Crashing through the cross-dock

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As gateways or guardians of the supply chain, ports, terminals and cold stores have an increasingly important role to play in securing continuity of supply, safety, security and control for internationally-traded perishable cargoes.

This will be one of the key topics at the 8th Cool Logistics Global in Bremen, 27-28 September, where Günther Bonz, President of the Federation of European Port Operators (FEPORT) and Managing Director of Eurogate, will join Thorsten Haeser, Chief Commercial Officer and Executive Board member of container shipping company Hapag-Lloyd to explore the issues. Representing over 1200 companies in Europe, FEPORT speaks for private port and terminal operators large and small, whose activities have a direct impact on the perception of cold chain integrity as a whole.

In Germany alone, the cold chain generates €14 billion. Europe remains the most important market worldwide for a number of perishable products including fruit, vegetables, seafood, meat, confectionary, prepared foods and pharmaceutical products. However, increasing concern about the effect of migration on border and port security means that temperature controlled cargoes flows now have to bear the brunt of rising logistics risk, in addition to the usual day-to-day challenges of handling and cargo transfers between different transport modes, says Alex von Stempel, Managing Director, Cool Logistics Resources.

Europe's migrant crisis has also caused some fairly spectacular losses of perishable cargoes due to contamination by stowaways. This includes both pharmaceuticals and fresh produce shipped in trailers and containers on short-sea and ferry services.

Meanwhile, the shake-up of global shipping alliances is set to have repercussions on the perishables sector and is bound to lead to a perishable risk assessment in the months to come. How will alliances affect the transhipment of perishable cargoes on the more traditional South-North routes? This comes at a time when the widened Panama Canal is finally beginning to show the full effect of a fait accompli.

As bigger ships continue to be cascaded into secondary and tertiary trade routes, even smaller load and discharge ports will be affected by the new maritime regime, perishables stand to come under increasing pressure, as will issues such as shipping schedule reliability. At this stage the jury is still out on whether dedicated or common feeders will provide a better safeguard for global perishable supply chains.

This issue will form the analysis of a paper on transhipment and the effect of alliances on perishable supply chains. The results will be presented at this year's conference by Martin Dixon, Head of Research at Drewry.

Another important theme of this year's conference will be the continuing shift from air to sea for specific perishable commodities. Hannes Laessig, Global Product Manager Pharma at Kuehne + Nagel, who will unveil new opportunities for shifting selected pharmaceutical supply chains from air to sea. His presentation will form part of a cluster of discussions and papers on issues such as waste reduction for specific fresh produce supply chains sourced from various African countries.

As in previous years, Cool Logistics Global 2016 will be the launch pad for new logistics technologies covering IoT, M2M and digital developments, new perishable delivery concepts and innovations in packaging.

Supported by a growing array of sponsors, the 8th Cool Logistics Global will be an exciting venue showcasing the latest developments in technology, temperature-controlled transport and services for international perishable supply chains.

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