Hongkong International Terminals (HIT), part of the CK Hutchison conglomerate, has launched a 24-hour automated remote reefer container monitoring and management system with the aim of capturing the growing business opportunities in the cold chain logistics market.
Market research website, MarketandMarkets.com estimates the global cold chain market size was valued at US$233.8 billion in 2020 and is projected to reach US$340.3 billion by 2025, as demand for reefers is expected to grow.
“While air transport is expected to be preferred over ocean freight for carrying Covid-19 vaccines initially, it is estimated that over 60,000 reefer containers would be needed to ship the vaccines over the next two to three years.
Maersk Line has said that vaccines in their infancy may require transportation at -80degs C. Once the vaccines reach a stable stage, some of the distribution temperature requirements might be at -20degs C. Reefers can maintain temperatures from -35degs to 25degs C.
Hong Kong handled around 900,000TEU in reefer containers during 2020 and is the largest fruit trading hub in South China.
HIT managing director Leonard Fung said, “The launch of the remote reefer container monitoring system is itself a cornerstone signifying the importance of digitalising terminal operations. This will go a long way in enhancing the holistic operational efficiency and competitiveness of our terminals.”
Prior to last week’s introduction of the system, dockers would go on-site to examine reefer conditions and alarms regularly. The system has saved time on physical yard inspections and improved occupational safety.
The monitoring system has been fully deployed at HIT, COSCO-HIT (a joint venture between COSCO Shipping Ports and HIT) and Asia Container Terminals (a strategic partnership of Hutchison Port Holdings, COSCO Shipping Ports and China Shipping Terminal Development).