MacAndrews, the UK based subsidiary of CMA CGM, launched their new Reefer Xpress Service on 23rd June between Bilbao, Sheerness and Rotterdam. The first sailing was made from the Port of Bilbao by the 300 teu mv ‘Georg Mitchell’ and will provide a fixed day weekly frequency, upgrading to twice weekly in 2008.
Reefer Xpress offers a 4-day door-to-door service to the UK market, and is targeted at the 60,000+ reefer truck market moving fresh produce by road from Southern Spain to the UK every year.
It is a cost competitive, environmentally beneficial and reliable alternative to truck transportation, and the introduction of the service follows two years of extensive trials covering every category of fresh produce currently moving by road.
The new service will provide 45-ft hcpw reefer containers, which match the loading capacity of trailers, and is part of a substantial investment by MacAndrews in response to strong support from the market.
At the Iberian hub, Bilbao, Abra Terminales Marítimas SA (ATM) has invested in a purpose-built cross-docking facility at the port specifically for the new service, enabling produce to be transferred via the Bilbao cold store.
The UK hub for the new service is the Port of Sheerness, the UK’s premier reefer port. According to MacAndrews the port offers the efficiency and proximity to the Southern UK markets.
Geoff Smith, Managing Director MacAndrews, says that the aim of the new service is to tackle the dominance of road transport in the Iberian fresh produce market and provide customers with a cost effective alternative. “With the focus now on the carbon footprint of every commodity moved, we are confident that the environmentally friendly aspects of this service will appeal to shippers such as supermarket chains. The time has come for a seaborne alternative at a pallet rate equivalent to that offered by the overland service. We believe that is what Reefer Xpress is here to offer.”