Our History


Old-Photo-History 

Without reliable refrigerated shipping New Zealand would never have been able to compete on the world market with other major primary producers like Australia and South Africa. Some defining moments in Cooltainer history include:

 1967 | Cooltainer was established in Dunedin by Capt. Brian McGowan and Dick Little. Using locally designed and built George & Ashton integral refrigerated containers Cooltainer moved the first New Zealand coastal “reefer” and then in conjunction with Union Steamship Company, the first trans-Tasman refrigerated container.
 1970s | Cooltainer offices were established in Australia.
 1980s | Cooltainer began operating in the Pacific Islands and Papua New Guinea.
 1984 | The company became 100% owned by the Owens Group.
 2003 | Mainfreight were successful in making an aggressive takeover of Owens at the end of 2003.
 2004 | Mainfreight sold Cooltainer to a London based company, Seacontainers.
 2007 | Seacontainers retained ownership of the business until July 2007 when it was purchased by a group of private investors, including some senior managers of the company.
 2011 | Kuehn + Nagel take majority 75% shareholding in Cooltainer.
 2014 | Kuehne + Nagel purchase remaining 25% of shares in Cooltainer, now own 100% of the company.

Today, the strength of Cooltainer is that we are able to offer our customers a variety of different sailing opportunities and a reliable supply of equipment. By maintaining a dedicated branch network throughout New Zealand and Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne we are able to provide a diverse customer base with a high standard of specialised customer service. Being able to offer a coolstore to coolstore, or door to door service Cooltainer provides a crucial link in the perishable supply chain of the South Pacific region.