Van Riemsdijk has entered the coolchain leasing market through a joint venture called Skycooler. The Dutch container manufacturer has an unspecified stake in the UK-based joint venture, which will offer its dry ice and battery RKN and RAP containers to airlines and forwarders on leases of sixmonths or more.
Skycooler CEO Graham Walters says that the longer lease model was chosen in contrast to the single trip leasing model of Envirotainer to give airlines a more transparent idea of their costs.“After a single trip lease, the containeroften needs to be repositioned, and airlinesoften do this on a courtesy basis,”he says. “They are now waking up tothose costs, and looking for a simplermodel. By cutting out the expense ofsetting up a global network, we are alsoable to be a lower cost operation andpass those costs onto our customers.”
Van Riemsdijk was a pioneer in dry ice containers, producing its first model in 1985. Sales director Thijs van Riemsdijk says airlines such as Saudi Arabian Airlines, Singapore Airlines and Alitalia have all been customers in the past. All these containers were sold outright to the carriers concerned, however. “We often had enquiries about leasing, but we felt our competence was as a manufacturer, not as a leasingcompany,” he says.
“But since there seems to be a strong demand, we decided to set up Skycooler.” Walters says no customers have been signed up as yet, but says he is talking to major airlines. “We are getting to a tipping point with some of them,” he says.
Among the advantages of the containers is that all are equipped with temperature recorders which can download temperature data onto an SD card for transfer to the customer’s computer system. There is also a feature to stop wear on the fan. “They tend to switch on and off when close to the target temperature, so our containers have a slight over-run of 0.4 degrees to smooth things out,” says Walters. – Peter Conway