Huge amount of cold-stored and deep-frozen products shipped in containers

14/07/2011 15:00

Nearly 24 thousand containers (half a million tons of goods) with cold-stored and deep-frozen products are transported overseas to the Netherlands every month. More than 95 percent are perishable food products. The most important export countries are Brazil, South Africa and Chile.

Reefer containers

Reefer containers

Mainly food products

When all transport containers for cold-stored and deep-frozen products (reefers) arriving in the Netherlands every month are put in a row, they measure a total a length of nearly 300 km and contain 494 thousand tons of goods. Just over half are fruits and nuts. Meat and fish are also shipped over large distances. Half of all frozen meat, nearly 37 thousand ons a month, comes from Brazil. Most fish are imported from China, Singapore and Iceland. Vietnamese panga fillet may be shipped through Singapore or Myanmar. Oranges come from South Africa, Argentina and Morocco.

Reefer containers do not just contain perishable products. A small part concerns inedible products requiring a constant temperature, like films for X-ray machines, fragile equipment, medicines, cosmetics and chemical products.

Reefer containers by country of shipping, 2007-2010

Reefer containers by country of shipping, 2007-2010

Brazil market leader

Three quarters of goods are loaded in only 15 countries. Most are located in the southern hemisphere with Brazil on number 1. Every month, 3,350 reefers are shipped from Brazil, containing 75 thousand tons of goods. Apart from meat, Brazil also exports fruits and nuts. South Africa accounts for nearly 50 thousand tons a month, predominantly oranges and tangerines, but also avocado pears. Chile, the number 3, also supplies vegetables and fruits, especially fresh kiwis.

If all cold-stored and deep-frozen products would have the Netherlands as their final destination, each resident would have to consume 1 kg on a daily basis, but Dutch ports are also transit ports and many products are destined for other countries.

Peter Smeets