Snow in the Tropics

A History of the Independent Reefer Operators

Snow in the Tropics by Thomas Taro Lennerfors and Peter Birch offers the first comprehensive history of the independent reefer operators. These shipping companies, such as Lauritzen, Salén, Seatrade, Star Reefers, and NYK Reefer, developed the dedicated transport of refrigerated products like meat, fish, and fruit by ship, from the early 20th century to the present. Snow in the Tropics describes how the history of the reefer operators has been formed in relation to shippers, such as Dole and Chiquita, in a constant struggle with the liner companies, such as Maersk, and in relation to global economic and political trends. It also covers how the industry is discursively constructed and the psychological drivers of the business decisions in it.
Open Access


Open Access
Biographical Note
Thomas Taro Lennerfors, Ph.D. (2008), is Associate Professor in Industrial Engineering and Management at Uppsala University. He has published monographs and articles about the contemporary history of the shipping industry.

Peter Birch, M.A. (2012) is Lecturer in Industrial Engineering and Management at Uppsala University.
Table of contents

List of Illustrations
List of Respondents

Part 1: Introduction

1 Tropics in the Snow: an Introduction
 1 The Cold Chain
 2 Maritime Reefer Shipping
 3 Aim, Preliminary Research Question, and Potential Contributions
 4 Independent Reefer Operators and Their Customers and Suppliers
 5 Implications of the Industrial Landscape for the Study of Strategy
 6 Three Theoretical Dimensions of Business Activity
 7 The Structure of the Book
2 The Reefer Industry in a Historical Context
 1 The Beginnings: Meat, Bananas and Fish
 2 1920s, 1930s, and into the 1940s
 3 The 1950s and 1960s
 4 The 1970s and 1980s
 5 1990s to the Present
 6 Summary

Part 2: The Independent Reefer Operators

3 Salénrederierna
 1 A Fruitful Relationship
 2 The Transatlantic Trade
 3 The Route to Global Leadership
 4 Salén Reefer Services on the Top of the World
 5 A Market Downturn and Some New Players on the Reefer Scene
 6 Palletisation and Maximal Flexibility
 7 Summary
4 Cool Carriers
 1 Perfresh
 2 Bilspedition as Owner: Ship Investments and the Golden 90s that Never Came
 3 Höegh and the Others: Broadened Market Presence with Limited Investments
 4 Summary
5 J. Lauritzen
 1 Mediterranean Adventures
 2 Worldwide Growth
 3 Rebuilding the Fleet after the Second World War
 4 Lauritzen Peninsular Reefers 1970-1983: the Shark’s Teeth
 5 From Beautiful to Economical Ships: the Entry of the ULRCs
 6 The Family Class and the Weak 1990s
 7 LauritzenCool: Two Market Leaders Become One
 8 Armada’s New Reefer Venture
 9 Summary
6 Seatrade
 1 The Management Buy-Out
 2 Argentina and the Atlantic Fish Trade
 3 The Newbuilding Programme
 4 The Seatrade Pool
 5 Dammers & Van der Heide
 6 Integrating Dammers into Seatrade
 7 Internationalizing the Operations
 8 In the Turbulent Market of the New Millennium
 9 New Partnerships: GreenSea Chartering and Joint Ventures
 10 Newbuildings and Reefer-Containerships
 11 Green Reefers
 12 Summary
7 Japanese Specialized Reefer Companies
 1 Japanese Fisheries
 2 The Japanese Shipping Companies: NYK and the Others
 3 Summary
8 From Blue Star Line to Star Reefers
 1 Entry into Specialized Reefers
 2 Swan Reefer
 3 Star Reefers
 4 Summary
9 Laskaridis and the Hamburg Reefer Cluster
 1 Hamburg Sud and the Hamburg Reefer Cluster
 2 Summary

Part 3: Container Lines and Shippers

10 The Traditional Liner Companies and the Container Lines
 1 Maersk
 2 Summary
11 Fruit Companies and Marketing Boards
 1 Chiquita
 2 Dole
 3 Del Monte
 4 Marketing Boards
 5 Summary

Part 4: Analysis and Conclusions

12 The Independent Reefer Operators from Material, Discursive, and Subjective Perspectives
 1 1950s: the Wild Reefers
 2 1960s: Rationalizations and Explosive Growth
 3 1970s: the Others
 4 1980s: Striving for Efficiency
 5 1990s: We are Conventional!
 6 2000s: Decline and Consolidations
13 Snow in the Tropics: Conclusions
 1 The Material Dimension
 2 The Discursive Dimension
 3 The Subjective Dimension

All interested in maritime history, particularly those with an interest in the modern history of the shipping industry.
Index Card