According to the Port of Rotterdam, nowadays, twice as many reefer vessels arrive at the Rotterdam Fruit Wharf in Merwehaven. These ships contain conventional loads. Shipping companies have been unable to position sufficient reefer ships in South Africa's loading harbors. That is due to all the anti-COVID-19 measures. Conventional reefer vessels - with containers on the deck and in the hold - have, therefore, become considerably more popular.
On 17 and 18 May, not only were 36 refrigerated containers - also known as reefers - transshipped at Rotterdam Fruit Wharf. There were also 2,482 pallets on the Crown Garnet. These were full of South African fruit, including grapefruit, oranges, pears, and lemons. The Reefer Alliance, a partnership between Seatrade and Baltic Shipping, owns the Crown Garnet.
This partnership runs a service between the South African ports of Durban, Port Elizabeth, and Cape Town. The ships transport citrus, stored in containers above and below deck, from these loading harbors. It is shipped to Rotterdam, and St Petersburg, in Russia.
Waterside cold storage
"Usually a ship like this arrives in Rotterdam once a fortnight. There are far fewer pallets too. This is already the second in a series of four arrivals in May. There is a shortage of 40 TEU reefers. So, the demand for sailing along with this service is much higher than usual," says Commerical Manager, Peter van de Laar.
He would welcome more conventional reefer ships in Rotterdam. "In the past, we processed three of these ships a week. Now, almost all fruit is shipped in reefers. We remain the only terminal in Rotterdam that is well-equipped to receive conventional reefer vessels. No-one else has a cold storage facility on the dock."
At Rotterdam Fruit Wharf, fruit pallets are offloaded from the ship's reefers directly into one of the refrigerated warehouses. After the containers on the deck have been unloaded, the fruit pallets can be removed from the ship's hull. On the dock, all the fruit goes directly into cold storage, breaking the cold chain as little as possible.
Rotterdam Fruit Wharf offers this special conventional service, but also receives containers of fruit from the regular container terminals in Rotterdam every day. These containers are offloaded in one of the cooling cells too. There, the fruit is stored at the correct temperature and is then sent to a European, or even overseas, destination.
Rotterdam Fruit Wharf
Rotterdam Fruit Wharf turns ten this year. A lot of fruit might have gone south. This business, however, remained true to the Port of Rotterdam's north shore. Rotterdam Fruit Wharf is part of the SEA-invest Group. This group has terminals in Antwerp, Zeebrugge, Rotterdam, and Hamburg, and cold stores in Cape Town and Durban, South Africa.
For more information:
Peter van de Laar
Rotterdam Fruit Wharf
Tel +31 (0) 102 215 000
Source: Port of Rotterdam