MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company, a major player in the worldwide transportation of refrigerated cargoes, is shipping more and more containers of fruits, vegetables and other perishables every year. During the pandemic, the company grew and brought much needed capacity to the market, battling the complexities of supply chain disruption caused by the impact of COVID-19.
MSC has continued to add reefer containers and has sought to address reefer equipment imbalances globally. Meanwhie, port congestion and labour shortages have roiled global trade, meaning more ships and more equipment were needed to transport cargo around the world. By increasing its fleet to more than 700 ships and deploying cold treatment technologies MSC is well-positioned to support the ongoing developments in international fruit and vegetable markets.
The long-term case for growth in the trade of refrigerated goods remains strong: the world’s population is growing and demand from the middle classes for healthy food continues to rise. One estimate earlier this year, from Drewry Shipping Consultants, suggested that reefer container volumes may increase to 7 million FEUs (forty-foot-equivalent units) by 2025 from 5.7 million FEU in 2021. MSC’s dedicated reefer specialists – in excess of 1,000 trained people worldwide – have noticed particular demand for citrus products as the market grows.
The transportation of perishable goods in reefer containers has now reached 89% of the overall trade in perishables, meaning that only a little over 10% of such goods are carried on specialized reefer vessels, according to Drewry.
To support these market changes, 2021 saw the highest ever global production of reefer containers. MSC was able to increase the number of reefer containers carried to 2 million TEUs (twenty-foot-equivalent units). These boxes are equipped with the most advanced technology to maintain the quality and freshness of fruit and vegetables during transport.
Recent developments highlighting MSC’s continued commitment to investing in services and assets to support the reefer trade include the establishment in 2021 of the In-Transit Cargo service that connects King Abdullah Port in Saudi Arabia with other GCC countries in just several days. This solution enables the swift movement of food and foodstuffs across the country, connecting with MSC’s intercontinental and regional sea shipping services that call at Saudi Arabia’s newest major commercial port.
MSC is present on more than 260 trade routes globally, calling at more than 520 ports, meaning that producers and shippers of agricultural products can expect to find solutions for any conceivable cargoes almost anywhere in the world with MSC.
On the other side of the Suez Canal, across the Mediterranean, construction of a new refrigerated warehouse in the ZAL of Valencia with capacity for 25,000 pallets will begin in the coming months and be available to MSC customers in 2024, bolstering the Spanish fruit and vegetable export sector.
MSC welcomes enquiries at its global network of 675 offices about these, and other developments, related to its leading reefer shipping solutions: www.msc.com.