Charting a course to lower operating costs, Hamburg Süd Group recently embarked on a voyage that ultimately led the carrier to PrimeLINE® container refrigeration units.
For recent upgrades of its refrigerated fleet, the Hamburg, Germany-based shipping line took delivery of 3,000 PrimeLINE units through 2009 – and an additional 2,000 units as this issue went to press – following a comprehensive review that included both operational trials and laboratory analysis.
With 148 ships and 340,000 containers, Hamburg Süd operates globally and is also the largest container carrier serving South America. Part of Germany’s Oetker Group, it is one of the top five reefer container carriers in the world and prides itself on its quality of service and use of new and emerging technologies. Hamburg Süd’s integrated containers, like the 40-foot, high-cube containers on which the PrimeLINE units are installed, have the greatest interior volume available on the market today, according to the shipping line.
Hamburg Süd’s refrigerated service comprises a proportionately larger part of its business than any other container line – 15 percent of its containers are refrigerated. “We are very reefer driven,” said Hamburg Süd’s Martin Schoeler, deputy director - Logistics Technology, explaining that with so much of its business dependent on refrigerated trade, total cost of ownership of refrigerated containers is especially important.
“With the increase in fuel prices over much of the last two years, the industry changed a lot,” Schoeler said, explaining that energy consumption issues “got more important from the cost side, from the environmental side and from the customer side, because they are looking at that in more detail.”
In response to those concerns Schoeler said Hamburg Süd committed to operational trials and lab analysis at Cambridge Refrigeration Technology in Cambridge, England, testing “all reefer machinery and energy-saving software solutions on the market. Ultimately, the PrimeLINE unit scored to be one of the best.”
The high-performance PrimeLINE unit, featuring digital scroll technology, was designed specifically to improve energy efficiency and reduce environmental impact and lifecycle costs for refrigerated containers. The unit’s reduced power requirements also help shipping lines conserve precious fossil fuel, thereby reducing emissions related to shipboard power generation. It uses environmentally sound R-134a, which has the lowest global warming potential of all contemporary container refrigerants.
“The lower the energy consumption, the smaller the carbon footprint you generate, so that’s also an important factor,” Schoeler said.
Hamburg Süd, also known also by its full name, Hamburg-Südamerikanische Dampfschifffahrts-Gesellschaft, was founded in 1871 serving the South America-to-Europe trade lanes. In 1906, Hamburg Süd launched its first temperature-controlled service between the South American east coast and Europe, later adding ships with dedicated reefer holds in the 1930s and full reefer vessels in the 1950s.
The company took its first steps with refrigerated containers in the 1970s, deploying them on routes serving Australia/New Zealand-to-North America routes.
Hamburg Süd purchased its first Carrier Transicold refrigeration unit in 1980, in time to launch refrigerated container service between the east coast of South America and northern Europe. Since that time, Hamburg Süd has relied on thousands of Carrier units, including StreamLINE®, EliteLINE® and now PrimeLINE units. For perishables requiring a precisely controlled environment, Hamburg Süd also offers customers a variety of atmosphere management options, including containers employing Carrier’s Everfresh® controlled-atmosphere system.
Given recent fuel price trends, “Carrier’s decision to invest in development of the PrimeLINE unit came at the right time,” Schoeler said.
“Hamburg Süd sets high standards for quality and performance; not only for their own organization and operations, but also for their suppliers,” said Remco Balkestein, Carrier’s container products account manager for Europe. “As we look back on our 30-year relationship with Hamburg Süd, we are pleased that Carrier’s advanced refrigeration products and exceptional service keep us as relevant as ever today.”
back to top