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Shipping Citrus With Steri – Cold Treatment Protocol – Using RAFT Kits

Cold Treatment Protocol

Shipping Citrus With Steri – Cold Treatment Protocol – Using RAFT Kits

Consumers worldwide have a greater awareness of health concerns and pay more attention to the foods they eat, as a result. Since citrus contains loads of vitamins and minerals, it works very well with this movement. However, when shipping citrus fruit, it is vitally important that the optimum temperature of the fruit is maintained to ensure high-quality delivery to international markets. We do this with Steri, or cold treatment protocol, using RAFT kits.

The EU, amongst other areas, mandates that Steri cold treatment is used for fresh produce as a measure to combat the False Codling Moth interceptions from Southern African shipments. It is possible to meet this standard for quality with the help of Reefer Air Flow Technologies (RAFT) Kits. RAFT’s ability to maintain a consistent temperature throughout the container is a significant benefit coupled with the cold treatment protocol for Steri shipments, saving energy at the same time. 

What Is Reefer Air Flow Technology (RAFT)?

Reefer Air Flow Technology is a simple, cost-effective solution that uses patented corrugated paperboard baffles and a floor liner to modify and improve the airflow in a reefer container. Commercial trials and user data show that the RAFT kit significantly decreases the amount of pulp probes measuring temperatures outside of the set protocols. As a result, the quality of fresh produce is maintained and profitability is increased.

Using RAFT For Shipping Citrus and Other Fresh Produce

Some of South Africa’s leading fresh fruit exporters have, over the last couple of seasons, experienced first-hand how effective the RAFT kits are. Cold air always follows the path of least resistance, which means that certain areas of the container receive less airflow than others, resulting in potentially large temperature variations.

Due to this difficulty, the RAFT kit was developed to fit into a standard 40-foot refrigerated shipping container. With this set-up, the cooled air is directed in a mostly horizontal direction through the pallets of produce at increased velocity. 


The woven polypropylene liner is laid down on the T-Bar floor of the container and is clipped in place. This liner directs all of the chilled air to the rear of the container. During loading, three corrugated paperboard baffles are placed in pre-determined, strategic positions on top of the pallets. These baffles block the air from merely flowing over the pallets and forces it through the produce. Corrugated paperboard blockers are also positioned against some of the pallets, in line with the baffles, to assist airflow direction. 

Two specially-designed paperboard blocks are positioned between the first two pallets and the front bulkhead of the reefer, creating a negative pressure area to assist with the return airflow. These blocks are hooked onto the pallet strapping of the first two pallets prior to loading.

Benefits Of Reefer Air Flow Technology 

  • Significantly reduces temperature differences between various parts of the container.
  • Steri cold temperatures stabilise faster.
  • The RAFT kit is manufactured from recyclable materials and won’t ruin the packaging when used. 
  • Saves energy.
  • Proven in commercial use with many types of fresh produce.


The desire for fruit of the highest quality implies that there must be no compromise in the taste, texture, colour, shelf life, or presentation. Therefore, accurate temperature management is essential to ensure that produce arrives in overseas markets in the best possible condition. RAFT’s ability to maintain a constant temperature throughout the produce in the reefer container is a great advantage. 

Contact us today to learn more about using RAFT for shipping citrus throughout international markets.