In January 2020, more than 20 tons of Hass Avocados in a Maersk Reefer container travelled for the first time in Colombian history from the avocado farms in La Dorada, Colombia to the port in Rotterdam, Netherlands in a new way- they took the train. While this may sound like your everyday commute to the office, this marks a big step in the improvement of the way your fruit gets delivered all the way to the store.

In a country like Colombia, where transportation from the industrial hubs to the ports can cost up to twice as much as the ocean transportation, a rail connection makes a difference. Rail is an ideal option to benefit from leverage on the transportation cost, reduced lead times, improved consistency of service, and even improving the CO2 footprint. Rail transportation also plays an important role in mitigating any delays across the logistics chain due to the unpredictable weather conditions in some parts of the country.

Hass Colombia—The third largest avocado exporter in the country— recognized the existing concerns in the current logistics chain for their product. In their usual spirit of openness to the different solutions that Maersk delivers, decided to re-think with us the way we deliver their avocadoes. This new solution is the result of great collaboration between Hass, Maersk, OPL and Broom Logistics.

The multimodal service created by Maersk, represent to Hass Colombia a great solution for an operational problem we faced every day, due to inland deficit and several individual tasks that regular inland requires. Additional, as it guarantees the direct entrance to port of Santa Marta, it represents a reduction of all risks associated with the entire avocado logistic chain.

Juan David Restrepo Vahos, CEO of HASS COLOMBIA
Avocados travel by train with Maersk

This new service reduces the amount of effort in managing operational and logistics activities and allows the customer to focus on the core of their business — Avocados.
Maersk moves fruit from different avocado packing houses in Colombia, most of them, on average, are 16-20 hours from their facilities to the main ports. If we look at our rail service, this is approximately 4-6 hours away from our customers´ facilities representing a significant impact by reducing the number of trucks and time spent travelling to and from the ports.

With this weekly integral service of INLAND + RAIL + OCEAN, RCM is activated from the packing facilities and all avocados are monitored carefully along the entire journey until they arrive in Rotterdam. We are currently looking at adding one additional service per week, giving our customers the option to better fit their needs and ocean service they chose from Santa Marta. 

This service requires a very high reefer technical expertise and that´s where we come in. 
Avocados are transported in Controlled Atmosphere reefers (CA) which regulate the gases within the unit to provide the right atmosphere to extend the transit of this fruit, by reducing the Oxygen and increasing the Carbon Dioxide inside the container. CA reefers require a special preparation and monitoring to ensure the unit is able to maintain the correct temperature and gas levels at all time, a technology which is developed in-house by our sister company, Maersk Container Industry. 

Maersk inland services
Maersk inland services

In addition to using our own gensets due to the lack of availability in Colombia, our system of Remote Monitoring permits Maersk to have full visibility of the reefers’ performance at all times, for preventive measures and to take action quickly when necessary.  And our customers have the ability to monitor their shipments via the Captain Peter platform, which displays key parameters such as temperature and gas levels. Captain Peter automatically sends notification to customers in case their shipments are showing deviations in settings or are disconnected from power for too long. This gives our clients the peace of mind that their fruit is kept in good condition during transport and permits sharing of this data with our customers’ customers, suppliers and other stakeholders who are interested in the fruit’s quality.

Did you know? Trains emit less CO2

Using the rail service also benefits the environment which allows Hass to grow their avocadoes.  Trains are, on the average 4x more fuel efficient than Trucks and emit 75% less Greenhouse Gases*.

*Association of American Railroads (AAR): AAR.org

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