Since 2009, we have engaged in a four-year major refrigerated container renewal program to replace 65 percent of our fleet. Refrigerated containers are key components in the logistics of today’s banana supply chain. Chiquita operates more than 10,000 40-foot containers.
In recent years, there have been major improvements in the design and operating efficiency of reefer containers, with important environmental benefits:
- Reduced electric power consumption
- “Green” refrigerants
- Insulation materials with reduced emissions
The impact of this fleet renewal is substantial:
- Energy savings of up to 35 percent compared to old units, and up to 58 percent when equipped with Quest® software that automatically shuts down the compressor of the reefer unit without affecting the quality of the stored fruit
- Reduced electricity use by 34 million kilowatt hours
- Annual savings of $4 million in operating cost
- Annual emissions reductions of 17,000 tons of CO2, or 185,000 tons of CO2 over the 12-year life of the new equipment, resulting from reduced electricity consumption. This is equivalent to taking over 3,000 cars off the road every year.
The company has acquired or leased more than 7,000 new container units to replace older models, for an investment of $135 million. By the end of 2011, we had replaced 60 percent of the container fleet. Scheduled for completion in 2013, we plan to replace a further 895 older models with new low-power consumption containers.
Older container models were also retrofitted in 2008 to eliminate the use of Freon R12 chlorofluorocarbon refrigerants. Initially containers were adapted to use the refrigerant R409a, and as of 2012, all containers are operating with the refrigerant R134a, which has much superior environmental characteristics:
Another significant change has been the adoption of the low-emissions blowing agents, Supotec® and cyclopentane, used to expand polyurethane in the insulation of new containers, replacing the R141b blowing agent. During the container’s lifetime, emissions reductions will amount to:
Over 60 percent of Chiquita’s containers featured low-emissions blowing agents by the end of 2011. As a result, there will be a reduction of more than 90,000 tons of CO2 emissions over the lifetime of this equipment, equivalent to the emissions of 17,000 cars taken off the road for one year.
This multi-year program is delivering valuable savings and outstanding sustainability benefits.