Hitachi Transport safeguards sake's flavor in shipping
New insulated, cooled container can cut distribution costs 20-50%
TOKYO -- Hitachi Transport System will debut a low-cost international shipping service for Japanese sake by the end of the month using a specialized container developed by the company.
The container features styrofoam walls measuring 4cm to 7cm, twice the typical thickness, and also is covered in a layer of cardboard to enhance insulation. The deep bottom preserves quality as well, by keeping the bottle upright. Cooling agents hold the contents between zero and 10 C for up to 76 hours, even when handled with ordinary cargo.
Hitachi Transport's new container will ship for a 20-50% lower cost than refrigerated transportation services. Costs will vary based on the destination, but a 1.8-liter bottle is expected to ship for around 2,000 yen. The container also can be used for meat and fruit.
Sake exports increased 10% in 2016 to 15.5 billion yen ($137 million) for a seventh straight record year. But shipping costs have ballooned, leading some bottles to sell for about $100 outside of Japan.