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Controlled atmosphere makes ocean transport cost-effective alternative to air freight
With trade of fresh produce continuing to increase, some produce varieties spend days or weeks on vessels before they arrive at their final destination. To prevent premature ripening in transit, reduce deterioration and decay and spoilage, Carrier Transicold has designed a system to optimize a container’s atmosphere. “XtendFRESH™ can significantly lengthen the amount of time produce can spend in refrigerated transit,” says Jim Taeckens, senior product manager, Carrier Transicold. “In some cases, transit times can be doubled. For example, bananas can be shipped for up to eight weeks rather than four and string beans for up to four weeks rather than 10 days.” The system helps maintain the appearance, freshness and quality of perishables over longer distances.
Slowdown of ripening
The XtendFRESH™ system actively controls oxygen (O2) and carbon dioxide (CO2) levels and removes ethylene, a hormone given off by ripening produce that will accelerate ripening if left unchecked. “The system’s ability to remove ethylene, while managing O2 and CO2, is key to its performance and distinguishes it from other products for container atmosphere control,” shared Taeckens. “The quality of the shipped produce is maintained beyond what refrigeration alone can do.”
The system is installed in the container refrigeration unit. Key components include the scrubber assembly, a ventilation panel with integral blower, control software and sensors for monitoring O2 and CO2. Adding a humidity sensor provides additional atmosphere control, enabling humidity to be reduced to as low as 50 percent or as needed.
Extend shipping distances
Many varieties of perishables can take advantage of XtendFRESH™ technology, but it works especially well with high-respiring produce. Some of the major current applications include bananas as well as avocados. It can also be used for asparagus, snap beans, broccoli, durian, lemon, lime, lychee, mango, olives, papaya, rambutan, tomatoes and more. “The system can help extend shipping distances, enabling growers to reach new market regions,” said Taeckens.
“A well-controlled atmosphere provides exporters an alternative to airfreight, allowing them to ship via flexible and cost-effective ocean transport.”
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