Preserving wine quality during sea freight shipment
Today 90% of sea transport is carried out by containers and there are, currently, around 15 million dry goods containers and only 1 million refrigerated containers in the world. Since 2009, their production has collapsed, and therefore the container park we have is starting to be rather old.
But whose are these containers belong? For a 40-50% they belong to the carriers, for a 20-30% they are rented in the short term (less than 1 year) and for a 20-30% are rented in the long term (2-3 years). The container life is around 15-18 years, but there is no possibility of knowing what they have transported. In other words, there is no traceability, and the same container that today carries italian wines, may have brought dangerous goods, wastes and others.
There are many risks of contamination, overheating and humidity to which containers are exposed in their sea navigations.
Until the eighties, it was believed to be enough to stow the wine under the navigation level to ensure an acceptable transport temperature. Today only 55% of containers are stowed under deck, while the remaining 45% is transported on deck. Futhermore, all ships are now double-hulled, and the cooling action of sea water is practically nothing.
But this is not the only change that has occurred in the last 20-30 years, because shipping times have lengthened due to the companies’ decision to save fuel by reducing the speed of ships. Furthermore, there are almost no more transports carried out with a single ship, because generally the goods are deposited in large ports of parking and from there they are transferred to smaller ships. This involves waiting times of up to 7-10 days in the hub ports and, depending on the local climate, risks of overheating or excessive cooling for the goods transported.
About 10% of imported wine into the US is altered by transport or storage. Temperatures above 21°C affects 96% of wine transported by sea, while 50% even reaches 30°C even for 72 consecutive hours. If the ships are small, the conditions are also destined to worsen.
But let’s go back to the containers and the risks of pollution that these involve. Since it is not possible to establish what they have transported during their life, the wine – but above all the barrels and the stoppers – can be in contact with polluting agents of various kinds. There are of course ways to disinfect containers, such as vaporization, but in India and other countries we still proceed with the fumigation method, which kills insects and bacteria, but at the same time releases compounds that are absorbed by the metal of the containers.
In short, the risks of transporting wine by sea are many, and for this reason Eceplast has studied and developed some cutting-edge systems that serve to prevent most of these risks.
Thermal Protectors are the easiest way to protect and ship temperature-sensitive cargo, lowering costs and minimizing CO2 footprint.
In order to keep the wine’s quality intact throughout the supply chain, savvy logistics managers tend to implement passive temperature-protection solutions as opposed to active controllers, such as reefer trailers, which are cost prohibitive. Passive insulation works by decreasing the rate of heat transfer using mediums with low thermal conductivity, such as thermal pallet covers made with a bubble polyethylene wrap sealed to a poly coated aluminum foil for ultimate durability.
The product range also includes cargo blankets and container liners, to provide the optimal solution for any type of shipment
Thermal packaging by Eceplast truly represents the way to guarantee genuine taste to wine lovers everywhere in the world.
- UNCTAD secretariat (2018). Review of maritime transport 2018.
- Clarksons Research (2018). Dry Bulk Trade Outlook. Volume 24, No. 5, May.
- MDS Transmodal (2018). World Cargo Database. March.
- Il Corriere Vinicolo (2017). Wine by numbers, No. 23, Jul.
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