MSC said it handled more than 1.9 million reefer containers in 2020, breaking its record of 1.8 million set the previous year.

The company said global demand for fresh fruit has grown by 40% over the past decade. This trend was intensified last year by a greater demand for foods containing vitamin C such as fresh fruit, the company said.

To meet this ballooning demand, MSC has expanded its reefer fleet, notably by adding 15,000 of its Star Cool units in 2020.

Also, its new Gülsün class container ships are able to carry more than 2000 additional reefer containers than the previous generation. This increased capacity, the company said, has helped service the high volumes of trade between Europe and Asia.

MSC uses both controlled atmosphere and cold treatment technology to transport a wide variety of fruits and vegetables around the word.

Cold treatment is a chemical-free way to eliminate fruit flies and other insects. The process lowers the temperature of the fruit pulp and maintains it for a specified period of time, with varying settings, depending on the country of origin, the type of commodity and the country of destination.

MSC said the market for reefer services is set to grow in the coming years and with a fleet of 560 vessels, MSC is well-positioned to service that demand as an established leader in refrigerated cargo transportation in many regions. As part of our unrivalled customer service, we have more than 1,000 reefer experts available to advise customers on their transportation needs.

MSC chief logistics officer Giuseppe Prudente said reefers and temperature-controlled systems have gained in popularity over 2020.

“At MSC, our customers remain our top priority and we’re glad that we’ve been able to keep their reefer operations functioning amid the pandemic,” he said.

“The growing demand has also opened up new market possibilities, which we have been able to support thanks to our continual investment in the best technologies for refrigerated transport solutions.”

In 2020, MSC made the first ever shipment of Chilean clementines to Hong Kong, connecting Asia and Latin America via its INCA Service.

Shortly after, MSC successfully delivered the first ever shipment of avocados from Colombia to China.