Maintaining cold chain integrity : temperature breaks within fruit reefer containers in the Cape Town Container Terminal
CITATION: Goedhals-Gerber, L. L., Stander, C. & Van Dyk, F. E. 2017. Maintaining cold chain integrity : temperature breaks within fruit reefer containers in the Cape Town Container Terminal. Southern African Business Review, 21:362-384.
The original publication is available at http://www.unisa.ac.za
South Africa is among the top 10 fruit-exporting countries in the world. The South African fruit industry has identifi ed temperature breaks along the fruit export cold chain that result in the deterioration of fruit quality, loss of market credibility, and fi nancial losses. Seventy percent (70%) of South African fruit exports are shipped through the Cape Town Container Terminal (CTCT). This in-depth case study provides a better understanding of the signifi cant challenges within the CTCT. This research revealed that 81% of the temperature breaks in fruit reefer containers carrying summer fruit originate within the CTCT. The average time for a reefer container to be plugged in from when it enters the port is 1 hour and 52 minutes; almost three times higher than the 40-minute goal time. Only one-fi fth of containers experienced no temperature breaks, while almost a quarter never cooled down to the target temperature. Operational issues that need to be addressed have been identifi ed, such as the increased use of gensets, improved scheduling for arrival at the CTCT, and training of port personnel as to the correct standards for cold chain management. There is, however, also a need for improved collaboration between the producers, fruit exporters, logistics service providers, the CTCT, and shipping lines to enable end-to-end integrity of the cold chain. The latter will be the subject of future research.