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Refrigerated containers, or reefers, using the new technology required considerably less energy to maintain cargo at a constant temperature, Maersk Line New Zealand trade and marketing manager Dave Gulik said.
"Traditional refrigeration systems focus on the air temperature inside the container, whereas what really matters is the temperature of the cargo.
"The new software we have been trialling with Alliance and other customers monitors the temperature of the cargo, and constantly adjusts air flow and temperature control to ensure it is maintained at optimum levels. That means no waste energy, fewer CO2 emissions, and better conditions for the cargo," Mr Gulik said.
Although container shipping was already "by far" the most environmentally efficient way to transport goods over long distances, the new technology was a "game changer" for the entire transport chain. It would cut CO2 emissions per container by 65%.
"It's a boon for the lines, but truck and train companies and terminal operators will also see their power bills and CO2 emissions go down," he said.
The new technology fitted well with Alliance Group's focus to reduce its environmental impact from "farm to fork", development services manager Gary Maclennan said.
Dubbed Quest II, the development followed on from Maersk Line's introduction of the original Quest (Quality and Energy Efficiency in Storage and Transport) technology in 2007.