Daily Archives: 26/01/2024

Kingdom’s largest cold storage warehouse opens

Greatly boosting the ability to store and export temperature-sensitive agricultural products, thereby minimising food loss and waste

Cambodia’s first cross-docking warehouse – Kandal Cold Storage Project – has opened for operations along the banks of the Mekong River in Kandal province.

It was designed to prevent food waste and agricultural products that are sensitive to temperature.

Cross-docking is a logistics technique that aims to accelerate goods delivery and increase supply chain efficiency. It involves unloading goods from vehicles making incoming shipments at a logistics facility and transferring them to vehicles handling outgoing shipments, requiring little or no storage time in between. It has been hailed as a game changer for logistics in Cambodia.

The new cross-docking facility was officially opened on Wednesday morning at the Phnom Penh Autonomous Port by Bridgette L. Walker, the US Embassy’s Deputy Chief of Mission in Cambodia.

The opening ceremony was attended by representatives from the Cambodian government, the governments of the United Kingdom, Australia, Switzerland, and Singapore, as well as InfraCo Asia and Khmer Cold Chain.

The Kandal Cold Storage Project is an initiative by InfraCo Asia through Khmer Cold Chain (KCC).

Speaking at the opening ceremony, Walker said: “USAID’s co-investment with Khmer Cold Chain is an important step forward for Cambodia.”

“This facility will boost regional and international trade, prevent food spoilage, and provide economic benefits for businesses and customers alike.

“The facility is the first of its kind in Cambodia and will provide valuable services to dozens of import and export customers, directly and indirectly benefiting thousands of Cambodian farmers and consumers,” she added.

The 6,046-cubic-metre cross-docking facility in Kandal province’s Kien Svay district would greatly boost Cambodia’s ability to store and export temperature-sensitive agricultural products, thereby minimising food loss and waste.

USAID supports KCC through the “Feed the Future” Market Systems and Partnerships (MSP) Activity, which is one of several USAID initiatives in Cambodia that are increasing cold storage and logistical capability for agricultural uses.

This first-of-its-kind facility was made possible in part through a $2 million partnership between USAID and KCC, with $999,604 from USAID and $1,017,605 in co-investment from KCC.

It targets market system impediments to import-export prospects for major corporations, small and medium-sized businesses, and agricultural cooperatives, with an emphasis on enhancing access for smallholder farmers as well as women and youth-owned firms.

The facility will include a 50-foot cross-dock to serve Cambodian and regional farmers, agribusinesses, food processors, pharmaceutical enterprises, food merchants, and hotel and restaurant catering businesses.

According to the feasibility assessment, Cambodia’s present cold storage capacity must be increased by 140,000 cubic metres by 2030 to suit its supply chain demands.

The space would include facilities such as pre-cooling, co-packing and labelling, sanitary and phytosanitary services (SPS), picking, and direct store delivery.

These services will help increase Cambodia-based small-and-medium enterprises (SME) ability to access higher-value domestic markets.

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How many more government U-turns on import checks?

Defra’s controversial decision to reintroduce physical checks on imports of fresh produce from the EU

Mike Parr, director of logistics firm PML Seafrigo, lays bare the potentially dire consequences of Defra’s controversial decision to reintroduce physical checks on imports of fresh produce from the EU

The logistics sector is once again reeling following the unexpected announcement on Wednesday that a broad range of European fruit and vegetables is to be recategorised from low risk to medium risk – thus necessitating physical inspections at UK border posts.

The news marks yet another U-turn by the UK government which will have a profound impact on those operating in the transfer of perishable fruit and vegetables from Europe into the UK – and ultimately, on the availability of fresh produce on supermarket shelves.

We’ve already endured so much chaos at the behest of officials who seem to be either oblivious or simply don’t care about the ramifications of their erratic decision-making.

In July 2022, I spoke out following the decision to defer the planned checks on European plant and animal produce, and sympathised with the news that British ports were contemplating taking legal action after investing heavily in post-Brexit border control facilities. Facilities that were then not required when the timelines were changed.

Since then, the proposed physical checks on fresh food and plants coming into the UK have been constantly delayed. The sector responsible for the transfer of perishable goods has been admirably represented by the Fresh Produce Consortium (FPC) which has worked tirelessly to put forward the industry’s concerns. At the back end of last year, we all thought that finally, we knew where we stood and could plan our business activities accordingly.

Now, once again, the goal posts have been changed and the industry is in turmoil.

We have not been privy to the risk assessments that have led those in power to decree that certain fruit and vegetables now represent a medium risk and must therefore be inspected. So we remain baffled as to why there has been a complete retraction of all that has been previously debated and agreed.

We are still waiting to understand whether commercial border control points, such as that operated by PML Seafrigo at its Kent logistics and transport hub, will be approved to conduct these inspections.

We do not know if the proposed Authorised Operator Status (AOS) programme – which was designed to enable those with a designated Border Control Post (BCP) to undertake the appropriate training to perform the planned physical and identity import checks – is going to be rolled out. Our staff were trained 10 months ago.

We remain in the dark about whether or not the new BCP Common User Charge is applicable to commercial BCPs.

What we do know is that this latest directive will signal major disruption in the supply of fresh fruit and vegetables to the UK. Prices will inevitably be driven up as more European producers take the decision to boycott the UK market due to the unacceptable costs, and frankly, pure hassle associated with exporting to Britain.

We also know that the facility at Sevington (near Ashford, Kent) is simply not equipped to cope. The resulting queues for drivers trying to access the government BCP will cripple the transport network and, of course, result in perishable goods sitting in transit for lengthy periods. This will have a detrimental impact on shelf life.

Furthermore, if the government goes ahead with this system, Sevington is unable to provide the necessary temperature-controlled warehousing facilities or sufficient staff to enable the removal of certain items from a groupage consignment. This means a whole consignment would be condemned rather than individual items.

The UK is becoming a laughingstock, and many producers are simply not interested in working within its ever-changing logistics landscape. At a time when the whole nation is being encouraged to engage in a healthier lifestyle, which includes eating more fresh fruit and vegetables (in part to ease the burden on the NHS), these very items are likely to become less available and more expensive.

PML Seafrigo is prepared and ready for the new inspection regime and we have the capability to offload problematic shipments at our Kent BCP. But we, like others, can only be effective if our questions are answered and if decisions taken are adhered to.

To say we are frustrated is an understatement.

Source: Fruitnet.com

Read more HERE

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From Farm To Fridge: Romanian Blueberries Hit The Middle East With DP World’s Smart Shipping Solutions

Thanks to to a game-changing partnership between Agricrafters and DP World, fresh blueberries across the Middle East are no longer a fantasy

Blueberries all the way from Romania are now hitting supermarkets across the Middle East, thanks to an innovative new partnership between DP World and a young game-loving fruit producer, Agricrafters. 

Romanian fruit producers have traditionally been limited to selling domestically and to their neighbours, hampered by the lack of specialised equipment and infrastructure required to ship their delicate goods over long distances. But now, this collaboration has unlocked a trove of new possibilities. 

Founded in 2022, Agricrafters – a company born from a love of agriculture and video games (think Minecraft and StarCraft) – was previously selling its produce to other European countries, reaching as far as the Netherlands, Germany, the UK and Italy. But their ambitions stretched further east, to the sun-drenched markets of the Middle East.

The challenge is to maintain the freshness and nutritional value of the fruit on such a long journey. This is where DP World’s global infrastructure — with multimodal transport options, smart storage facilities, and cutting-edge terminals in Constanta, Romania, and Jebel Ali, Dubai, comes in.

Through its relationship with CMA CGM, DP World secured next-generation controlled-atmosphere reefer containers, which allow real-time monitoring of CO2, O2, temperature, and humidity levels, with the ability to remotely adjust them if needed, ensuring a smooth, comfortable journey for the berries all the way from Romanian fields to Middle Eastern fridges. Since the July-October harvest season last year, 100 tonnes of fresh blueberries have made the trip across the Black Sea to customers in the Middle East already.

Agricrafters aims to expand its Middle East exports tenfold this year, not just with Romanian blueberries, but also with fruits from other European countries like Portugal and Spain, offering a year-round bounty throughout the region.

George Miclos, CEO, Agricrafters, said: “When we initially partnered with DP World, we didn’t expect to penetrate a new market so quickly but working with them has unlocked vast new potential for us. We know this partnership can help us reach new regions and limits in the years ahead.”

To fuel their ambitious expansion, Agricrafters has established a centre in Romania where local blueberry farmers can sell their produce directly to Middle Eastern markets. They’re also renting a 2,000-square-meter warehouse in Jebel Ali to receive, pack and deliver fresh fruit across the region. And to ensure a steady supply of top-quality berries, they’ve already planted 62 hectares of blueberries in Bihor County, Romania, with plans to add another 160 hectares this year.

DP World is equally enthusiastic about the partnership. 

Rashid Abdulla, CEO & Managing Director, DP World Europe said,

“One of our fundamental goals at DP Word is to unlock access to markets and consumers all over the world for our customers, which also helps to strengthen regional economies throughout the world. Our work with Agricrafters is yet another tangible example of that work and yet more evidence of the success of our operation in Romania, which is currently undergoing a huge expansion plan to help us deliver even stronger logistics solutions in the future.”

Cosmin Carstea, CEO, DP World Romania added, “This is just one of many new success stories from DP World Romania. Since setting up in the country in 2004, DP World has been committed to boosting trade for the national and local economies by helping its customers tap into unexplored markets.”

With recent announcements of a €38 million expansion project at Constanta port and a €20 million logistics hub in Aiud, DP World is paving the way for even greater growth, not just for Romanian companies, but for businesses across Eastern Europe seeking to access previously untapped trade routes.

Read more HERE

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