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Unfortunately, container fraud is rampant in East Africa and if you’re not careful you could get scammed. Here are some steps to avoid this:

  1. Investigate what companies are charging for containers in general. A significantly cheaper price should raise concerns.
  2. Don’t be bullied into a sale with limited-time offers or claims that “this is the last container at this price”.
  3. Only deal with container companies that are established and have a historical track record you can verify.
  4. Don’t rely on website reviews which can easily be fabricated. Rather check out third-party reviews like Google.
  5. No landline number on their website means that the “container supplier” has no physical presence.
  6. If they have an address on their website, don’t take it for granted that it’s genuine. Google Maps is your best friend to verify.
  7. You should call the seller. If they have a foreign accent this should raise the alarm. Some fraudsters operate from overseas without any East African presence.
  8. Check the container company’s website domain registration date at whois.com. If registered in recent months, treat them with suspicion.
  9. If you’re asked to confirm the bank account you’ll be using for payment, only mention the financial institution. They could be buying time to open up an account to receive your payment.
  10. All legitimate local companies ask for full payment upfront. Usually, scammers ask for 50% payment upfront with the balance due on delivery of the container but they don’t deliver.

For over 30 years, Almar Container Group has been providing container solutions to both international and domestic partners and continues to focus on building strong relationships based on trust, reliability, and quality as a key to our success.

Almar Kenya opened its doors in Mombasa in 2011 and in 2013, Almar broadened its Kenyan operation, opening up the East African head office in Nairobi. The operations in Nairobi extended to offer a full spectrum of services including gensets and reefer rentals as well as container conversions. For more information contact Kenya, Nairobi at sales.ke@almar.co.ke or phone at +254 719 675 272 or Kenya, Mombasa on sales.ke@almar.co.ke or phone +254 719 675 272

The Magical Kenya Open, presented by Johnnie Walker, started on Friday 19th March 2021 and Almar was delighted to be part of it. Almar Kenya was approached by Karen Country Club to assist with fabricated containers for last year’s Kenya Open golf tournament. Due to COVID, the tournament was sadly cancelled but the event organisers for this year’s event approached Almar for the same service.

Almar leased a number of converted containers to aid in the running of the event over a duration of 17 days from the 11th to the 26th March 2021. The containers supplied included nine offices for the event staff and two medical clinics used as COVID testing centres ensuring all COVID protocols were covered.

Golf Open Day

According to Lorna Onudi from Almar the lead time to deliver the units was very short. “The initial contact with the client was in February but the requirements and order were only finalised two days prior to delivery date.’’

“We mobilised the units in one day and had them all on site on 11th March. We undertook all the logistics for this short-team lease and our support staff ensured that the containers were thoroughly cleaned and in ‘tip-top’ condition for this prestigious event. As a result the customer was very happy,’’ concludes Lorna.

Background

The benefits of container conversions / fabrications

Shipping containers are strong, secure and modular, making them the perfect solution for just about any instant space requirement. They can be modified and converted into virtually any space and their durability allows for these spaces to be moved and positioned to form individual or multiple container structures.

Not only are they suited to rapid delivery due to their modular nature, they are perfect for remote camps for everything from office and accommodation requirements to medical facilities and training rooms.

ALMAR East Africa has a self-storage facility located just outside of Nairobi, a few 100 metres from the SGR Nairobi Passenger Terminal.

The facility has 126 secure, water-tight, storage containers comprising 20 and 40 foot units and, with the increase in demand, we are expecting to expand the offering.

“The impact of COVID has unfortunately led to the downsizing of offices, restaurants and retail outlets. Our storage facility, which allows for flexible storage options, has enabled these businesses to store their assets until they are ready to expand again,” explains Tobias Okumu of Almar East Africa.

“With the Inland Container Depot only a few kilometres away, we often get enquiries to temporarily store cargo until it is ready to be distributed,’’ continues Tobias

The facility has 24/7 security and all containers are locked with both an Almar lock as well as a customer lock, ensuring all goods are only accessible when the customer is present.

Operating hours are Monday to Friday 8.30am to 5.00pm and for any after-hours work (5.00pm to 7.00pm) or weekend arrangements, we simply require 24 hours notice in order to make the necessary arrangements.

For more information contact Tobias on +254 713 780 294 or on toby@almar.co.ke.

Internet Solutions

Almar Kenya built an office block for Internet Solutions (now under the Dimension Data umbrella) using flat pack containers, to cater to their corporate client who needed business recovery work stations available 24/7, 365 days of the year, in case of a major disruption to the business environment.

The container office build involved 23 flat packs stacked in two layers and included an open plan office space, reception area, meeting room, private office space, ablutions and a small kitchenette.

The Almar team in Kenya started placing containers on site to create these flat pack offices in late December 2019 and completed the build by mid-February 2020.

Great feedback from the customer was received…

“Thanks for your cooperation and we also look forward to working with you again in the future. We are speaking highly of your services in the market, and if you need to use us as a reference please don’t hesitate.”
– Richard Hechle, IS.



What are reefer containers?

Reefer containers are big, mobile fridges that are used to transport and store products that need to be temperature controlled such as fruits, meat, fish, seafood, vegetables, dairy, medication and beverages, for example.

Refrigerated containers, known as reefers, keep fresh produce, perishable items, medicines, anatomical waste and beverages cold or frozen. These 20ft (6m) and 40ft (12m) containers are 2.4m wide and run on three phase (380 - 460v) power and can keep the contents at a consistent temperature ranging between -25°C and +25°C. Temperature can be adjusted and controlled to within 0.3°C of required set point.



How do reefer containers work?

Reefer containers are bottom air delivery units designed to distribute chilled air from the floor, via specific T-shaped decking, with the advantage of producing a consistent and uniform flow of air across the entire container, powerful enough to ensure a perfect air exchange with the goods.

Although not necessary, storing produce on pallets in reefers assists with stacking, loading and offloading. Nine pallets fit into a 20ft container while 20 pallets fit into a 40ft container.



How are reefer containers powered?

Each container is supplied with a length of power cable between 10 and 15m long (4 core, 4mm2 cable) and a standard marine grade IP65 rated CEE 17 plug with a 3’Clock earth pin. The electrical point required is a CEE 17 coupler with 3’Clock earth with a 32A D curve circuit breaker to protect the cable / electrical components. Alternatively, remove the C17 plug completely and wire directly into a 32A ‘D’ curve circuit breaker. NB – it requires a ‘D’ curve circuit breaker or motor start breaker. An industrial light start breaker will breakdown and cause single phasing and power supply problems. Reefers require a 3 Phase plus Earth connection – no Neutral is required.

It is important to note that a reefer cannot freeze unfrozen products. Reefers are holding freezers and will maintain the products temperature. The produce needs to be at the required temperature when packed into the reefers.



How easily available are reefer containers?

Reefers are available from Almar Container Group for short and long term rental. Dependent on the location, Almar reefers are rented on a fully supported basis with 24/7 technical support. Almar can assist with technical on-site installation of the reefers should this be required and technical support contact details are placed on all our refrigerated containers should you need to get hold of a technician.




Are reefers cost effective?

With permanent cold storage facilities you can face high costs and issues with accessibility. Chances are that your cold storage facility won’t be near the place your products need to be transported to. Hence, you’re going to end up having to organise regular transportation, which will lead to spending even more.

A reefer is also much faster to obtain than constructing bulk cold storage. With a reefer, you can have the cold storage you need immediately.

Renting a reefer container from Almar means no additional expenses such as service costs, or expensive repair costs in the event of a mechanical breakdown. Almar takes the risk and covers all these costs.



Are reefers energy efficient?

Reefers are energy efficient. All Almar containers for rent are Carrier - a world-leading brand in container refrigeration. Their optimised assembly reduces power consumption but not airflow.

For minimal environmental impact, R-134a freon of the Carrier has a significantly lower atmospheric life and GWP (Global Warming Potential) than R-404A.



What is the cooling capacity of a reefer?

Temperature Watts Btu/hr
2°C (35°F) 12,000 40,900
-18°C (0°F) 6,600 22,500
-29°C (-20°F) 4,400 15,000



What are the installation requirements of a reefer?

The site needs to be level and built from a suitable material that will prevent the container sinking into the ground. Make sure that the front and back of the unit is level and the doors are square. A slight fall towards the door end will facilitate the cleaning of the interior. This fall should be around 3 to 4 degrees.



How can I maintain a reefer?

The following basic steps can be taken to keep your refrigerated container in good working order:

Daily:

Keep a twice daily record of the temperature on the control panel to ensure any variations are noted. Ensure the container is switched to a manual defrost cycle before entering the container.

Monthly:

Ensure that no ice build-up is allowed to develop within the container, especially on the floor area and within the T-Bar flooring, as this may disrupt the airflow within the container and cause temperature fluctuations. A complete clean out and removal of ice may be called for.

Almar offers fully supported rental agreements, so we take care of the regular servicing, allowing you to focus on your core business.




Client uses of reefer containers:

According to Dave Williams of Almar Container Group, October, November and December is referred to in the industry as ‘reefer season’. This is because retailers need to stock up on additional fresh and frozen produce and renting temporary storage on their premises is the ideal solution. Outdoor events and festivals which require temporary dry and refrigerated storage also spike over these three months.

During ‘reefer season’ in South Africa, Almar Container Group supplied reefer containers to Rocking the Daisies, The BMW M Festival, The 9 hour endurance race at Kyalami, The Nedbank Golf Challenge and Corona Sunset Festivals to name a few. This saw a 48% percentage increase in reefer rentals for this three month period.

The Nedbank Golf Challenge, one of the highlights on the South African sporting calendar, make use of reefers for the tournament which forms part of the European Tour. They rent up to 30 Almar reefers for the four day event held in November at Sun City, which attracts over 60 000 spectators. The reefers keep their stock cold, secure and at their fingertips for the duration of the tournament.

The Saudi Government organises one of the biggest entertainment events in the region called Dairiyah Seasons which runs for a month from the end of November to the end of December. The event attracts renowned global artists and entertainers with the venue extending over 130 000 square meters and attracting over one million visitors. Almar Saudi supplied a combination of 59 dry and reefer containers on a rental basis for this epic event.

Almar’s wide range of refrigerated containers provide a versatile and cost effective alternative to typical cold storage solutions. Not only do refrigerated containers offer an instant secure cold room facility, for either chilled or frozen products, but they are also offered on a rental or outright purchase basis.

Almar Reefer Containers keep your perishable goods at the perfect temperature, in any environment.



What are the benefits of reefer containers?

Refrigerated containers are an easy way to increase your storage volume and offer many advantages which include the following:

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