Friday, September 19, 2014

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Maersk Container Industry technology could extend Africa's mango season

Maersk Container Industry says its Star Cool container technology could help extend the West African mango export season, according to a company statement.

Recent test shipments from Côte d'Ivoire proved that West Africa's mango harvest season, which is typically four to six weeks, could be prolonged using special containers that place the fruit in hibernation, MCI said.

Five Star Cool CA containers were loaded with mangoes last May, and four weeks were later were opened one by one each week. Each time a container was opened, the fruit turned out to generally be in the same condition it was in when it was first loaded, according to reefer shipping partner Africa Express Line.

"For a 4-6 week period in April and May, the country is flooded with good mangoes, but it ends abruptly when the rainy season starts. From then on, the mango just starts decaying," explained Mathew Shed, container manager at AEL.

Logistics company Eolis had asked AEL for a solution that would keep the fruit marketable for a longer stretch. MCI said at that point Star Cool containers that were upgraded to work with controlled atmosphere, adjusting oxygen and carbon dioxide levels en route, were sent to the Ivory Coast.

"We knew how Star Cool CA extends the storage life of bananas and avocados. Mangoes have similar respiration rates so the success of the mango test is really not a big surprise," said Shed. "I think there is a new business opportunity for farmers whose excess fruit never makes it to the market in time."

MCI said it was thrilled with the test results of the technology.

"Combined competences along the logistics chain can save food and open up business," said Anders Holm, sales and marketing general manager at MCI. "I'll even go so far as to say this could become a mango revolution."

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