Photo: Sociedad Portuaria Regional de Cartagena, 2012.
Mainly because of its geography, a tropical mountainous country, Colombia with a production above 510,000 tons, was in 2010 the world’s fourth largest producer of coffee behind Brazil (2.9 M tons), Indonesia (1.1 M tons) and Vietnam (0.8 M tons).
About 95% of the coffee exported on global markets is carried in containers. This requires a thoroughly cleaned 20 foot container that has been fitted with a liner bag, which is often considered as disposable. Coffee bags of about 60 kg can also directly loaded into containers, but this implies a lower packing density.
The above photo depicts a container coffee stuffing station where coffee bags are brought on pallets and manually emptied on a conveyor belt, which loads the coffee sideways into the container liner bag. Although this process implies additional transloading costs, these are compensated by higher packing density. On terminal stuffing also offers the benefit of higher security, limiting the risk of illicit uses of the container.