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APM Terminals launches refrigerated truck to transport fresh produce from farms to markets



  APM Terminals Inland Services says it has launched modern cold chain transportation with refrigerated trucks to get perishables from farmers in hinterlands to markets.

APM Terminals Chief Executive, Martin Jacob, said in a statement that the cold chain transportation was launched in partnership with Naija Pride to bring fresh produce intact to market centres in Lagos.

According to him, the first trial shipment of 18.6 tonnes of fresh tomatoes, packed into 933 crates, were loaded into a refrigerated container for the 1,045 km trip from Dutsen Wai in Kaduna State to Lagos on Dec. 1.

Jacob said that in the controlled reefer environment, heat spoilage, as well as bruising damage from cargo shifting during transport were eliminated and the entire truckload arrived Lagos intact and ready for sale or further transport.

He said that the tomato shipment was undertaken in cooperation with U.S.-based TechnoServe, an international non-profit organisation that promotes business solutions in 29 countries.

Jacob said that UK Department for International Development (DFID)- funded Growth and Employment in States (GEMS4) programme and US-based Rockefeller Foundation-funded Yieldwise project supervised the shipment on-site in Dutsen Wai.

As observers, the agencies provided advice on cold chain supply opportunities that benefit the Nigerian agricultural industry and end-user customers, he said.

Jacob said that an estimated 15 million tonnes of Nigerian-grown perishable goods, including onions, potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, okro, ginger and carrots, were lost annually due to poor logistics, infrastructure and high transportation costs through spoilage and product damage.

“”Ongoing investments by APM Terminals in cold chain transportation is demonstrating ways to reduce post-harvest losses and extend the shelf life of fresh produce for local consumption and export.

“”New investment in cold chain infrastructure will clearly be an important growth driver for the Nigerian economy.

`”We, along with our partners, aim to offer our landside customers both the service and expertise necessary to protect perishables for domestic markets and open new international market opportunities through Nigerian ports,’’ Jacob said.

According to him, as much as half of Nigeria’s domestic tomato crop of 1.8 million tonnes does not get to market due to spoilage or damage during transportation while packed in traditional woven raffia baskets and moved by conventional trucking.

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