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Colombia: Refrigerated containers are key for the export of fruit
The Port Society of Buenaventura (SPB) doesn't stop by day or night, it works 24 hours to mobilize 43.6 percent of Colombia's cargo. More than 315 million dollars have been invested in the port in recent years, which have allowed it to move one million TEU (20 foot containers) in 2017 and rank as one of the 10 most important ports in Latin America.
The cargo is loaded in different colored TEUs. The SPB, however is interested in white containers, which are refrigerated containers that allow the transport of dairy products, meats, chocolates, medicines, wines, fruits, and perishable products.
According to the manager of the SPB, Victor Julio González, more than 6,000 containers of this type pass through this port each month, which opens new routes for the export of Colombian products, such as honey pineapple and hass avocado to North America, Asia, and Europe.
"The investments include the purchase of 32 tractors, 39 container-carrying platforms, a system to operate extra-sized cargo, and the start of the new Eurosal transshipment service," Gonzalez said.
The Eurosal service arose after an alliance with the Hamburg Süd shipping line that allows the arrival of a fleet of nine vessels of up to 370 meters in length with a loading capacity of 10,600 containers every 63 days, which doubled the capacity of the port by shortening transit times between the west coast of South America and Europe.
According to Luis Eduardo Jimenez, the manager of the Fénix group, which markets fruits, the service of the SPB and the refrigerated containers are a great alliance. "There are fruits, such as the golden delicious apple, which is brought from Genoa, Italy, to Colombia and reach Buenaventura in a month. When they arrive in Colombia, the must be treated with care and with the appropriate logistics so that the fruit reaches the final consumer fresh and in perfect condition. That's what the Port Society has helped us with," said Jimenez.
"Other producers transport their cargo by land and it takes them up to two days to reach other ports in the north of the country. We do it through Buenaventura and it only takes us four hours. The products are then stored in cold containers at the port until they reach their final destination," said one of the entrepreneurs of Pacific Fruit, a company that exports up to 15 containers of Hass avocado to the United States each week.
Hugo Niño, the operations manager of the SPB, highlighted the speed in which they work at the SPB storage facilities. "The containers arrive at the harbor reception, and we immediately connect them to our power plants, which can cover up to 1,700 TEU. When the ships arrive we mount them to the ship in a maximum of 25 minutes. In fact, we manage to do it in less than 15 guaranteeing that the product does not come out of its hibernation state," Niño said.
"They are classified according to their nature, that is, if they are bananas, avocados, pineapples or medicines, then they are connected to energy sources with temperatures that vary according to their need, load and destination," added Jorge Andres Gallegos, the commercial manager of the SPB.
By 2018, the SPB seeks to implement Crossdocking technology that would reduce export and import times for cold containers, as it would have 12 facilities for simultaneous inspections.
Publication date: 1/10/2018
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