University of California

Ask the Produce Docs (General)

Can you help me with container consolidation of mixed load shipments?

Category
  • Transportation
Question

I am writing this email from South America where I am an agricultural engineer. I specialize in perishable logistics. Five years ago I bought your transportation series which I use constantly.

We export in containers, cut flowers, tropical fruits, and vegetables, but exporters do not fill the entire container (consolidation), so this increases the cost of exports. I want to know where to get technical literature on strategies to consolidate where possible containers of various tropical products without damaging the items. (A.E.)

Answer

If I understand your question correctly, you would like to know how to setup a load of mixed produce including flowers that are compatible with each other.  

The refrigerated trailer book has a section on pages 3 - 5 that describes how to set up a mixed load of fruits and vegetables.  Cut flowers should be considered an ethylene sensitive commodity and grouped with the top group of ethylene sensitive fruits and vegetables.  There is one exception to this and that is flowers that have been treated to make them insensitive to ethylene.  They can be treated like the middle rows of produce that are not sensitive to ethylene.  If you are not sure, then be safe and assume the flowers are ethylene sensitive.

Most flowers should be held at 0 - 2°C and grouped in the first temperature column.  Tropical origin flowers may be injured by these low temperatures and should be grouped with items held at warmer temperatures.

-Jim Thompson

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