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Crowley invests in cool supply chain to expedite box movements

Crowley Logistics has expanded its on-terminal perishable handling capabilities by constructing a new US Department of Agriculture (USDA) inspection dock in Port Everglades, Florida.

The new US$1.6 million dock has capacity for 80 refrigerated (reefer) containers, more than double the previous size. The new dock has individual shoreside power plugs for each reefer, allowing for continuous temperature control.

The new facility “Allows for less handling time of the reefer container and cuts out the need to move the container to a separate location for separate USDA inspections," commented Pat Collins, vice president, Crowley Logistics operations. "It also allows our trucking partners quicker access to assigned loads facilitating a quicker terminal turn time, allowing them to make more trips per day.”

Once a vessel arrives in Port Everglades, Crowley unloads the reefers first, which allows them to be immediately moved to the expanded dock for inspection and quickly released for immediate customer pick-up. If further inspection or fumigation services are required, Crowley offers a local service for that as well.

While reefers are at the inspection dock, they use electric power sources, allowing their diesel-powered generators to be turned off – a more environmentally friendly power option. The additional electric plugs expand the overall plug-in capacity for the terminal to over 260 plugs.

Crowley added that the new dock also has integrated features to promote safety for employees assigned to it. LED lighting facilitates brighter visibility. Construction includes poured concrete and steel designed to withstand hurricane conditions and the everyday wear and tear of a marine terminal. In addition, the newly installed safety interlocked shore power receptacles have a LED indicator light to indicate to the reefer mechanic that the cable is energised.

In addition to the new inspection facility Crowley has added a further 222 refrigerated (reefer) containers, to the 300 new reefers received in January this year, to improve its equipment availability at origin for perishables moving through the cold chain.

Crowley has built in improvements to its supply chain through the addition of 522 new reefer units to its container fleet since the beginning of this year.

The new units are all 40ft high cubes and are equipped with wireless asset monitoring (WAM) technology, which provides continuous monitoring as the reefers transit from origin to destination, both at sea and over land. The new reefers will be used in the Central America and Caribbean markets.

“The acquisition of these containers is part of our continued commitment to provide the best equipment in the right quantities,” said Steve Collar, senior vice president and general manager of Crowley Logistics.

The containers arrived in Santo Tomas, Guatemala this month and are already being used in support of Central America’s continuing heavy northbound reefer season. The new containers are also equipped with environmentally friendly Star Cool refrigeration units.

Since 2014, Crowley has invested roughly US$160 million in new cargo equipment for its fleet. Today, the company operates over 50,000 pieces of owned and leased intermodal equipment.

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