Meeting Customer Needs ... That's Seatrade

Belgium (June 29, 2009) - With a captain-owner beginning that dates back to 1951, the then-Netherlands-based Seatrade firm was built with creativity, flexibility, teamwork and long-term commitment to its customers and the industry. Through the years, the Seatrade management philosophy has not changed, but the company has grown incredibly. From the launch of its first fully refrigerated vessel in 1961 when it entered the international transport market, Seatrade has become a company that concentrates on perishable loads. It operates a reefer vessel pool of approximately 140 ships from mainly management offices in Groningen and Leer (Germany), and has representative offices in Madrid, Tampa, Philadelphia, Cape Town, Tokyo, Buenos Aires, Santiago, Guayaquil, and Tauranga.

"Our shipping capacity is about 55 million cubic feet," said Philip Gray, commercial manager, Seatrade. "In 'fish' terms, that means approximately 856,000 tons. In 'pallet' terms, that's an instant capacity of 487,000 pallets - all under deck. And we have 4,683 aggregated reefer plugs over the entire fleet."

With banana shipments being a large part of Seatrade's business, the company needs these capacities for year-round liner services from Ecuador to the North Americas, and Colombia and Costa Rica to the Mediterranean or North America. Liner services are also available to and from New Zealand, and a number of seasonal liner services and/or parcel services for both fruit and fish are available from routes such as Turkey to Western Europe, South Africa to the U.S. and Mediterranean, Chile to Russia, Argentina to Spain, and Namibia to Spain.

Besides tightly-scheduled banana contracts, Seatrade's vessels carry a wide variety of perishables including kiwi, apples, grapes, potatoes, frozen fish and chicken, citrus, onions, avocadoes, cheese, butter, and yogurt.

"Because our business is perishables, our approach to both cargo owners and final receivers differs very much from the average liner shipping company," said Gray. "We need to understand the details of the cargo we carry, as well as the seasonality and nuances of the logistic chain, the timing of things, and the actual cargo care needed. This allows us to arrange part cargoes or full cargoes, as well as gives us the ability to go from (or to) specialized ports and terminals. Basically, we can better meet the needs of our customers."

Seatrade chooses leased equipment to maintain flexibility in terms of supply/demand of cargo, to stay updated with technologies, and to maintain a younger average equipment age. The company introduced Thermo King's MAGNUM® container unit, via TAL International, to its fleet of nearly 2000 reefers in early 2008. "After a few personal power saving trials, and with positive feedback from other Thermo King customers, we knew it was time," said Linda Huypens, Seatrade.

"The quality of the equipment resulted in a decrease of the average repair costs. Even a small decrease, when multiplied by number of units throughout the year, results in a significant amount," continued Huypens.

Earlier this year, Seatrade added more MAGNUM units through GE SeaCo, bringing its total MAGNUM fleet to 650 units. "Thermo King has experienced service centers on all main locations and has performed dependable, accurate follow up and training," said Huypens. "They've made the merge of equipment quite easy."

MAGNUM, with its fast pull-down and reduced power consumption, is one way Seatrade is making efforts and investigations into improved environmental efforts. "Today, more than ever, the environmental factor is a prime concern," said Gray. "In fact, it makes economic sense to care about the environment. As a reefer operator, we deal constantly with the issues of refrigeration gases and the availability of better technologies."

For more information about Seatrade, visit them at

Thermo King is the global leader in solutions for temperature-controlled transport, supplying the world market from 11 production facilities and over 800 distributors world-wide. The company offers a wide range of refrigeration and heating units for vehicles of all sizes, from small vans to large trailers, as well as airborne and ocean-going containers. In addition Thermo King provides heating, ventilation and air-conditioning equipment for passenger buses and railcars.

Thermo King also offers service maintenance programmes and finance solutions, as well as a range of accessories, temperature monitoring, and tracking equipment. For more information on Thermo King's products and services please visit

Thermo King is a business unit of leading diversified industrial company Ingersoll Rand, a global provider of products, services, and integrated solutions to industries as diverse as transportation, manufacturing, construction and agriculture. Further information on Ingersoll Rand can be found on the company's website at

Thermo King Corporation, a business unit of diversified industrial firm Ingersoll Rand Company Limited, was founded in 1938 and manufactures transport temperature control systems for a variety of mobile applications, including trailers, truck bodies, buses, shipboard containers and railway cars. The company operates 10 manufacturing facilities and 17 parts distribution centers worldwide. Sales and service is provided by a global dealer network of 865 independently owned companies in 75 countries.

Pietro Sonza Reorda, Thermo King Corporation
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Pietro Sonza Reorda

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