough sea in the Bay of Biscay and the experience of working so closely with my brilliant crew.
Before I sign off on Monday to go on vacation, I wish to thank you all for the interest you have shown in the maiden voyage of Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller. Both in the ports, at vantage points, in the media as well as on social media.
All the best to all of you,
Niels V. Pedersen
Maersk Mc-Kinney Møller
The Great Belt bridge at night
Visiting Gil the cook
After a busy round trip to the Far East, Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller is now in the Indian Ocean heading for Europe.
Your Christmas presents are on the way, together with many tonnes of fireworks for New Years Eve.
The load this trip consists of 14,250 TEU / 140,100 tonnes of cargo.
Very soon Gil, our head chef, will start ordering the Christmas provision and sweets.
All the best to you all,
Niels V. Pedersen
Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller
Friday morning the Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller arrived to Hong Kong on its maiden call.