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Dry ice is essential for the transportation of perishable products

‘New Zealand ministers should have done more to counter CO2 shortage’

Cargo companies are sounding the alarm over a shortage of “dry ice” that has followed an outage at the country’s only commercial producer of carbon dioxide. Rosemarie Dawson, chief executive of the Customs Brokers and Freight Forwarders Federation (CBAFF), said dry ice, which is the solid form of carbon dioxide, is essential for the transportation of perishable products, including fruit, fish, meat and medical supplies that needed to be chilled.

Concerns over the availability of carbon dioxide were already a factor following the decision to close the Marsden Point oil refinery, which had been the country’s biggest supplier until it was decommissioned in March. They came to a head following two outages at a plant operated by Todd Energy at Kapuni, which is the only remaining commercial supplier of “food grade” carbon dioxide.

The latest outage, which began just before Christmas, was due to a safety-related concern at the plant. Horticultural companies, which use carbon dioxide to promote the growth of plants in greenhouses, have warned the latest outage is reducing the supply of tomatoes and peppers and pushing up their price.



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