Chile will have region’s first refrigerated container factory

The strength of local fresh food exports was a key factor in deciding to build the new plant in Chile.

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A multinational shipping company has announced that it will build Latin America’s first factory for refrigerated shipping containers in Chile.

Danish based Maersk Container Industry (MCI) said it was establishing the new plant to help meet the transportation needs generated by the steady flow of fresh meat, fish and fruit exports setting out from Chilean ports.

The US$170 million factory will be located in the industrial town of San Antonio in the Valparaíso of central Chile and it is expected that it will begin operating at the end of 2013. Construction is set to take six months and at first, the plant will have a limited output.

At full capacity the factory will produce 40,000 refrigerated containers and 30,000 smaller refrigeration units each year.

Every year tens of thousands of empty shipping containers are sent from Asia to the rest of the world due to a supply shortage in most regions of the globe.

But the San Antonio factory is set to help address this mismatch by providing better access to high-quality, refrigerated containers in South America.

“We made this decision on the basis of the growing demands of international trade in coming years, especially among producers in the region who see the western Pacific zone as crucial,” said MCI’s CEO, Peter Nymand.

“We have carried out this project with the firm support and cooperation of clients and local and national authorities here in Chile, whom we have been working with for some years.”

The company hopes to continue forming relationships and building long-term partnerships with local suppliers, Nymand added.

The new initiative will also produce up to 1,800 new jobs for San Antonio and the surrounding areas.