HERE ARE THE ANSWERS TO ALL YOUR QUESTIONS.

Here are the answers to all your questions.


Before shipping

What is the risk of harvesting unripe fruit?

When harvesting climacteric fruit too early, the ripening process of the fruit will not be initiated, consequently the fruit will stay tasteless. Unripe fruit often collapses during storage at a later stage. These types of fruit are not developed enough to live and mature on their own. When harvesting unripe fruit that is non-climacteric in nature, the fruit usually remains tasteless. 

What is the purpose of packing fruit in a plastic bag?

By doing so, one is able to prevent the loss of moisture of fruit, which often leads to dehydration and shriveling of the product. Many fruits first dry out at the stems, which gives it a poor appearance, even though it may be sound. Depending on the properties of the plastic bag, a modified atmosphere can be created, which may help to reduce the respiration of the fruit and consequently prolonging its shelf life.

What should be considered when using packaging material for container transport and refrigerated transport?

Packaging material for container transport and refrigerated sea transport should be permeable to a vertical airflow to allow the air to move through the cartons and packaging accordingly. Furthermore, the material should comply with the current standards; for example, PVC may not be used anymore.

What is the risk of pre-cooling to 0.0º C when the product is transported by air?

When produce is shipped by air, the temperatures inside the plane are often between +8.0º and +10.0º C. While placing the pre-cooled fruit in a plane, condensation on the fruit can occur resulting in mould development.

Which products can be stowed together?

Please find more information on compatibility on this website:
http://postharvest.ucdavis.edu/

What are the best temperature recorders to be used?

Electronic temperature recorders are much more accurate and deviations can be determined very accurately. The use of more traditional paper recorders is decreasing, not at last due to their inability to illustrate temperature recordings with great precision. Daily practice shows that they are often not precisely calibrated. The accuracy of recorders may vary from 0,1º to 1.0º C.

Where to place temperature recorders?

It is useful to utilize two digital temperature recorders, one placed in the front, one in the rear of the container. The recorder placed in the front will register the temperature of the delivery air. The recorder placed on top of a pallet in the rear of the container will register the temperature of the warmed up cooling air. The air will have an increased temperature due to the heat given off by the fruit and the heat entering through the insulation of the container. With two temperature recorders in place, the measurements are more detailed compared to only using one. 

What to do when loading a reefer container?

Please find a detailed explanation here: "HDG_Checking Containers_2013.pdf"

Why is it risky to load containers by night in the field?

When loading containers by night, light is needed. However, insects are attracted by this light and will enter into the container and possibly harm the fruit during its voyage. In many countries the presence of insects in containers stuffed fruit will not be accepted, resulting in the rejection and destruction of the cargo.

Surveys

I want to claim damaged fruit or vegetables. What procedure do I have to follow?

In case you want to claim a consignment of damaged fruit or vegetables, please fill in our electronic claim form or send us an email (international@hdg.nl) with the following information:

  • Why is the consignment being claimed
  • Location of the cargo
  • Name, Phone number & address of receiver
  • Type & amount of good
  • Container number
  • Vessel name
  • Name of the shipper
  • Attach any relevant shipping documentation

Based on the information provided we will carry out joint survey ourselves (for claims in the Netherlands, Belgium and parts of Germany) or will arrange joint survey in the designated country. By acting as a coordinating surveyor we make sure that your rights are protected and you will receive high-quality reporting. Our detailed analyses of the cause and extent of damage will provide you with reliable information. 

What to do if the carrier does not appoint a surveyor?

Nothing. It only has to be ensured that the receiver issues a claim notification to the carrier, notifying them of the damage, holding them liable and inviting the party for joint survey. If no opponent surveyor has been appointed after receipt of the claim notification, no further action has to be undertaken.

Which parties need to be included in the notification of claim?

All parties should be included which are related to the designated transport. In the first place, this is the carrier. If relevant and applicable, the stevedores, truckers and third party service providers.

What is the purpose of cooling?

Cooling lowers the respiration of fruit and slows down the ripening process of it. As a consequence, this results in a longer shelf life. Microbiological activity is slowed down as well, so less mould and rot will develop, while at the same time the fruit will lose less moist.

Why insure your cargo?

Insuring cargo reduces the risks of long distance transport. Nowadays there are many possibilities to ship goods in refrigerated containers to anywhere in the world, which increases the risk of damage to perishable products, since more handling is necessary. Furthermore, shippers and receivers do not need to worry about recovering the damage themselves, since recovery of claims by individual companies is much more difficult than for insurance companies who can bundle many claims.

Why to insure road transportation in Europe?

Cargo carried under CMR conditions means that the forwarder / forwarding agent / haulier has a liability insurance, which will pay out in case of damages caused by the carrier, such as temperature related damages. However, in case of a delay, the liability of this insurance is limited to the amount paid for the freight only. By insuring road transportation in Europe it can be made sure that all transport-related claims are covered.

What is degreening?

Degreening is a process by which fruit is exposed to higher temperatures and ethylene for a relatively short period of time in order to make the green colour of the fruit disappear. Examples are artificial banana ripening (for this, the word degreening is usually not used) and the degreening of citrus. Early season citrus tends to have a green colour, which is not appreciated by the market and therefore degreening is used to change the appearance of the fruit.

How to recognize that the fruit is degreened?

Degreened fruit is coloured turning to yellow or yellow/orange and the stem-end buttons have become black-coloured.

How to take flesh pressures and from which fruit?

Taking flesh pressures gives an indication of the state of ripening of a large number of fruit. In most cases, the skin is removed (approximately 2 cm2) and the pressure is tested by means of a pressure tester with either a small or a large tip. The small tip is generally used for most fruit, except for apples, for which a large tip is used. Some countries, such as South Africa, use the large tip also for stonefruit. An exception to the foregoing methodology is pressure testing for melons. Here, the melons are cut equatorially and flesh pressure is taken half way between the core and the skin. Pressures of the following fruit are usually taken: apples, nectarines, peaches, plums, kiwifruit, melons, mangoes and apricots.

For avocadoes a densimeter is used, which is an instrument determining the ripeness of the fruit. This is a non-destructive method, in contrast to the penetrometers used for pressure testing.

How does suffocation occur?

Suffocation is the result of exposure of the fruit or vegetable to too low oxygen levels and/or too high carbon dioxide levels. It normally occurs when the fresh air ventilation opening of a container is closed or only slightly opened. The risk of suffocation increases with the prescribed temperature level. Fruit carried at high temperatures are potentially more in danger than fruit carried at lower temperatures, because respiration is temperature related. Here it can be said that the higher the respiration rate, the more oxygen is needed.

Suffocation can also occur when modified atmosphere packing is used in combination with CA. This usually happens in malfunctioning CA containers or incorrectly set CA containers.

What is the difference between freezing and chilling?

Freezing Damage occurs at temperatures below 0.0º C, while Chilling Injury can occur at temperatures above 0.0° C. The latter is also often called Internal Breakdown. Some types of fruit (i.e. plums, nectarines, peaches) have a so-called “killing-zone”, which ranges from +2.0° to +8.0° C. 

How to detect Chilling Injury in bananas?

Chilling Injury in bananas usually comes forward when peeling off the upper part of the skin, preferably on the short/inner side of the banana and noticing a grayish / brownish undertone.

Legal considerations

What is general average?

General average is a legal principle where all parties involved in a sea voyage split the losses incurred. I.e., these losses could consist of any actions taken to save the entire ship and consignment in case of an emergency.

What is a time bar?

All claims are time barred; meaning that after a certain period of time, a claim ceases to exist. In some cases, the time bar is 6 months and in other cases 1 year. In case needed, make sure to seek legal advice

Quality control

How do we conduct quality inspections?

We have a large team of professionals conducting the quality controls at our clients’ premises, which are mainly located in The Netherlands and Belgium. Depending on the amount to be checked, one or several quality controllers are at location, preferably upon opening the container. Then the fruit is checked per grower and all relevant details are noted down, such as weight, temperatures, condition of the fruit and the like. Within 24 hours our clients receive a quality control report including photographs of the consignment.

In case major disorders are found, the quality controllers inform our office to report a possible claim on the cargo. If it turns out that a claim is reported after all, a survey is conducted by one of our in-house surveyors to determine the nature and extent of the damage, as well as the cause. 

What is meant by storage potential in our QC reports?

With storage life, we are referring to the remaining theoretical shelf life of the fruit or vegetable. In literature shelf and storage life are often compared and the definition of one or the other can differ. We refer to it as the time the fruit is still fit for consumption. If the fruit is still in storage after the by us suggested period, a second inspection would be advised.

What do the quality scores given by us mean?

We assign quality scores from 1 until 6. 1 stands for excellent and exceptional quality and 6 is non-consumable fruit. Further details can be found in each quality control report.

General Questions

What is the difference between climacteric fruit and non-climacteric fruit?

The main difference between climacteric and non-climacteric fruit lies with their individual development after harvest. The respiration rate of climacteric fruit increases after harvest and decreases as soon as cooling is applied. The higher the temperature of the environment the fruit are in, the more ethylene is produced and the quicker the fruit matures. Ethylene has different influences on fruit, such as de-coloring, advanced ripening, aging and reducing the shelf life. Among the family of climacteric fruit one will find apples, avocados, bananas, kiwifruit, nectarines, papayas, pears and peaches a.o. Non-climacteric fruit’s respiration rate decreases right after harvest and remains constant. Fruit belonging to this type are berries, citrus, cherries, grapes and pineapples a.o.

Therefore, when temperature increases during transit, this is much more fatal for climacteric fruit than for non-climacteric fruit.

What is the difference between controlled atmosphere and modified atmosphere?

Controlled atmosphere takes place in a container, land stores or refrigerated ship holds. When making use of this system, temperature, CO2 and O2-levels are adjusted accordingly. Modified atmosphere is found in packaging of the consignment, such as X-tend bags, which are used in order to decrease the respiration rate of the fruit and enhance their shelf life.

What is the optimal relative humidity for storing fruit?

Most fruit can best be stored at 85% to 95% relative humidity. One exception are physalis, which need to be stored at 65% in order to avoid mould formation on the husks.

How is it possible to manage humidity levels in cold stores and containers?

Much of the fruit that is vulnerable to dehydration is already packed within a moisture barrier, such as a bag. For products such as physalis the humidity needs to be as low as possible. It is advisable to use the relative humidity system of the container for this, where the fresh air ventilation is closed in order to avoid ingress of warm and humid air. This system cools down the air in order to enable condensation of the water out of the air and subsequently heats up this air to the required temperature level. In this way, the air is dried out and air with relative low humidity is blown into the container