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Hapag-Lloyd has a placed an order 13,420 new reefer containers – its largest ever.

The carrier’s order is  for 12,450 40ft reefers and  970 specialised 20ft units, with construction due to begin this month, the first units being delivered by November.

They will lift the line’s reefer fleet above 100,000 units and coincide with the beginning of the Latin America fruit export season – particularly blueberries, cherries and avocados – but are also likely to be used for transporting fish and meat.

Niklas Ohling, senior director container steering at Hapag-Lloyd, said: “With this new order, we will be expanding our transport capacities for our customers. They will now have at their disposal over 100,000 state-of-the-art refrigerated containers with a total capacity of 210,000 teu, some of which will be equipped with the latest controlled atmosphere technology, which slows the ripening process during transport, thereby extending the shelf life of fruit and vegetables.”

Mr Ohling added that the new units would be fitted with the emerging internet of things technology that monitors the condition of the reefer while in transit and relays shipment information to shippers under the Hapag-Lloyd LIVE platform.

“In recent years, we have continuously invested in the expansion and modernisation of the reefer fleet. We have consolidated our leading position in this market segment and can offer our customers outstanding quality in the transport of temperature-sensitive goods on all trade routes,” Mr Ohling added.

A company spokesman declined to disclose with which container manufacturer the order had been placed. In October, Hapag-Lloyd’s previous record reefer order – for 8,600 units – was placed with Maersk’s reefer manufacturing subsidiary, Maersk Container Industry (MCI).

At the beginning of this year, MCI announced it was quitting the dry box building business to focus exclusively on reefers, which command far higher prices.

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