Maersk Container Industry (MCI) has partnered with Boston-based technology company Primaira LLC to develop an air cleaning system in Star Cool Integrated refrigerated containers.
The tests are designed to extend reefer box capabilities into global fresh produce and fresh-cut flower transport. Primaira’s Bluezone technology helps eliminate molds, fungi, bacteria, and ethylene through a high level of ozone concentration.
“We are still working on the final design, but we are convinced that the Bluezone and Star Cool combination represents economic and environmental upsides so far unseen in container transportation,” says Soren Leth Johannsen, chief commercial officer of MCI.
MCI is the container manufacturing subsidiary of the container shipping-oriented A.P. Moller-Maersk Group. The company said reefer container owners are enthusiastic about the technology.
“We have, for years, followed the development in cleaning systems in refrigerated containers because our shippers’ attention to cargo quality preservation is becoming more and more pronounced,” says Clyde Wingate, director of refrigeration services at Seaboard Marine Ltd.
“The systems offered today in the market, for example using ozone, are often only temporary installed per shipment, meaning it is operationally cumbersome or the effect, due to a low ozone concentration, is undocumented,” Wingate continued. “From a container-owner’s perspective, it is also a major concern that ozone by nature is aggressive when exposed on rubber, aluminum and copper. If MCI really can manage to develop a system with high concentration of ozone in a concealed chamber, then I’m confident that both shippers and container lines will be very adaptive.”
MCI said it believes Bluezone has “modal shift potential.” Fresh-cut flowers, for example, are a $14 billion market globally, and more than 90 percent of intercontinental shipments are moved by airfreight.