Advanced containers from Schoeller Arca Systems
The Svalbard Global Seed Vault recently opened its doors to an inaugural shipment of nearly 100 million crop seeds. The seeds came from over 200 different countries and the vast majority of them were packed in Schoeller Arca Systems Integra containers. They are now being stored in chambers deep inside the permafrost on a remote Norwegian arctic island, in an effort to preserve agricultural biodiversity for future generations.
The Seed Vault, a sort of Noah`s Ark of crops, was built by the Norwegian Government and officially opened on the 26th of February 2008 by Norway`s Prime Minister, Jens Stoltenberg, and the Nobel Laureate Wangari Maathai. Its purpose is to protect gene-bank collections of crop diversity critical to the world`s food security. Seed banks exist in most countries around the world, but many of these are vulnerable to man-made and natural disasters, war, insufficient funding and poor management. The new vault will safeguard seed samples of plant species which are crucial to food and agriculture around the world, in a high-tech structure built to withstand catastrophes such as flooding, earthquakes, nuclear warfare and even an asteroid strike.
The shipment of seed samples was organised and funded by the Global Crop Diversity Trust, an international organisation dedicated to the conservation and availability of crop diversity for food security worldwide. As part of their coordinating role, the Trust`s experts researched suitable packaging for the transportation and storage of seed samples for the new vault.
They identified the Schoeller Arca Systems Integra nesting container as suitable because of its resistance to the extreme temperatures of the vault (which is kept at a constant minus 18 degrees Celsius) and its practicality for both the transportation and storage of seed samples. Being made of recycled polypropylene, the container is also environmentally friendly.
The Trust purchased over 1000 containers, which were sent to seed banks around the world to be filled with packets of seed samples. Each one weighs 3 kg, has a usable volume of 46 litres and an integrated lid. Typically, 400 to 500 samples fit in a container depending on the size of the seed. Individual samples usually contain about 500 seeds. The containers themselves were sealed at the point of departure and the contents are not visible or available to those providing the cold storage. They did, however, go through electronic X-ray screening at the airport, as a security precaution.
Schoeller Arca Systems is used to fulfilling all kinds of challenging requests. This particular one also included simultaneous delivery of the 1000 containers to the nine institutes which are participating in the initial shipment. The company`s Italian office was responsible for coordinating the request and delivery.
Says Susanna Ridolfi: - Although for us the size of the order was not exceptional, selecting exactly the right product and managing the logistics of sending the containers all over the globe were quite complex. But Schoeller Arca Systems is proud to be a part of this important project, which will contribute to ensuring food security for future generations.