Thursday, October 8, 2020

Logistics: Maersk Is Pretty Cool

 From Fresh Plaza:

Maersk launches its cold store in South Africa

Maersk with their partner is launching its second dedicated warehouse in South Africa, trading under the name of Precool Cold Storage.

The Cold Store is a part of its existing warehousing and distribution site in Hammarsdale, in Kwa-Zulu Natal, and expected to be operational early January 2021. Increasing the capacity of the existing cold store operations, which can handle temperatures from ambient to -25C and has dedicated sections for frozen and chilled cargo thereby serving the fruit, vegetable, concentrate and protein customers across South Africa.

Equipped with modern, state-of-the-art temperature controlling system that ensures the safety of sensitive cargo, catering for both export and import cargo to and from South Africa. The facility is equipped with a large capacity of Sterri chambers, for fruit requiring specialised cooling....


I too have heard the siren song of the condensers and compressors.

But back to Maersk.

Before they were hit by the cyber attack, Maersk had a page on their website entitled The Queen of Cool. Sadly it was lost, along with around $300 million of Maersk's loot, in the form of massive business interruption, only some of which was insured.

But unlike the money, someone had the foresight to save the page to the internet archive and here it is:



Most people would not choose to work inside a refrigerated shipping container, much less live in one. Barbara Pratt is different; she spent her twenties doing both, and as a result helped revolutionise the reefer business that today enables food and other perishables to be shipped around the world.

“We knew so little about refrigerated shipping back then,” says Barbara Pratt, director of refrigerated technical services for Maersk Line in North America, reflecting on her adventure inside a converted reefer container in the name of science.

“A customer would put 20,000 kilos of fresh fruit in a reefer container, send it across the Atlantic for 30 days, and the reasons for its condition upon arrival were largely unknown to us,” says Pratt.

“With the ‘Mobile Research Lab,’ the converted container Sea-Land built, we set out to learn all how to improve the quality of long-distance shipments. And it turned out I spent the better part of seven years living and working in that container,” says Pratt, who today is 58 years old and lives in a house.

Apples to apples

Barbara Pratt is a farm girl. She still works on the family farm she grew up on – 180 acres of apples, peaches, pears, nectarines, even Christmas trees, just an hour north of New York City and Maersk Line’s office in nearby Madison, New Jersey.

She was a 20-year old student at Cornell University studying physics, biology, chemistry, computer science and maths when she discovered the University’s Vegetable Crops Department. It was the match she had been looking for, an interesting and fulfilling outlet for applying her love of science.

Pratt graduated from Cornell University in 1976 with a degree in physics and was accepted into the University of Delaware’s “Post-Harvest Physiology” graduate programme, but turned it down. Her former Cornell professor had offered her a job – a special project for Sea-Land, the container shipping company founded by Malcolm McLean, the inventor of the shipping container.

Soon after, the ‘Mobile Research Laboratory’ was born, and Pratt never went back to school. Instead, she spent much of the late 1970s and early 1980s inside a container, throwing light on the little-known science of refrigerated transport and enabling the creation of much of the technology and best practices used in the industry today....


And my interest? Money, of course

April 27, 2020
The UK Food Situation Is Going to Get Interesting
From Reuters:
World's biggest cold storage supplier could reach full UK capacity in three weeks.....


June 3, 2019
Logistics: Big Money For Warehouses, Looking at Cold Storage.

...This next bit brings back some memories. My second stock to double was a cold storage company, actually a dairy with a cold storage operation that was valued at about one-quarter of comparables. I started chipping away at the float and before I got anywhere near enough stock, the management, who knew full well the value of the operation, did an LBO and took it private at 2x market and ended up generating cash-on-cash returns (for themselves) of around 40% per annum for a decade or so.
June 6, 2019
"It's About To Become A Hot Market For Cold Storage Facilities"—CBRE
March 30, 2020
"Coronavirus: Panic buying sparks surge in flexible storage demand"

Cold is very important.