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11 March 2021
Ahead of exhibiting at Intermodal Connect, March 16-18, we spoke with Willy Yeo, Director of Marketing at Carrier Transicold, Global Container Refrigeration. Find out what he had to say below:
1. In your view, what does the outlook for the industry look like?
Overall, the outlook for seaborne refrigerated trade and related equipment is positive, despite the pandemic. As Drewry reported in 2020, growth in refrigerated cargo is expected exceed 2019 results and outpace dry cargo trade in the years ahead due to the strength of the food supply chain. Currently, refrigerated containers are in high demand, in part due to equipment shortages caused by landside bottlenecks. We expect demand to remain steady over the next one to two years.
2. Has your firm launched any innovative products or new initiatives over the course of the pandemic?
Refrigeration has a critical role to play in the safe distribution and storage of the COVID-19 vaccine due to the temperature-sensitivity of vaccines and the number of handoffs required from production to person.In 2020, Carrier launched its Healthy, Safe, Sustainable Cold Chain Program to help meet the rapidly evolving supply chain demands. In response to the pandemic, Carrier developed Carrier Pods™ monitored by Sensitech®, an innovative mobile cold storage solution that addresses gaps in the cold chain by providing surge refrigeration capacity. In addition to helping to extend the life of some vaccines, Carrier Pods have sophisticated built-in monitoring capabilities that give added insights about cargo conditions.
Carrier continues to innovate, collaborating with Amazon Web Services (AWS) on the development of our Lynx™ digital platform, a proprietary system that gives customers real-time, end-to-end visibility into temperature, location and security events across the cold chain. Incorporating the Lynx solution into Carrier Pods will further help reduce risk for vaccine temperature excursions and product loss.
Additionally, over the past year we have upgraded our TripLINK™ telematics platform for refrigerated containers, adding new features like Carrier-exclusive health analytics which supports maintenance functions, as well as others like geofencing and the ability for fleet owners to receive automatic notifications about their refrigerated containers based on container location and movement. Most recently, we added the ability for TripLINK-enabled containers to communicate through a vessel’s wireless network, giving ship personnel improved oversight and operational efficiencies during voyages.
In 2020 we also added an option for our EverFRESH® controlled-atmosphere system that enhances shipments for low-respiring perishables by automatically injecting carbon dioxide into the container to maintain prescribed conditions during shipping. This capability is especially beneficial for produce such as blueberries, grapes and papayas, to name a few.
3. How well do you feel the intermodal industry as a whole has reacted to the pandemic?
The intermodal industry rose to the challenges with rapid responses to manage capacities, care for the health and safety of employees, and transformation and acceleration of digitalizing work processes. Combined, these adaptations have kept the global supply chain running and resulted in continued growth.
4. What key trends do you see shaping the industry over the next few years?
The long-term trend away from specialized refrigerated cargo ships and toward containerization is expected to continue. Likewise, the use of containers for pharmaceutical and biologics is expected to grow along with specialized mobile storage applications, such as Carrier Pods.Remote container monitoring systems, such as Carrier Transicold’s TripLINK™ platform, are expected to grow in use as shipping lines discover the new operational efficiencies and cargo quality assurance benefits that are possible when telematics systems are deployed.Refrigerated transport will continue to advance beyond temperature control alone. To a greater extent, shipping lines are already using container atmosphere control, such as Carrier Transicold’s EverFRESH system, to help delay ripening processes as perishables cross oceans. Modern refrigerated container technology and remote monitoring have advanced to a stage in which they will soon undertake complex cold-treatment protocols.The need to reduce the carbon footprint will drive increased energy efficiency of refrigeration systems and greater use of safe, sustainable refrigerants. Carrier’s NaturaLINE® refrigeration unit sets a standard for both by providing an efficient refrigeration system that uses carbon dioxide (R-744), a non-flammable natural refrigerant with a global warming potential (GWP) of 1, a GWP that is thousands of times lower than other refrigerants used in containers today.
5. How has your business responded to the COVID-19 pandemic?
Carrier Transicold is committed to safely transporting food, medicine and perishables at this critical time. Since the onset of the pandemic, we have collaborated with customers and our suppliers worldwide to ensure that we can meet their needs with our industry-leading container refrigeration systems, parts, services and digital technologies. We kept overall production at necessary levels due to our dedicated employees maintaining safe and reliable operations and our supply chain partners helping to minimize potential disruption risks.
6. Why is exhibiting at Intermodal Connect important for your business in 2021?
In a post-pandemic world, it is more important than ever that the shipping industry has a platform to meet, learn and discover, and Intermodal Connect provides the opportunity to do just that.