Source:  Library of Congress LC-D4-16345.
Unloading a Banana Ship, New Orleans, 1903
By the late 19th and early 20th centuries cold chains began to be set. The banana trade was an important driver of this transformation since it represented a perishable good that could be produced in large quantities and thus required mass conveyances. As long as the cargo could arrive in good condition to consumption markets, buyers could readily be found. Thus, the banana trade was dominantly constrained by distribution, more than by supply or demand. On the above photo, unripen banana bunches are being manually unloaded from a ship at the port of New Orleans. This was a labor intensive process prone to spoilages. A refrigerated rail car (using ice as a coolant) is waiting to be loaded and bring bananas to inland consumption markets (up to Chicago).