The history of reefer shipping

The International Maritime Museum Hamburg shows everything about reefer shipping in a newly designed area

A new exhibition area on the subject of “Reefer Shipping – Transport of Perishable Goods” is attracting visitors to the International Maritime Museum Hamburg (IMMH). Since 19 October 2021, this new part of the exhibition on deck 6 will present everything on the subject of reefer shipping, using the Hamburg Süd as an example.

From the beginning of reefer shipping in 1877 to the present day, the entire spectrum of development is shown
and vividly presented to visitors to the IMMH using ships and transport conditions. Reefer transport is mainly carried out from the growing regions of the southern hemisphere to the industrialised countries of the northern hemisphere.

Even in the past, the preferences of consumers around the world determined the trade routes of food. For example, if demand for a certain type of fruit increased in one part of the world, producers on another continent would be quick to meet that demand. Today, thanks to reefer shipping, many fruits and vegetables are available all year round. Continuous adaptation to changing customer demands and the associated challenges of transporting temperature-sensitive goods and cargo care have left a lasting mark on the so-called reefer business in shipping over many years.

The most important cargoes transported in temperature-controlled containers worldwide today are fruit and vegetables, meat, fish, seafood, dairy products, pharmaceuticals and flowers, with bananas being the most important reefer cargo. When transporting temperature-sensitive goods, unbroken compliance with the cold chain is crucial for quality.

This and much more information awaits the visitors, who can also use an interactive touch screen to see for themselves the goods and goods flows that are of interest to them, such as beef from Argentina, avocados from Peru or grapes from Brazil.

The development of this new exhibition area in the International Maritime Museum Hamburg was made possible by the sponsorship of Dr. August Oetker KG, Bielefeld. The Hamburg Süd was owned by the Oetker family for more than eight decades until it was sold to the Danish Maersk Group at the end of 2017.

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