Logistics for perishable supply chains in the spotlight

Antwerp, Belgium:  Speakers at this year’s Cool Logistics global conference, taking place 26-28 September in Antwerp, will look at the landside logistics equation from both the export and import perspective, including last mile distribution, how to make intermodal, multimodal and short-sea work for even the most temperature sensitive and demanding cargoes, and the role of ports, terminals and distribution clusters.

Shipment from origin to port and port to final destination are among the most challenging dimensions of international perishable transport. What happens at either end of long-haul ocean or air transit can make or break cold chain integrity, with significant impact for product out-turn, shelf life and retail value. As the global perishable trades continue to grow in scope and complexity, the cost and availability of landside handling, storage and transport will be increasingly crucial to total supply chain performance.

On the supply side, Mitchell Brooke, logistics development manager for the Citrus Growers Association of Southern Africa, will discuss new possibilities for refrigerated containers in farm-to-port transfers. In the last few years, Southern African citrus exports have converted substantially away from breakbulk, with nearly 70% of the region’s trade now shipped containerised via the Port of Durban. But with many production areas located far inland, producers are paying a high price for landside transport. Brooke will review how loading containers at the farm and railing direct to port may provide a more cost-effective and efficient solution.

Moving to the pharmaceutical trades, and specifically global exports of high value insulin products from Germany, Heinrich Kerstgens, managing director of European multimodal operator Contargo, will discuss how barge transport has been successfully deployed for containerised shipments of this extremely sensitive commodity.

On the demand side, Mark Copsey, GM Inter-European Trades at MacAndrews, discusses how short-sea operations can meet the needs of the retail sector, while Axel Guenther, managing director of Nagel Airfreight, looks at the challenges of last mile distribution, including direct delivery into supermarket outlets.

For global seafood producer Marine Harvest, handling, storage and cross-docking rank among the greatest logistical challenges, says Tom Mikkelsen, managing director of Marine Harvest Terminal. Mikkelsen will discuss the company’s decision to invest in its own purpose-designed terminal to co-ordinate high volume international exports of Norwegian farmed salmon by road, rail, air and ocean.

Mikkelsen shares a panel with speakers from Port of Rotterdam, Fresh Park Venlo, Eurogate and Nordfrost, who will offer views on what the ongoing shift from conventional to refrigerated container transport means for handling infrastructure and services at ports, terminals and cold storage facilities, and review the broader role of ports in perishable supply chains.

As the annual forum for the global perishable transport and logistics industry, Cool Logistics brings together key players from production to retail to provide global perspective on business challenges and opportunities along international cold supply chains.