Maersk is building a cold storage facility for bananas as well as refrigerated and frozen products in St. Petersburg.
To caviar, borscht, pelmeni, blini and beef stroganoff, add bananas as a food Russians crave.
Maersk said last week that it has begun construction of a new cold store facility in St. Petersburg to address the needs of a high-demand market for fruit and other products needing refrigeration.
In 2017, Russia surpassed Germany to become the second-largest importer of bananas in the world after the United States, according to Maersk. It said in 2018, imports of fruit to Russia increased, with banana imports going up by 1%, citrus fruits by 7.4% and apples by nearly 13.5% compared to the year before. Experts expect Russian fruit imports to continue to increase, Maersk said .
“Maersk is transforming to deliver integrated end-to-end solutions for our customers’ supply chains. While growing our ocean activities in line with the market, investing in unbroken cold chain offerings is one of the levers we pull to accelerate our non-ocean business and grow ahead of the market,” said Søren Skou, the chief executive officer of Maersk.
The St. Petersburg facility is in line with an announcement by Maersk in May that its inland service group would support customers by “integrating their supply chains locally through services such as transportation solutions, CFS and warehouse, depots and temperature-controlled handling and storage environments.”
The St. Petersburg facility will have three separate storage chambers for frozen produce (-25°C), chilled (+2/+8°C), as well as for bananas, which require a specific temperature of +13°C.
Approximately 40% of the new warehouse will be occupied by Europe’s leading fruit company, Fyffes, with the remaining capacity available for other customers from the fresh and frozen produce segment.
“The new cold store will enable Maersk to offer end-to-end solutions to Russian customers and thus to better meet their specific needs,” the company said. “Increased consumption requires specialized logistics for transportation, but also for storage of produce, allowing imported perishable goods to remain fresh for a longer time until they reach their end consumers.”
The 255,000-square-foot warehouse will be constructed by the Russian industrial developer PNK Group and have 35 loading docks able to serve 200 trucks daily. The maximum storage capacity will be over 50,000 tons and the fully Maersk-operated warehouse will employ more than 200 employees.
Fyffes said the facility will increase its ripening capacity in Russia to over 200,000 boxes of bananas per week.
Maersk also announced that last week it signed an agreement enabling the launch of TradeLens in Russia. The blockchain-enabled platform, developed in conjunction with IBM, “is expected to significantly facilitate international trade, not least by the inclusion of the Port of St. Petersburg, Russia’s main container gateway, as part of the pilot launch.”