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Port of Antwerp lands new banana contract


The CMA CGM vessel Pointe des Colibris is due to call 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.”

Growth of reefer freight
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.

NEFWI service
Greenyard too has opted for a direct service to Antwerp with CMA CGM. The ship that docks for the first time on Wednesday of this week forms part of the shipping company’s North Europe French West Indies (NEFWI) service. Every Wednesday, ships with a capacity of 2,800 TEU will call at the BNFW terminal on quay 212, entering the port directly at 0600 hours and leaving for their next destination at 1400 the same day. In this short space of time an average of 50 containers (with some 43,000 bananas per container) are unloaded, a number that is due to increase with time. In addition containers will also be loaded on board, as one of the advantages of Antwerp is the availability of return cargo. For instance, a number of Caribbean islands will receive containers that have been loaded in Antwerp with among other things vegetables, fruit, sugar, wine and beer.

Via its transhipment hub in Pointe à Pitre, the NEFWI service operated by CMA CGM also offers possibilities in other niche markets such as the Leeward & Windward Islands (Roseau – Bridgetown – Campden Park – Castries – Saint George – Basseterre – Gustavia – Road Town – Charlotte Amelie (St. Thomas) and the Caribbean coast of South America: Georgetown (Guyana) and Paramaribo (Suriname). With its extensive feeder network in this region, customers have attractive possibilities with very short transit times from Suriname, Colombia and Costa Rica, as well as strong links with northern Brazil.

Fruit Logistica
The NEFWI service is calling at Antwerp directly for the first time on the eve of Fruit Logistica, one of the largest trade fairs for professionals in the fruit & vegetables business, held annually in Berlin. From 8 to 10 February some 70,000 visitors from all over the world will come to the Messe exhibition centre in Berlin where 2,884 stand-holders will be presenting their services. The Port of Antwerp will naturally have a stand there, as will Greenyard.

Source: Press Release 

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