By Alex McCotter | 07.12.2018 09:57:00In a bid to compete with the Chinese market, ice-box maker Berg has developed its own ice-making technology, with its new Hobart unit selling its chilled ice to Australian customers.
The company, which has been producing chilled ice for more than a decade, says its refrigeration technology is more cost-effective than that of its Chinese competitors.
“In the ice-cooling industry, the most cost-efficient solution is usually to buy refrigeration systems from the Chinese,” says John Walsh, who has been managing director of Berg’s ice-processing business since 2005.
“So if you’re a big company like us and you have a business that you can sell, then it’s the right time to look into something new.”
A Hobart ice box is seen in this photo taken on August 27, 2018.
The new ice-building equipment is part of Berg Ice Products’ new $1 billion deal with Hobart City Council to build two large ice-breaking and storage units at the former Hobart Harbour.
The first unit is due to open later this year and the second is due in 2019.
“Our first ice-cutting unit is going to be in Hobart,” Walsh said.
“We’re already talking to the council about a deal.”
A Berg Ice Product spokesman said the company had been in talks with the Hobart council about the deal and that the company was working closely with the city to “improve the quality of life in the area”.
Hobart city council chief executive Paul McInnes said the new unit would allow the city’s residents to enjoy the ice more than ever.
“The ice industry in Hobarts has been growing by leaps and bounds in recent years, but our city has seen a significant drop in the volume of ice that is being transported to the icebreakers,” he said.
In Hobart, ice cutting equipment is available to those who need to travel long distances or for ice-blasting purposes.
“There’s a lot of demand in the city,” McInnis said.
Hobart’s new ice facility is expected to provide a boost to the city economy.
“It’s a great addition to our business, it’s a tremendous boost for our residents and it will make the city a much better place to live,” he added.
Berg’s Ice Products is a subsidiary of Sweden-based company A.G. Berg, which is also building its own frozen ice equipment.
“Ice-cooled equipment is the mainstay of ice-curing equipment,” says its website.
“Berg’s Ice Systems has been working closely for more, more than ten years to develop a high-performance, reliable and environmentally friendly refrigeration system for the cold climates of Sweden,” it says.
The unit will be delivered in 2019 and will be connected to a refrigeration plant in Tromsø.
A Berg spokesperson said it was currently working on the ice equipment for its first customers.
Hobos ice-cream is also sold in the U.S. and has also been used for other purposes.
Berg has also signed a contract with the state of California to make ice cream in the state.
The ice maker is one of several Australian companies to expand in the global ice-consuming market.
In 2018, New Zealand-based Aventura-based ice maker P.G., which produces chilled ice and ice-pumps, made a $7.5 million investment to expand into the Australian market.
It said its ice-free products were popular with the public, who were “highly engaged in their ice-saver and ice cooling activities”.