Find out more information on Reefer.

Picture this: It´s a Saturday evening and you find yourself on your routine weekly shopping trip for the upcoming week. As you stroll through the fruit aisle, you pause before the grapes. Your hands reach for the last two packages of grapes and put them in your shopping cart. In the same move you wonder, on what fascinating journey these grapes have been to land in the shelves of your local supermarket. Join DB SCHENKER and “Reefer” on this flavorful journey as grapes make their way from the fields in Egypt to European tables.

A “Reefer” is a refrigerated container that is used to transport cargo that needs to be temperature controlled during shipping. From packaging perfection to chilling precision and cool coordination, witness the grapes´ adventure, carefully stuffed and loaded aboard reefer containers. DB SCHENKER ensures a smooth journey with the help of “Reefer” teams, sailing through chilled seas to reach a grapeful arrival at the final destination. It is not just logistics; it is a journey of taste, temperature, and chilling excellence.

Reefer is our most growing product, and we are now one of the leading Reefer providers. This was our dream, which has now become reality.

Thorsten Meincke
Member of The Management Board/Air and Ocean

Harvesting in the Egyptian Fields

The grapes’ journey begins with the careful handpicking of the fruits in strategic locations between Cairo and Alexandria, where optimal conditions foster efficient growth. Fruits destined for export must be in sound condition, harvested at full ripeness, as grapes do not post-ripen well after harvesting. The collected grapes are then transported to specific packhouses.

Packaging Perfection

Post-harvest, the grapes undergo inspection and sorting to remove damaged or low-quality fruits. Special attention is given to drying the grapes to eliminate excess moisture that could lead to spoilage. Sorting is tailored to specific market or customer requirements. Once completed, the grapes are packed into containers designed to allow airflow and protect the product during transportation.

Pre-Cooling with Chilling Precision

Pre-Cooling is a crucial step in the transportation process. Grapes undergo a process of reducing their temperature to the optimal storage temperature of 1-2 degrees Celsius. This preserves freshness and quality during transport and also mitigates the impact of external temperatures during transportation.

Cool Coordination with Reefer Container

After confirming space availability on the vessel, a refrigerated container, or “Reefer”, is released for stuffing. Before release, a thorough Pre-Trip Inspection (PTI) ensures the cooling unit, temperature control, and recording devices on the container function correctly. The container is then inspected for cleanliness and structural integrity. The container´s settings are adjusted as per commodity requirements, and once released, it is delivered to the loading site.

Grapes Aboard: Fruitful Cargo Stuffing & Loading

Grape packages are carefully placed in the reefer container, considering the heat generated during transportation. Proper stowage is crucial to maintaining required airflow and ventilation. Here, it is important to cover the full floor of the container. This precaution allows proper air circulation. After configuring the settings and loading the cargo into the container, the doors seal shut, allowing the container to be transported by truck to the ocean terminal. A genset (generator set) is used alongside the truck, connecting the container to a power source, maintaining the desired settings during land movement.

At the port, the reefer container is connected to power, maintaining the required temperature until loaded onto the container vessel. These terminals are equipped with specific Reefer plugs, ensuring continuous cooling of the cargo. Regular visual inspections are conducted during this time to ensure proper monitoring.

Sailing the Chilled Seas

The loaded reefer container is placed in a designated area on the container vessel and immediately plugged into the ship´s power supply. The vessel´s crew, and at times specialized technicians, monitor and maintain the container to ensure the preservation of the cargo. Constant monitoring and power supply are crucial. Depending on the vessel´s route, there might be extra handling of the container at a different port, especially during transshipment. DB SCHENKER ensures vigilant oversight and continuous power supply, collaborating closely with vessel operators and terminal crews to guarantee the container´s secure journey.

Grapeful Arrival

Navigating through the channels of entry into the European markets, grapes reach their destination directly through Northern European ports like Rotterdam, Hamburg, or UK ports. They can also arrive through gateway ports, such as Koper or Ravenna. Upon reaching the final destination port, the container is discharged from the vessel and plugged into a power source. This movement of the cargo involve the grapes being trucked and unstuffed at a temperature-controlled warehouse within the terminal. Upon pick-up, the fruits undergo a meticulous stuffing process into refrigerated trucks, embarking on a road journey to reach Container Freight Stations (CFS). For Northern European countries, the entire transit time is capped at a maximum of two days, ensuring that the grapes maintain their freshness. Trucks pick up the grapes at these Container Freight Stations (CFS) and deliver them to the supermarkets in your town.

Going back to the beginning: As you stand there looking at the grapes in your shopping cart, it´s a moment of connection with a journey that extends far beyond the supermarket shelves. From Egyptian fields to “Reefer”, DB SCHENKER ensure grapes reach your plate in optimal condition.

Reefer containers play a crucial role in ensuring the safe and efficient transportation of temperature-sensitive goods. As the demand for such cargo continues to rise, DB SCHENKER is at the forefront of innovation and expansion in the reefer container industry, providing top-notch services to meet the evolving needs of our customers.

Yomna Salama
National Reefer Manager

Published: March, 2024