March 21, 2017 3:10 am JST

Hitachi Transport safeguards sake's flavor in shipping

New insulated, cooled container can cut distribution costs 20-50%

Bottles of sake can fetch much higher prices abroad than at home.

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.

(Nikkei)

Hitachi Transport System, Ltd.

Japan

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