The creation of the AQUALIFE logistical solution has been a long and enduring journey involving people from across the world from scientific institutions, investors and major corporations.
The journey started in 2002 when Maja Wall and Lars Nannerup (later to be the founders of Aqualife proposition) got engaged as consultants for the Danish Shell Fish Centre with the objective to find ways and means to better the sales and distribution of Danish aquaculture grown shellfish.
Both with a background in branding and marketing from the FMCG industries, they were intrigued by the fact that no attempts had been made to brand and supply chain manage this very large food sector. Even greater was the surprise when they experienced the expressed need for a global logistics system from the industry, and the apparent lack of initiative in creating one.
The business idea behind AQUALIFE was then born!
The early years
By the end of 2002 the company Fjords ApS was created with a purpose of trading in shellfish, whilst at the same time testing different possible solutions for fresh seafood logistics and storage.
The Fjord’s team was expanded with technical competences by Lasse Oest joining the company. Further to this, the Danish Shell Fish Centre and a number of external biologists and aquaculture engineers were engaged in the project.
During 2002 and 2003 Fjord’s and the Danish Shell Fish Center tested different biological principles, produced prototypes and ran market tests. It was during this period that the technical principles of airlifts, diffusion and hibernation where developed, later to become essential elements in the international patents now registered by AQUALIFE.
In 2004 Fjord’s received a grant from the Danish Ministry of Foods to help carry on further research, at this point the Technical University of Denmark (DTU) became involved. The Fjord’s team started now to engage in more concrete dialog with institutions and companies across the world.
Maersk Line enters the scene
In 2005 the world’s leading shipping company, Maersk Line, entered the project – and the company AQUALIFE is incorporated in close partnership with Maersk Line.
During 2005 and 2006 six prototype AQUALIFE ocean freight containers were built and prototype receiving terminal were established in Denmark. During this period the first Atlantic test transports were carried out, including bringing the first ever live snow crap from Greenland and lobsters from Canada by ship.
During this period, Aqualife engaged in serious dialog with the Canadian provincial governments in Atlantic Canada, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of the USA, as well as the European Commission with the objective to obtain the necessary permits in the respective countries, allowing AQUALIFE to ship and land live shellfish. In support of this effort, a number of tests were carried out across Europe and North America.
On the equipment side, Promens Plast (then Bonar Plast) were engaged in the development of the final AQUALIFE tank systems for ocean carriage. Alongside this, Maersk Container Industries initiated the development of the actual container units – all aimed for serial production.
Trial shipments and final AQUALIFE equipment
In 2007 North American (FDA) permits were obtained, and the first commercial freights were carried out between the Newark container port and Algeciras on the Southern tip of Spain, still using prototype equipment. During this period the production and final designs of containers and tanks are initiated.
March 2008 brought about the first serial produced tanks and containers rolling off the assembly lines, and over the next 18 months the system was thoroughly tested, amended, documented and all aspects involving safety and carbon footprint documentation were obtained.
Management team and organisation going forward
By mid 2008 the company’s organisational platform was further strengthened by the joining of Lars Nygaard Jepsen, who assumes the position as COO of the company and together with Lars Nannerup forms the company’s new management team.
Alongside the work on final testing and amendments of the AQUALIFE system, focus throughout the remainder of 2008 was put on bringing the finished AQUALIFE proposition effectively to market. AQUALIFE participated in a number of seafood trade fairs in the USA and Europe, and significant interest was generated together with the identification of potential clients and partners from several countries and regions. AQUALIFE was getting known throughout the seafood industry!
The organisation was again strengthened. Philip Bresling joins the company in late 2008, and following training is set for relocation to North America as AQUALIFE’s daily eyes and ears on the ground.
First commercial transport corridor
By mid 2009, AQUALIFE launched the first transport corridor between Nova Scotia, Canada and Rotterdam, Holland. These first commercial shipments brought live hard-shell Canadian lobsters across the Atlantic into Europe where they are sold and distributed to clients primarily in Benelux and Scandinavia.
The AQUALIFE logistical solution is now ready for commercialization, commencing with live lobster transports in the corridor between Canada and Europe – one of many corridors to be developed in the years to come.
It has taken 7 years and an abundance of resources to get to the point where the fulfilment of AQUALIFE’s mission can commence, namely to provide the world with
- fresh seafood supply systems and cleantech logistics -