October 4, 2017: Africa Express Line Ltd (AEL) is expanding its refrigerated container fleet with the addition of 500 Star Cool Integrated containers manufactured by Maersk Container Industry (MCI). Star Cool Controlled Atmosphere offers high energy efficiency and effective care of perishables.

Dedicated to the environment and food safety, AEL selected the industry’s only fully integrated refrigerated container and the Star Cool Controlled Atmosphere (CA) technology for its proven high energy efficiency and effective care of the ripening process of perishables. The containers will be deployed to service AEL’s owner, French fruit exporter Compagnie Fruitiere, in routes to and from Europe and West Africa.

“We set out to invest in containers that would protect the high-value produce we transport while saving energy. After comparative field trials, the controlled atmosphere technology clearly demonstrated its ability to help ensure the produce arrives at its destination in optimal condition. We will also take advantage of the energy-saving applications and remote monitoring capabilities of Star Cool. Not only will they help us optimise operations, but they will also help us stay true to the CSR commitments we share with our owner, Compagnie Fruitiere,” says Mathew Shed, technical director at AEL.

All Star Cool containers will be equipped with modems for remote access to monitor the assets, temperature, atmosphere, and alarms logged in real time in the Star Cool units. To further propel energy performance, AEL will activate the StarConomy reefer control application, which is proven to halve energy use while maintaining the same temperature inside the container, preserving produce quality.

“We have a long-standing relationship with AEL, and we are delighted that they again have chosen to add the most efficient container model. The integrated Star Cool 2017 model provides a whole suite of new efficiency-enhancing features to support the needs of modern container operations – from monitoring and controlling the atmospheric conditions on the inside of the container to digitalised solutions that allow for transparency and expanded data access,” says Soren Johannsen, chief commercial officer, MCI. “

Built-in digitalised solutions

Star Cool reefers feature a combination of built-in digitalised solutions that can be leveraged any time to further support AEL’s efficient service and surveillance of its Star Cool fleet. This includes an energy meter that offers a reliable and precise tool to measure energy use in real time, either manually or via AEL’s full modem coverage.

In addition, Intelligent Trip Inspection (ITI) now comes standard in all Star Cool reefers. ITI provides an enhanced digital inspection system that removes the need for timely and costly pre-trip inspections. ITI provides self-diagnostics that confirm whether the container is ready for the next trip and highlight if steps in the ITI process need further investigation.

Servicing Europe – West Africa routes

To supplement its fleet of specialised reefer vessels, AEL is chartering the new build 2,345 TEU, m/v ‘MIMMI SCHULTE’, equipped with high reefer plug capacity, to carry the new 40-foot high cube Star Cool CA reefers. Delivered directly from MCI’s factory in Qingdao, the maiden voyage will go to West Africa.

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