Written by Garry Honey, founder of Chiron risk management, speaking at the 10th Cool Logistics Global…
Following two successful years in Rotterdam, Cool Logistics Global moves to Bruges, the capital of West Flanders and the heartland of Belgium’s vegetable production and the leading region in Europe for the frozen vegetables industry.
Famous for its food, canals and culture, Bruges is not just a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it also has a deepsea port, which is the Port of Zeebrugge, one of Europe’s thriving deepsea and short sea ports, less than 18km from the Crowne Plaza Hotel.
The theme of the 7th Cool Logistics Conference will be ‘building efficient multimodal perishable supply chains’ for commodities such as fruit, flowers, dairy, seafood, meat, chips, vegetables and prepared foods.
NEW For the first time the conference will cover pharmaceuticals as the European Union’s Good Distribution Practice demands that an increasing number of medicinal products are to be carried under temperature control.
As the European economies are slowly emerging from the global recession, there are early indications that both food and non-food perishable supply chains are emerging relatively unscathed from the gloom. Intermodal trade is also set to increase significantly in the short and medium term.
Container lines have started to place new orders for reefer containers and fuel costs have tumbled, which should help reduce the cost of perishable logistics across all modes of transport, including road and air. Critically these factors alone should help reinvigorate consumer purchasing power and help off-set negative effects such as the continuing Russian food import ban.
As fresh or frozen cargo distribution over shorter distance continues to grow much faster than long distance shipments, the Cool Logistics Global conference will focus on the trend towards increasing regionalization of perishable trades.
How can deep sea, short sea, truck and rail be better integrated to provide more competitive, safer and more efficient logistics solutions to shippers?
Less than a quarter of perishable commodities are shipped over distances over 8000 miles or more. However, these include large quantities of mostly frozen poultry, beef, pork and fish, but also fresh pineapples, mangoes, grapes, apples and citrus, shipped predominantly in reefer containers. Even bananas are increasingly being transported in containers.
As soon as these commodities are landed or transshipped using smaller feeder vessels and/or directly transferred into refrigerated trailers, a whole new world of perishable logistics begins, involving food safety checks, packaging, storage, primary and secondary distribution by smaller trucks and innovative delivery systems driven by evolving consumer habits.
Following an established tradition the conference will also cover transport capacity issues, notably the increasing shortage of reefer containers and bottlenecks in ports and terminals and the role of technology to alleviate some of these challenges.
Anne-Sophie Zerlang Karlsen, Head of Global Reefer Management, Maersk Line