Tag Archives: Reefers

Peak Season Surcharge from CMA-CGM

For reefer cargoes shipped from Adriatic and West Med countries to Asia, Middle East, Red Sea, India subcontinent, East Med and North Africa.
Starting Feb 15, CMA CGM will impose a peak season surcharge for reefer cargoes shipped from Adriatic and West Med countries to Asia, Middle East, Red Sea, India subcontinent, East Med and North Africa.

#reefercontainer #shipping #perishables

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More expensive grapes, avocados and scampi due to conflict in the Red Sea

European consumers will have to pay more for fresh food from Asia. Conversely, our fruit growers are in danger of paying the bill for late deliveries to China.

Perspectives on the impact of the Red Sea crisis for shippers of fruit, fish and seafood with thanks to Steve Alaerts foodcareplus

Source: De Tijd


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Mercitalia repositions empty reefers from Taranto

A partnership with Yilport Holding Inc to provide a repositioning service for empty 40ft high-cube reefer containers creating a "cold village"

Mercitalia Rail, the freight wing of Italian national rail operator FS Group, and international terminal operating group YILPORT Holding Inc., have teamed up to provide a repositioning service for empty 40ft high-cube reefer containers from Taranto Port to Interporto Toscano Amerigo Vespucci S.p.A. (ITAV).

Located 5km from the Port of Livorno, ITAV is a growing multimodal freight logistics hub with road, rail, ocean and air connectivity and significant plans for growth in cold chain operations.

In a presentation to #coolglobal23, held in Genoa last October, Raffaello Cioni discussed ITAV’s Cold Village initiative as part of the Livorno Cold Chain, a partnership among various port and logistic operators to deliver a holistic solution for fresh and frozen produce.

The ITAV Cold Village handled 2,400 reefer units and 62,800 pallets in 2022, with banana, citrus, pineapples and pears as the main cargoes. Future plans call for significant capacity expansion.

Source: WorldCargo News
Additional reporting: Rachael White

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Ecuadorian Banana Industry Poised To Double China Exports as FTA Nears Ratification

Reversing the decline observed during the COVID-19 years.

The free trade agreement between China and Ecuador, signed in May of last year with the aim of eliminating import tariffs for Ecuadorian fruit, particularly bananas, is still awaiting national approval in Ecuador. Following a political crisis that stalled the ratification of the agreement, the Constitutional Court eventually validated the document, and it is now being debated in the National Assembly. Disagreement among the assembly members resulted in a temporary suspension of the debate on Jan. 11, and the process has not yet been resumed as of the time of writing.

Meanwhile, the Ecuadorian banana industry remains optimistic about the approval of the FTA and is placing its expectations on the deadline of June 2024 set for ratification of the agreement.

Jose Antonio Hidalgo, executive director of the Ecuadorian Banana Exporters Association, has claimed that the agreement will enable the sector to double its shipments to China and reverse the decline observed during the COVID-19 years. According to Hidalgo, Ecuador exported $156.62 million worth of bananas to China in 2020, a 29% decrease from 2019. He added that the industry had been unable to grow its presence in the Chinese market owing to the high tariffs that remain in place.

At the same time, Ecuadorian banana exports to China appear to be picking up. Statistics released by Ecuador’s Banana Marketing and Export Association for the first 11 months of last year show an increase in shipments to the Chinese market. The reported growth in export volume stands at a remarkable 45% compared with the same period of 2022. From January to November 2023, China received nearly 256,510 metric tons of Ecuadorian bananas, making it Ecuador’s largest market in East Asia, followed by Japan with 87,247 metric tons. In total, Ecuador exported 5.9 million metric tons of bananas over the data period.

China traditionally relies on the Philippines, Vietnam and Cambodia as its major banana suppliers. One of the main advantages of all three is their geographical proximity to China, which results in a relatively short transit time. In terms of production, however, these countries have recently encountered a number of difficulties. The Philippines is struggling to deal with outbreaks of the fungal disease Fusarium wilt, which have severely impacted yields and exports. Meanwhile, Cambodia is suffering from the effects of climate change, including water shortages at banana plantations and pest problems. Vietnam’s banana exports to China were on the rise in 2023, but in July the sector received a warning from Chinese regulators for failing to comply with phytosanitary standards, which it had to address.

Source: ProduceReport.com

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BTOM Bombshell: Government’s Risk Reclassification ‘Severe Blow to Industry,’ Warns Jenney

The undisclosed costs linked to these measures are feared to threaten the survival of many small and medium-sized enterprises.

Nigel Jenney, FPC’s Chief Executive, voiced his alarm, asserting, “This verdict delivers a severe blow to the industry and will have widespread ramifications.”

His words underscore the profound impact of this unexpected policy shift, set to be implemented on 31 October 2024.

The industry is now bracing for the fallout of this decision.

The government’s proposed solutions, including the establishment of a Border Control Point (BCP) at Sevington and the introduction of additional Common User Charge fees, are seen as inadequate for the specialised needs of the perishable sector, known for its just-in-time operations.
The undisclosed costs linked to these measures are feared to threaten the survival of many small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

The opacity surrounding the reasons for the reclassification of these products has heightened the urgency for the industry to receive timely information and to seek avenues for improvement.

Given that 65% of all EU imports depend on groupage, the implications of this decision are expected to be extensive. Vehicles transporting consignments that do not require inspection could still face significant delays at BCPs.
“For years, we have proposed viable solutions that are only now receiving government consideration,” Jenney lamented. “It is imperative to establish cost-effective inspection solutions for SMEs, groupage consignments, and fast-track approval for responsible companies to conduct their own official inspections.”

The industry is calling for the simultaneous implementation of industry-managed control points with approval for official inspections – Authorised Operator Status (AOS) – on the designated “go live” date. This strategy is vital for simplifying and reducing the complexity and cost of trade with the UK, which is key to averting food inflation and the risk of empty shelves.

This development represents a significant setback for the UK’s fresh produce industry, as it confronts the challenges posed by the new EU risk categorisation and strives to maintain its operational efficiency and economic viability in the face of these daunting changes.

Source: FPC FreshTalk Daily

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CNOOC uses cold energy for aquaculture

Being the first to start aquatic cultivation through LNG cold energy instead of discharging it into the ocean
China National Offshore Corp, the country’s largest liquefied natural gas importer, has spearheaded an innovative project — harnessing cold energy for the aquaculture industry — at its largest LNG receiving terminal.

Instead of discharging the huge amount of cold energy — which is produced during LNG vaporization and distribution — into the ocean, the company has decided to utilize it for aquaculture within the terminal, turning what was once considered waste into a valuable resource.

Similar to a marine aquarium, a total of 1,000 kilograms of red snappers and lobsters, among others, are raised in the cold water within the terminal, one of the largest LNG receiving stations in China.

Tests have shown that the fishes meet the requirements of various physiological indicators, said the company.

While cold energy has in the past been applied to low-temperature power generation and refrigerated storage, CNOOC has been the first to start aquatic cultivation through LNG cold energy, marking a new step in the construction of modern “ocean ranches” in the domestic LNG industry, said Li Ziyue, an analyst with BloombergNEF.

“During the re-gasification process of LNG, a substantial amount of cold energy is often wasted. If harnessed properly, it can greatly enhance energy efficiency and reduce emissions,” she said. “CNOOC’s innovative approach can both utilize LNG cold energy and revolutionize the aquaculture industry.”

According to CNOOC, the aquaculture experiment focuses on high-value fish species such as grouper and snapper, as well as seafood such as shrimp, crab, and sea cucumber. Its projected annual output is expected to reach 100,000 kilograms.

The use of cold energy in aquaculture is expected to reduce overall costs by 30 percent compared with traditional aquaculture.

With temperature control in aquaculture being a major cost factor, the project will help reduce expenses significantly along with considerable economic benefits, said Cao Yueming, secretary-general of the seed branch of the Shenzhen Fisheries Industry Association.

Lobster is considered a primary focus for cultivation due to its high value and strict environmental requirements.

Currently, lobsters are mainly imported, and the project will help replace high-end seafood imports through local breeding, he said.

Source: ChinaDaily

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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

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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.

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Red Sea issues prove we must find future-proof solutions

Many food companies' cargo flows are still very much based on old concepts with limited scenarios in case of a problem.

Incidents around the Red Sea persist, and while multiple parties are currently seeking short-term alternatives, the problems seem to be dragging on longer than expected. “We’ll have to find future-proof solutions for the logistics chain,” begins Steve Alaerts of Foodcareplus in Belgium. He joined the board of the International Fresh Produce Association (IFPA) last year. There, he will focus on building a fresh produce supply chain for the future. Steve sees synchromodality playing a significant role in this ‘Fresh Supply Chain of the Future’.

When the attacks began, the primary focus was on the immediate consequences and how to find solutions as quickly as possible. “Now, a few weeks later, people are beginning to realize this isn’t ending soon. They’re considering their business processes schedules. The urgent time has given way to reflection. During the pandemic, there was plenty of talk in the logistics chain about decreasing dependency.”

“That’s on certain regions, infrastructure, or business partners. But people are falling back into old habits. Many food companies’ cargo flows are still very much based on old concepts with limited scenarios in case of a problem. But what if something happens? Who has a plan for that? How will we solve that issue strategically? How will our stakeholders keep making money?” Steve wonders.

The logistics service provider’s director sees that the shelling by the Houthi rebels in the Red Sea is having several effects. “There’s the direct impact due to the current events. Consider, for instance, avocados or mangoes. These East African products must come to Europe within a few weeks. East Africa’s quality isn’t always on par with what other parts of the world bring to market.”

“If shipping companies don’t find a solution quickly, there may be no alternative service to get the fruit to Europe in good time. The same goes for the grape flows from India. These have to be shipped to Europe now, and they’re at their wits’ end there. Those delays can have catastrophic outcomes for the fruit,” Steve admits.

Extra costs, mainly within the chain
“That means we’re seeing the first price shocks due to the sensitive increases in transport and additional costs shipping companies want to make back. Also, if products no longer arrive from a particular region or the fruit suffers long delays, other supply regions will come under more pressure. Though, if there are losers, there are always winners. Countries that can supply the fruit can ask for more. That will ultimately also increase price pressure.

Steve explains that there is an additional cost factor in this case. “Don’t forget that during the pandemic, delays meant insurers had to pay absurd amounts to insured companies. That resulted in all those contracts being rejected after that and many delay clauses being scrapped. Importers and exporters can, thus, no longer claim compensation. That’s a crucial difference from the pandemic,” he says.

Alaerts adds that consumers will not notice these costs right away. “Short-term price shocks are generally not immediately passed on to them. Prices are agreed in the long term, so such volatility is managed within the chain. Eventually, if it remains an issue, it trickles down to retail prices and, thus, the general public. But, for now, those costs weigh somewhat extra on companies in the chain. They’ve realized that alternative solutions have become a must. Not just in the short term, but for a long-lasting, sustainable logistics chain.”

Steve’s goal is synchromodality, for which he sees a crucial role. “People often see a modality that’s best for them, cost and speed-wise, thus pushing aside every other option. Air freight has been pushed into a corner lately, but even there, people are constantly working on sustainable solutions,” he explains.

“Think of sustainable aviation fuel. I don’t think we should write off such transport possibilities too quickly. It can offer a solution for disruptions in the logistics chain. Not switching entirely, but you could transport certain flows over two or three sectors: via sea, air, and rail. Then you can switch quickly if one falls away.”

“Rail is still difficult for the fresh sector because, unlike maritime transport, that’s not set up for major changes. Also, you travel through regions, both on the northern and southern routes, which isn’t entirely risk-free,” Steve points out. “Yet, now’s the chance to think carefully about how to deal with that by combining the different modalities.”

“You can already smartly combine sea and air transport to the benefit of the fruit and vegetable sector. That may cost something initially, but over time, increasingly competitive prices will emerge, and you’ll be able to switch quickly where there are problems. This is the moment for a broad call to participate in the conversation”, Steve concludes.

For more information:
Steve Alaerts
Foodcareplus Logistics
25 Oudeleeuwenrui
2000, Antwerp, Belgium
Tel: +32 (0) 324 29 150

Source: Fresh Plaza

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