Feb. 28, 2024
Sumitomo Corporation
Orient Overseas Container Line Limited

Launch of New Refrigerated Ocean Transportation Service utilizing Electric Field Technology- Connecting new production and consumption areas of chilled food by low-carbon transportation services –

Sumitomo Corporation (Head Office: Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo; Representative Director, President and CEO: Masayuki Hyodo) and Orient Overseas Container Line Limited (Head Office: Hong Kong, President and CEO: Zhijian Yang; hereinafter "OOCL") are pleased to announce the signing of a business alliance agreement to provide refrigerated ocean transport that utilizes electric field technology (*1) and realizes the long-term preservation of freshness for a variety of commercial products. (hereinafter "the Service").

International transportation of perishable products, which must be preserved freshness, faces challenges to be transported in the shortest possible transit time in ocean transportation, and high cost burden in air transportation.
In order to expand food supply areas and ensure a stable supply of products, it has been desired to develop a service that enables long-term ocean transportation utilizing refrigerated storage technology with minimal quality loss.

Taking advantage of the development of electric field containers conducted by MARS Company, Inc. (Head office: Takasaki City, Gunma Prefecture/Sumitomo Corporation 8.53% investment), Sumitomo Corporation established an electric field container procurement system with the cooperation of Daiichi Institution Industry Co.,Ltd. (Head office: Kasuya-gun, Fukuoka Prefecture), which manufactures and sells electric field-related equipment, and OOCL. Additionally, Sumitomo Corporation also obtained patents (*2), including one for a "food transportation method" that lowers the non-freezing temperature of food products and improves the freshness retention effect by shrink packing the food products with a high degree of vacuum in an electric field environment.

OOCL is one of the world's largest integrated international container transportation and logistics companies, with about 130 offices in more than 100 major cities, and has a global customer base.

Sumitomo Corporation and OOCL aim to establish a new standard for freshness-preserving logistics by developing refrigerated ocean transport based on this service. Through the promotion of this service, Sumitomo Corporation and OOCL would like to realize ocean transportation of non-freezing chilled products from distant locations, which is currently impossible, and to deliver attractive food products in fresh and stable conditions to wider locations in the world. At the same time, by meeting the demands of regions seeking to promote the export of fresh food products, we will contribute to the stable supply of food products through diversification of supply locations. In addition, this service is expected to reduce food loss by extending expiration dates, and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and transportation costs by facilitating the switch from air to ocean transportation.

In implementing this service, Sumitomo Corporation and OOCL have conducted a 30-month demonstration experiment with Itoham Yonekyu Holdings, a major player in the meat distribution and processing industry, and successfully established the new mechanism to distribute and is going to launch the commercial operation of fresh pork as the first service provider in the meat and logistics industry to transport Spanish pork, which had previously only been imported as frozen products, in refrigerated condition. In addition, Sumitomo Corporation and OOCL will collaborate with SC Foods Co.,Ltd, a Sumitomo Corporation Group trading company specializing in food products and Mowi Japan Co.,Ltd, a major salmon manufacturer, to realize a new distribution model for a variety of fresh products.

Sumitomo Corporation and OOCL will continue to build a more environmentally friendly global logistics network through price-competitive, high-quality, low-carbon refrigerated maritime transportation by leveraging the strengths and business bases of both companies.

  1. Electric field technology : Technology to reduce the non-freezing temperature of food at sub-zero temperatures by applying a high voltage to the food and giving it a weak electric charge.
  2. Patent numbers 2022-125026, 2022-193143, 2022-193145

About Sumitomo Corporation

Sumitomo Corporation is a leading Fortune 500 global trading and business investment company with 128 locations in 65 countries and regions. The entire Sumitomo Corporation’s group consists of around 900 companies. Sumitomo Corporation conducts commodity transactions in all industries utilizing worldwide networks, provides customers with financing, serves as an organizer and a coordinator for various projects, and invests in companies to promote greater growth potential. Our corporate message, “Enriching lives and the world”, was created to encapsulate our vision for sustainability in the next 100 years. Our mission is to grow sustainably alongside society, pursue development for the world, and enable better lives for all. For more information, please visit: https://www.sumitomocorp.com/en/jp

About OOCL

“Orient Overseas Container Line" and “OOCL" are trade names for transportation provided separately by: Orient Overseas Container Line Limited (“OOCLL") and OOCL (Europe) Limited respectively and both are wholly-owned subsidiaries of Orient Overseas (International) Limited, a public company (0316) listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. Headquartered in Hong Kong, China, OOCL is one of the world's largest integrated international container transportation and logistics companies, with about 130 offices in more than 100 major cities. Linking Asia, Europe, the Americas, Africa and Oceania, the company offers transportation services to all the major trading economies of the world. OOCL is also an industry leader in the use of the latest technologies to enhance global supply chains. (https://www.oocl.com/)