Increasing need for refrigerated transport in China
The second day of the Cool Logistics conference took place on Wednesday. The Cool Ports and Cold stores: Integrated Perishable hubs of the future âsession was moderated by Steve Cameron, Director, Cameron Maritime Resources.
Johannes Nanninga, CEO and Owner, Guangzhou Port (Europe) BV, representing the port of Nansha, was the first speaker of the session. He spoke about the trends in the Chinese market.
Foreign investment in China continues to grow and the Chinese government is simplifying the procedures for doing business there and thus making China a better partner. âChina is also becoming more self-sufficient in the production of new technologies and food,â Johannes said.
More people in China are moving out of poverty and the middle classes are growing, resulting in increased demand for safe and healthy food. Although Shanghai remains one of the forerunners of this demand, other cities such as Guangdong, Jiangsu and Zhejiang are following suit.
China’s exports have always been strong, and now imports are also growing rapidly as the population becomes more prosperous. E-commerce is a big factor in this, as is travel abroad (before the pandemic) where the Chinese are learning about other cultures and foods. This requires more connectivity between ports and inland cities, as the distances between them can be very large.
Food spoilage or waste is high due to the lack of cold chain logistics, and as the consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables increases, more investment is needed. The increase in refrigerated transport is between 30 and 100%, and it is estimated that by 2025, the growth of refrigerated transport will be 100%.
âThere are now more products going directly to China instead of going through Hong Kong as was the case in the past. The port of Nansha is served by all major carriers and is well placed to supply the main fruit market in Jijangnan. There are good market connections from Hong Kong and Shenzhen as well, âJohannes said. Nansha will also apply for free trade port status to facilitate customs procedures.
The biggest players in the food trade are coming together to improve the cold chain, but better infrastructure and better hubs are still needed. Improvements to indoor infrastructure in retail areas are also needed to reduce food waste.
Captain Paul J. Gallie, Director, Business Development, AP Moller Capital, gave the Port of Limon in Costa Rica as an excellent example of what can be achieved when it comes to building a modern and functional port.
âThe ports are as good as their infrastructure in the hinterland; they need deep water, but also good road and rail connections. Cold chain logistics consist of moving perishable foodstuffs from A to B under the best possible conditions, âhe said.
Paul said that there are many ports in Africa that do not make optimal use of the climate and rich soils for growing tropical fruits, due to a lack of infrastructure. “There is a potential for exporting bananas from Africa, you just need to invest and help with the infrastructure.”
What could the African road network look like
On the African continent, South Africa has 50% of the rail mileage. Paul sees a strong need for improvement on this continent: with a rail network, transit speeds would increase and it would be much better for the environment.
Kenya supplies 35% of the EU’s fresh flowers. It used to be done by air freight, but it is expensive. Using controlled atmosphere and temperature controlled containers, flowers can now be shipped by sea from Mombasa to Europe and always fresh on arrival.
Ole Schack-Petersen, Managing Director, Broom Group gave an overview of the services offered by the Broom Group which has existed for 100 years. In addition to acting as an agent for shipping companies, the Broom Group also offers inbound customs clearance services, assistance in documentation for import, export and transshipment. The logistics branch of the company offers sea, land and air transport, packaging and cold storage.
Anne Saris, Business Manager Agribusiness & Distribution, Port of Rotterdam, spoke about the development and expansion of the Port of Rotterdam. The port has grown 6-8% over the past five years. They are currently developing cold storage due to higher demand.
The port aims to be a one-stop shop for fresh and frozen products and the gateway to Europe. Over the next few years, part of the port will be redeveloped for housing and other uses, which has resulted in the need to develop other areas for the storage of clods. An area of ââ60 hectares in the Maasvlakte will be used for this, development has already started.
There is also a need to accommodate dedicated reefer vessels and smaller container ships. There will be an area entirely dedicated to the fast and efficient handling of these vessels and a cold room adjacent to the quay.
The port is also digitizing the infrastructure to optimize the shipping process. This includes an automated customs process for goods to and from the UK, saving you time and money.