What can the airfreight sector do to retain and strengthen its role in the international movement of food, flowers and pharmaceuticals? What innovations and investments are needed for airfreight perishable supply chains to continue competing against ocean? These are among the key issues to be discussed in a dedicated perishables airfreight debate at this year's Cool Logistics Global conference, taking place 24-26 September in Rotterdam.
Some 2.5 million tonnes of perishables were carried by air in 2011, dwarfed by the 91 million tonnes of seaborne fresh and frozen cargo moved in the same year. But while air has lost 400,000 tonnes of perishable cargo to ocean in the last decade or so, it remains critical for high value pharmaceuticals and also represents a vital lifeline to support a wide variety of established and emerging trades especially to and from land-locked countries.
These include developing exports out of Africa, a topic to be explored by Loic Gindre, Sub Saharan Africa Commercial Manager for DHL Aviation. The airfreight wing of logistics major Deutsche Post DHL is opening a new hub in Dakar this autumn together with specialist cold chain freight forwarder Adelantex, to cater for growing exports of West African fresh fruits and vegetables into Europe, including value-added prepared fruit desserts such as diced pineapples. Gindre will assess what strategies airlines and integrators should adopt to address the evolving needs of fresh produce shippers.
Seafood is another key commodity that continues to rely on air. Handling and logistics priorities to guarantee the quality, safety and traceability of the seafood air supply chain will be discussed by Doug McRae, Managing Director for Canadian-headquartered international freight forwarder Worldwide Perishables. The company specialises in door-to-door temperature-controlled logistics and McRae will be looking particularly at the export supply chain for live lobsters as a key example of perishable sectors where airfreight retains the edge over seafreight options.
Pharmaceuticals – including medicines, blood, vaccines and antibiotics – remain a key value trade for airfreight. Regulations governing cold chain control are about to get much tougher, with significant implications for fine overland distribution and storage carried on airway bills, when revised EU rules on good distribution practice for medicinal products enter into force this September.
Philip Dekker, District Manager Belgium & Luxembourg for global logistics provider Expeditors will discuss how the logistics and transport sectors have been gearing up to comply with the latest requirements. As part of its preparations, Expeditors opened a new facility for temperature critical healthcare products this May at BRUcargo, the dedicated new perishable cargo centre at Brussels Airport. Dekkers will also ask if and how standards developed for pharmaceutical air cargo can be adapted to improve the performance of other air-based perishable supply chains.
A perspective on the impact of EU directives and regulations on airfreight logistics for the fresh produce trades will also be presented by Veerle Van Der Sypt, Secretary General for Fresh Trade Belgium, representing Belgium's importers, exporters and wholesalers of fruits and vegetables.
Rounding out the session will be insights on co-loading strategies to optimise land transport serving air supply chains, improvements in end-to-end information flow management and a fresh berry import perspective on tackling weaknesses in the cool air transport chain. Joining the speakers for a closing panel debate will be two major perishable cargo owners: salmon giant Marine Harvest, represented by Tom Mikkelsen, Managing Director of Marine Harvest Terminal, and Andreas Allenspach, Managing Director Fruit and Vegetables for the Van Rijn Group.
"We are very pleased to stage this session in association with Adelantex, bringing together experienced players from multiple markets, trades and disciplines to look at where airfreight stands today and tomorrow to support world perishables trade," said Alex von Stempel, Cool Logistics Event Director.
Cool Logistics Global is convened this year under the headline theme "Transparent, efficient and fair: Charting a new course for global perishable supply chain operations." Covering two days of business sessions, a full day of operational debate, field trips to a FloraHolland flower auction and Maasvlakte 2 port development, plus two evening receptions, the event once again brings together shippers, carriers, 3PLs, ports and terminals, technology providers and other key stakeholders to network in advance of annual contract negotiations.
The full programme and list of participating speakers and delegate companies can be viewed at www.coollogisticsconference.com