Cool store brings green gains at Tauranga
Refrigerated products such as meat, dairy products and kiwifruit are the lifeline of New Zealand’s export trades and one port is finding that it can make environmental gains while improving the supply chain for a major customer, writes Dave MacIntyre.
The Port of Tauranga has addressed an issue with its storage capacity for kiwifruit by building a new cargo shed that uses less electricity and more environmentally-friendly refrigerant than the old converted cargo shed that was used before.
The problem the port faced was that the old Number 1 Coolstore at the Mount Maunganui wharves had been leased to Tauranga Kiwifruit Logistics (TKL) since the early 1980s to handle kiwifruit exports, but the retrofitted refrigeration equipment had become obsolete. The shed was a converted dry cargo warehouse and its time was up.
The problem was compounded because New Zealand’s kiwifruit industry is currently experiencing strong growth volumes, with exports expected to keep increasing over the coming years.
The old facility was not meeting TKL's needs and with cargo volumes expected to grow, an action plan was required. The Port of Tauranga worked with TKL to design a state-of-the-art, purpose-built facility that embraced environmental features.
Dan Kneebone, Property and Infrastructure Manager at the port, says whenever the company replaces or purchases new equipment, it tries to find the most efficient, environmentally-friendly and cost-effective option available.
“This project was no different. On behalf of our customer, we sought improved cool chain efficiency, greater temperature control, and improved food grade standards.
“We sought the best design and fit-out to meet our customer's need to maintain fruit quality and maximise efficiency – ultimately leading to energy and cost savings. This customer-oriented approach is central to our property development strategy.”
Specifically, the “green” elements that set the shed apart include energy-saving measures such as lights that are on a set timer (turning off after ten minutes if no movement is detected), and rapid-action doors that reduce the loss of chilled air. The refrigeration equipment was supplied by Technicool and is modern and efficient, using more environmentally-friendly refrigerant than its predecessor.
TKL and kiwifruit industry representatives were instrumental in the design of the shed.
Mr Kneebone says it is too soon to compare energy and cost savings, as it will be used for the first time this coming kiwifruit export season. It's also larger than the previous facility, so usage statistics may not be comparable.
While the shed may not specifically be a benchmark for other building designs at the port in future, given that it is a purpose-built store, the project was consistent with Port of Tauranga's general approach of working with customers to meet their needs efficiently, while factoring in environmental considerations.
Another example is a purpose-built shed built last year for Oji Fibre Solutions, adjacent to the Tauranga Container Terminal.
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