In 2014 TransFresh Corporation introduced the Tectrol Storage Solution utilizing BreatheWay Technology by California produce company Apio to provide more reliable storage for fresh blueberries. While the produce trucker hauling these berries may never see the process, that driver should benefit from it.
Rich Macleod, TransFresh vice president, pallet division, based in Salinas, CA, says, “There’s a reason we call it a storage solution….blueberry growers store their blueberries (in a controlled atmosphere bag) prior to shipping. The storage bag is removed before being shipped.”
He adds the bag is dynamically different from modified atmosphere for which TransFresh has built a name with strawberries.
Macleod points out blueberries after harvest are sometimes stored as long as four to six weeks as a way of balancing the market.
“To the driver that means that load will be available on a scheduled basis,” Macleod relates. “For example, he will know he needs to be in the Northwest every Tuesday to pick up six pallets of blueberries. It won’t be this frantic thing like picking up and delivering strawberries or cherries.”
Additionally, Macleod sees the Storage Solution as reducing the chances of quality problems at destination, which could lead to claims or deductions from the freight rate.
“When the market is orderly, that’s good for everybody,” he says.
Looking to the future, Macleod notes they are starting to solve the blueberry storage solutions for international transportation. If the shipper is an exporter, when those berries are loaded into a 40-f00t sea van, the product is placed in a controlled atmosphere. He also sees the day when this could be applicable for blueberries and other items being imported to by US companies from countries such as Chile and Peru.
“I don’t see this replacing containers,, but it could certainly impact the number of containers used. I see them being used side by side,” he says.
In the controlled atmosphere systems there is a device that records the atmosphere for the entire container. However, Macleod sees this being cost prohibitive to something like that in each pallet. However, there is research being conducted in this area.