Maxtend Masters Own Destiny

Flexibility has always been a core strength of Controlled Atmosphere (CA) shipping system Maxtend, and this feature of the business only looks set to be enhanced under its new owner Avcatech

Maxtend, the shipping system which provides CA capability in a standard reefer container, is under new ownership after Avcatech acquired the business from Mitsubishi Australia earlier this year. While the ownership has changed hands, it’s very much business as usual for Maxtend, according to chief executive of Avcatech, Sanjay Savur.

Savur, formerly director of Mitsubishi Australia, helped to pioneer and commercialise the unique shipping system globally as divisional head of Maxtend. He set up Avcatech to lead a management buyout of Maxtend from Mitsubishi together with co-investor Andres Nuñez Sorensen, the chief executive of Broom Group, which is Maxtend’s partner in Latin America.

“Mitsubishi determined it was time for us (Maxtend) to step out on our own,” explains Savur. “We now have more flexibility, and the ability to make decisions quickly.

“Avcatech will focus its considerable technical expertise on introducing innovative value-added products to all key players in the industry with help from our global partners.”

Avcatech officially launched on 1 March 2020 with the same Maxtend team, products, service and brands as before, Savur explains. “All our customers and service providers have come on board and the Maxtend service continues without disruption,” he confirms.

The only small changes relate to territories that were previously handled by Mitsubishi offices, which Maxtend cannot use any more, Savur explains. “New Zealand is now handled directly by Avcatech Melbourne, and we continue to work with existing suppliers and service providers there,” he says. “Europe is handled by LCL Logistics, a Broom Group Company.”

The Maxtend system uses a controller that is fixed to the air-vent of a standard reefer container to adjust and maintain the required levels of oxygen, carbon dioxide and nitrogen thereby optimising the condition and shelf-life of perishable cargo. The conventional one-trip system uses liner bags and CO2 absorbers (scrubbers) placed over the cargo inside the container.

“Maxtend is the only flexible CA option,” says Savur. “Every other system is a purpose-built option. If [container] lines need flexibility and the ability to retrofit a fleet, we are the option for them.”

“Every Maxtend CA shipment is now monitored and we provide instant downloads and share data with customers”

In addition to its standard offering, Avcatech is forging ahead with promoting the use of Maxtend’s new active CA system, Gem. This reusable CA system was developed with support from Carrier and introduced to the market last year. The Gem system is installed in a Carrier Primeline reefer container and it uses a reusable, permeable membrane to remove the CO2 and replace it with nitrogen-rich air. The system is powered from the reefer container, allowing Maxtend to control the CO2 levels over any voyage duration.

Savur says Avcatech is adopting a phased approach to introducing Gem. “Due to the competition from purpose-built containers, we’re targeting only specific routes for our Gem system,” he explains. “Currently, our main market is Australia, where we use it for more than 80 per cent of our shipments. We are in discussions with shipping lines and trials are being done in other markets too.”

Avcatech is also working on new solutions in CA related fields where it can offer additional services to its existing customers. Remote monitoring is a key part of this.

“We’ve been doing remote monitoring since 2014. Every single Maxtend CA shipment is now monitored and we can provide instant downloads and share data with customers,” says Savur. “Our monitoring does not only cover CA, but also cargo behaviour because we have a patent on calculating the respiration rate of the cargo inside the container. This gives customers an indication of the cargo condition at loading, during the voyage and before unloading.”

 

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