Africa Express Line advances energy efficiency with new order for Star Cool containers 

The shipping line aims to reduce operating costs and meet sustainability objectives through energy efficiency, effective cargo control and cold chain transparency

AEL Press Release
Star Cool Controlled Atmosphere offers high energy efficiency and effective care of perishables

Africa Express Line Ltd (AEL) is expanding its refrigerated container fleet with the addition of 500 Star Cool Integrated™ containers manufactured by Maersk Container Industry (MCI). Dedicated to the environment and food safety, AEL selected the industry’s only fully integrated refrigerated container and the Star Cool Controlled Atmosphere (CA) technology for its proven high energy efficiency and effective care of the ripening process of perishables. The containers will be deployed to service AEL’s owner, French fruit exporter Compagnie Fruitiere, in routes to and from Europe and West Africa. 

“We set out to invest in containers that would protect the high-value produce we transport while saving energy,” says Mathew Shed, Technical Director at AEL. “After comparative field trials, the controlled atmosphere technology clearly demonstrated its ability to help ensure the produce arrives at its destination in optimal condition. We will also take advantage of the energy saving applications and remote monitoring capabilities of Star Cool. Not only will they help us optimise operations, but they will also help us stay true to the CSR commitments we share with our owner, Compagnie Fruitiere.”

All Star Cool containers will be equipped with modems for remote access to monitor the assets, temperature, atmosphere, and alarms logged in real time in the Star Cool units. To further propel energy performance, AEL will activate the StarConomy reefer control application, which is proven to halve energy use while maintaining the same temperature inside the container, preserving produce quality.

“We have a long-standing relationship with AEL and we are delighted that they again have chosen to add the most efficient container model,” says Soren Johannsen, Chief Commercial Officer, MCI. “The integrated Star Cool 2017 model provides a whole suite of new efficiency-enhancing features to support the needs of modern container operations – from monitoring and controlling the atmospheric conditions on the inside of the container to digitalised solutions that allow for transparency and expanded data access.”

Built-in digitalised solutions
Star Cool reefers feature a combination of built-in digitalised solutions that can be leveraged any time to further support AEL’s efficient service and surveillance of its Star Cool fleet. This includes an energy meter that offers a reliable and precise tool to measure energy use in real time, either manually or via AEL’s full modem coverage. 

In addition, Intelligent Trip Inspection (ITI) now comes standard in all Star Cool reefers. ITI provides an enhanced digital inspection system that removes the need for timely and costly pre-trip inspections. ITI provides self-diagnostics that confirm whether the container is ready for the next trip and highlight if steps in the ITI process need further investigation. 

Servicing Europe – West Africa routes
To supplement its fleet of specialised reefer vessels, AEL is chartering the new build 2,345 TEU, m/v ‘MIMMI SCHULTE’, equipped with high reefer plug capacity, to carry the new 40-foot high cube Star Cool CA reefers. Delivered directly from MCI’s factory in Qingdao, the maiden voyage will go to West Africa. 


About Maersk Container Industry

Maersk Container Industry (MCI) develops and manufactures refrigerated containers, dry containers, and the Star Cool™ refrigeration machine for the intermodal industry, including shipping lines, fruit multinationals and leasing companies. Widely recognised as the most energy-efficient reefer, the Star Cool Integrated™ reefer features innovative technologies such as Controlled Atmosphere (CA). The company employs around 5,000 employees. It has R&D and engineering test facilities in Denmark, two production facilities in China and one in Chile, as well as a global network of 400 service providers. Building on a heritage of more than 100 years in shipping and strong core values, MCI is part of the Transport and Logistics division of A.P. Moller - Maersk. For more information:

About Africa Express Line
Africa Express Line Ltd (AEL) is a British Registered Shipping Company created in January 2002. AEL is located in Kings Hill, West Malling, Kent. From this location AEL operates a fleet of 9 very modern specialist reefer and container vessels on a number of dedicated weekly Liner Services to and from Europe/Mediterranean and West Africa. While its small group of AEL professional employees specialise in the handling and transport of perishable fresh fruit cargoes, they are also able to cater for time sensitive cargoes, either on deck, under deck or in a container. For more information:

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