Evaluation of logistic alternatives in the fresh fruit refrigerated container

C.L. Nkwocha, A. Ambaw, T. Fadiji, C.J. Coetzee, U.L. Opara
Refrigerated containers (reefer) are predominantly used in the fruit industry to transport temperature-sensitive produce, thereby maintaining the cold chain. Consequently, the produce quality is maintained throughout the journey due to the low temperature provided by the container to reduce the respiration of produce and inhibit the growth and action of microorganisms that lead to produce spoilage. In this study, a cross-country experiment was conducted to establish the capacity of integral containers to cool down the selected fruit (apples) from an initial above-optimum to the optimum produce temperature. The export trial entailed installing loggers to measure ambient and fruit core temperatures during loading, shipping, and unloading of ‘Golden Delicious’ apples from South Africa (port of Cape Town) to Nigeria (port of Lagos, Tin-can). Fruit quality attributes such as firmness, sugar content, colour, moisture loss, and decay incidence were measured at the loading and unloading ports. The spatio-temporal and fruit quality data were analysed, and the results showed that the fruit core temperatures were maintained within the acceptable range (<1°C) throughout the journey. The container’s cooling capacity was strong enough to cool the FR pallet, which was initially loaded at above 10°C down to 0°C within 5 days of cooling. The fruit quality analysis also showed good quality fruits upon arrival at the port of destination.
Nkwocha, C.L., Ambaw, A., Fadiji, T., Coetzee, C.J. and Opara, U.L. (2022). Evaluation of logistic alternatives in the fresh fruit refrigerated container. Acta Hortic. 1349, 427-434
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2022.1349.57
food loss, reefer, apple fruit, cold chain protocol, optimum transport temperature, fruit quality, trial export shipment

Acta Horticulturae