Every year, Total Produce B.V. imports thousands of containers of fresh fruit. For many years, the containers were transported on arrival at the sea terminal to the company’s own transit warehouses. This meant thousands of shipments by road each year between the terminal and warehouses and vice versa. In the summer of 2011, Total Produce B.V. took the first steps towards water transport. Together with the company MCT Lucassen, a barge operator active in the Rotterdam port area, an initial trial run was carried out in June 2011, to the satisfaction of both parties. Since then, the percentage of shipments by water has increased considerably and currently comprises 86% of the total number of containers transported.

Transport over water has a significant positive environmental effect, as the number of transport undertakings by road is kept to a minimum. This results in a considerable reduction in CO² emissions. Water transport also offers numerous advantages in the total logistics process through the extensive integration of transport and storage processes.

In the years to come, Total Produce B.V. will continue developing this concept and, where possible, transport shipments over water to unloading and storage locations further inland.

Mobile Research Lab

The development of new products often requires a long period of intensive research. To shorten the time-to-market and gain further insight into the optimisation of conditioning techniques, Total Produce B.V. wants to take research to the source. The necessary facilities are not always available in production countries or the distance between production and the research centre is too large. That is why Total Produce B.V. has invested in the Mobile Research Lab, a unique facility for the industry.

The Mobile Research Lab is a laboratory that is built into a sea container and equipped with everything needed to effectively simulate influences like transport and storage.

The Lab has four small storage facilities of 1,000 litres each. These facilities have separate cooling systems that can be set and controlled individually under different atmospheric conditions. The container is also equipped with the palistore® system, which consists of a small pallet on which a number of 20 x 30 cm crates fit perfectly. The crates are gas-tight sealed with a PE/PC cover. The container contains ten of these covers, each of which can be used for a different atmosphere.

The goal of the mobile laboratory is to make it possible to conduct research on location by transporting the lab by ship to various suppliers. All results are sent directly to the head office in Rotterdam, where monitoring and management of the mobile lab takes place.