Although the Agreement Transports Périssables (ATP) for the International Carriage of Perishable Foodstuffs was drawn up in 1970-71, to date no company has offered a container design capable of meeting ATP standards. Consequently, this market has been dominated by road trailers.
Interestingly, neither fresh fruit and vegetables nor maritime containers need ATP certification when transporting perishable products where the door-to-door movement includes a sea voyage of over 150km.
“With increasing numbers of reefers being moved by rail over long distances, our customers have been pushing us to develop a container that can achieve the ATP’s FRC classification which requires a high level of insulation and enables goods to be transported within a temperature range of -20oC to +20oC,” said Jan Koolen, UNIT45’s managing director.
Koolen believes that many transport operators will now switch large portions of their business from road to rail and sea. “There is considerable pressure on the transport industry to find green logistics solutions with customers, producers, retailers and major distributors of foodstuffs eager to be seen taking steps that reduce their respective carbon footprints.
“The practicality of moving reefer containers by rail between Benelux and Italy is already proven; UNIT45’s diesel-electric containers carrying commodities not requiring ATP certification have been used on this route for the past 12 months or more. Now we are providing the tool that will allow more perishable foodstuffs to move by road/rail or road/rail/shortsea and we expect interest to be strong,” he said
The UNIT45 ATP prototype was tested by Agrotechnology & Food Innovations BV at its testing facility in Wageningen in The Netherlands. For series production, ATP certification requires that one in 100 containers should be tested and this will be arranged by UNIT45. Full certification to ATP, including FRC classification where required, will be provided with containers delivered to customers.