Many people swear by its virtues and it is widely consumed and used in regional culinary traditions. This ensures strong demand for this unusual fruit across SE Asia, meaning that it is often transported fresh over long distances by road and sea. Therein lies another problem.
High respiration meets high ambient temperature
Durian has extremely high respiration, meaning that it generates a great deal of heat and consumes O2 and releases CO2 in large quantities. Like all respiring produce, respiration rate is relative to temperature, making it important to rapidly cool the cargo to set point to reduce respiration.
When 18 tonnes of durian have been packed into a 40’HC reefer at an ambient temperature of 30°C or more, the heat generated by the fruit can often exceed the reefer’s total refrigeration capacity. The result is spoiled cargos and financial losses for the dealer and transport company.
A classic challenge for Star Cool
Although the fruit is not native to Thailand, around half of the world’s total annual harvest is grown there. The majority of durian fruits exported from Thailand are not pre-cooled prior to loading. Selection, sizing, packaging and stuffing are all carried out in open-air warehouses without refrigerated storage or pre-cooling. A classic challenge for Star Cool, if ever there was one.
However, Star Cool was not well received initially by local exporters. The reefers were perceived as more susceptible to hot stuffing, high load and high ambient temperature conditions. Unreliable local gensets also unfairly influenced Star Cool’s reputation. MCI’s engineering team went to work to optimise the operating software for durian carriage conditions which have now become a standard test criteria for extreme loading.
Adapting to tough local conditions
Chai Fong and it’s affiliated transport company, Win Wind Transport, were founded by Mr Huang Wen-Chun and Ms Piyawan Yangchana in October 2004. From its base in Chonburi, Thailand, the company specialises in the road transportation of fresh produce, especially durian, and to China in particular.