Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Shipping Containers Can Hold Knowledge as Well as Freight

Another Successful Social Venture by Box Line
Shipping News Feature

SOUTH AFRICA – We have often featured in the past the multifarious uses people have found for shipping containers as opposed to their original purpose of secure freight carriage. Box line Safmarine has also featured previously for its ability to mix the disposal of its old stock of boxes with a generous portion of charity by converting the 20 and 40 foot units to something useful to the local community.

The latest project to attract the Maersk subsidiary is a partnership initiative supporting the important role of early childhood education in rural South Africa when two Grade R classrooms, constructed from decommissioned shipping containers, were recently handed to the Agter-Witzenberg farm community outside Ceres in South Africa's Western Cape region.

Two years ago shipping line Safmarine and fruit exporter, Capespan, a Safmarine customer for more than 30 years, identified the need to provide the Agter-Witzenberg community with a facility that would give parents working on fruit farms in the area the peace of mind that their young pre-school children were receiving the necessary educational support and care. Speaking at the handover of the classrooms, Safmarine Southern Africa Cluster Manager, Dirk Hoffmann, told the Agter-Witzenberg community:

"Safmarine shares your passion for developing this community by investing in the education of your children and it is our honour and our privilege to contribute towards a facility which will be used to nurture young minds. Education is without a doubt one of the most effective ways to alleviate poverty, unemployment and achieve social and economic equity in South Africa and we encourage you to continue your commitment to educating your youth."

After a 21 year heritage of using their old stock to contribute to social infrastructure improvement using its award-winning Containers-in-the-Community programme to support education and community development in South Africa, Safmarine donated the two 12 metre reefer containers which were then converted into classrooms with the help of Cool Maintenance and award-winning industrial designer and architect, Y Tsai of Tsai Design Studio. The two new classrooms were officially opened at the end of March 2013 and are able to accommodate approximately 40 pre-school children. Capespan Foundation Manager, Ansonette van der Merwe, commented:

"The Capespan Foundation is committed to investing in corporate social development initiatives which not only provide an environment suitable for alleviating social challenges in our communities, but which also offer solutions which integrate the needs of all community stakeholders in fruit production."

Photo: Luke Ramsey (Safmarine's Southern Africa Business Performance, PR and CSR Manager) and Ansonette van der Merwe (Capespan Foundation Manager, left back) share in the celebrations at the official handover of the two container classrooms