To ensure the fruits remain in optimum shape during the sea crossing, in January, 2018, Marfret invested in a fleet of 250 brand-new 40′ high-cube refrigerated containers. The containers, which provide a controlled atmosphere thanks to Starcool technology, have become an immediate hit with producers of avocados, the tender flesh of which is especially fragile.
2018 has been an extremely dynamic year for Marfret in terms of controlled temperature transport, with the rise in reefer volumes from Latin and Central America.
Marfret is reaping the benefits of the seeds that it has been sowing since 2016 when it facilitated the Mediterranean-Caribbean (MedCar) line cross trade with the Pacific zone while strengthening its presence in its historic ports.
Marfret’s innovation in multimodal logistics has paved the way for new markets on the other side of the Panama Canal. Indeed, the company for instance has utilized all of the different shipment combinations which can be delivered over a transshipment hub -while maintaining a high level of transit time reliability- to support the Peruvian avocado expansion into Europe.
This small green fruit, which consumers love for its nutritional qualities, is now experiencing unprecedented growth in Colombia thanks to the influx of international investment in Colombian agricultural land. In 2019, the country will host the World Avocado Congress in September.
Colombia’s topography, with its diverse relief and vast hydrographic system, gives it a variety of climates that allow it to expand its avocado production throughout the year.
To best serve the interests of exporters, the company has invested in the acquisition of 300 forty-foot Starcool containers. These preserve the quality of perishable foodstuffs and extend their lifespan.
The competitiveness of the transit-time, only 12 days, between Turbo and Algeciras, is also bearing fruit with record shipments to Spain. Iberian importers then redistribute part of the shipment to the south of France via the Saint-Charles de Perpignan market. This strategy, supported by Marfret, contributes to the year round availability for European distribution through imports of off-season fruit.
2019 promises to be just as rich in new developments, particularly in Costa Rica with the inauguration on February 28th of the Moin terminal, where six of the latest generation ship to shore gantries will enter commission which will make the MedCar line a little more reliable.
The entire Marfret team thanks its customers for their loyalty. The trust you place in us encourages us to do even better in transporting your cargo and to take care of the most sensitive. We wish you and your families and loved ones a very happy New Year.
Brazil and Costa Rica are the main melon and watermelon exporting countries in South and Central America. After eight months of shipping from Natal to Algeciras, on its Brazil and French Guiana line, Marfret ensures the continuity of supplies to Spain thanks to the Medcar service. January marks the start of the harvest of melons and watermelons grown in Costa Rica and exported from the port of Moin. Until the end of April 2019, the fruit will be picked, sorted, stored and transported in reefer containers to the consumer markets.
In Costa Rica, the Cantaloupe and watermelon harvesting campaign is in full swing from January to April. Each year, Marfret transports these fruits on the weekly Mediterranean Caribbean line (MedCar) which serves Spain. In winter, when production ceases in Europe, the warmer climate of Central and South America allows a continuous off season supply Europe, which, jointly with the USA, is the main destination for Costa Rican melons.
The activity is concentrated through Moin, the main shipping port for melons and watermelons. “This campaign coincides with the Easter holidays in Spain, where supermarkets use exotic fruits as their flagship product. The melons are shipped to Italy and Spain at a time when these countries no longer have local production,” explains Céline Douvenou, reefer sales manager for the Medcar line in Marfret.
Repositioning empties and technical detail
Just before deliveries begin, Marfret is already in the starting blocks. The MedCar team are in the vanguard having previously worked on the pre-positioning of 40-foot reefer containers in order to facilitate export logistics operations. Because shipping cantaloupe melons and watermelons requires a well-oiled machine: “The supply chain must be controlled because these are fragile fruits. Our fruit terminal is located directly adjacent to the quays at the port of Moin, and thus we contribute to the free flow of the goods as they pass through the port complex and to the loading quay. We allow, and encourage, exporters to visit our depot manager so that they can improve their technical knowledge and enable them to safely stow and stuff the containers more easily once they arrived at the farms,” explains Céline Douvenou. Road hauliers arrive at the farms, with containers placed on their chassis, which allows them to be stuffed directly from the warehouse at 7°.
Export of Costa Rican and Brazilian melons to Italy
Previously dominated by Mexico, the market from Central America now has to deal with Costa Rica, whose rich soil is favourable to the cultivation of these two fruits. Previously known for growing sorghum, rice, maize and coffee, Costa Rica has entered the market for melons and watermelons, grown in Nandayure, a region renowned for its fertile soils. The growth in this market is such that these two fruits alone now account for 10% of all of the country’s exports. Melon volumes from Central America to Europe have increased significantly and are increasingly important to the Costa Rican economy.
Melons are also successful diversification for Brazil and complement its mango and pineapple production. The cantaloupe melon is grown in the Mossoro region, 180 km from Natal, unlike mangoes, which require transporters to travel more than 1,000 km to reach the Petrolina fazendas.
“For Marfret, Brazilian melons represent 45% of shipments, ahead of mangoes (28%) and bananas (22%). In 2018, production remained stable but the volumes that we transported increased by 8%,” commented Patrice Le Bras, sales manager for the South American line, which ships fruit ex Natal and Fortaleza and serves Europe via the ports of Algeciras and Rotterdam. The MedCar line, which calls at Genoa and Livorno, supplies Italian wholesalers. On the shelves of Italian markets, fruits and vegetables of various origins mix, including melons and watermelons from Costa Rica.