Port of Antwerp Lands New Banana Contract

Pic: Port of Antwerp

By Aiswarya Lakshmi

The CMA CGM vessel Pointe des Colibris is called at the Belgian New Fruit Wharf (BNFW) terminal in Antwerp on Wednesday 1 February carrying among other things bananas from Suriname.

These will be distributed via the port of Antwerp to the local market and to surrounding countries. The owner of the bananas is FAI, fruit partner of Greenyard, the world market leader in fresh and prepared vegetables and fruit, based in Sint-Katelijne-Waver (Belgium).

For carrying the bananas Greenyard has signed a new contract with the CMA CGM shipping company, with one of the crucial factors being the direct call at the BNFW fruit terminal in Antwerp.

A direct call like this reduces the throughput time in the logistics chain, which for perishable goods such as fruit and vegetables is naturally very important. The arrival of CMA CGM represents the third container reefer carrier for BNFW, after Maersk and Hamburg Süd, both of which have opted for a direct service to Antwerp during the past two years or less.

Antwerp Port Authority is particularly pleased with this direct service: "The competition with neighbouring ports is very hard, especially in the fruit segment," explains port alderman Marc Van Peel. "In these circumstances if we manage to win additional freight for Antwerp it's a very big deal that underlines the strengths that we have to offer, namely speed, efficiency, good hinterland connections and the availability of return cargo."

The port of Antwerp has experienced particularly strong growth in perishable goods in the past few years. In 2016 alone a reefer volume of 9.02 million tonnes was handled. Expressed in TEU (twenty-foot equivalent units, i.e. standard containers) this represents an increase of 6.1% over the previous year.

Until just a few years ago, fruit such as bananas was carried as bulk freight, but the growth in containerisation means that bananas are increasingly shipped in refrigerated containers.

Thanks to the enormous variety of value-added activities available within the port, shippers are increasingly opting to send these containers via Antwerp. Here, not only are the containers simply loaded and unloaded, but also in the refrigerated warehouses the logistics companies carry out numerous value-added operations such as quality control, packaging and customs clearance.

Feb 2, 2017

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