Call for air cargo community to create its own perishables supply chain standard

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June 22, 2018: The air cargo community should drive its own standard for perishables, without waiting for other groups and agencies to establish them, according to Stavros Evangelakakis, Cool Chain Association (CCA) chairman and Global Product manager Healthcare & Perishable, Cargolux.

A lack of accountability is contributing to the 1.3 billion metric tonnes of food being wasted along the supply chain every year, equating to one third of all food produced, delegates heard at the CCA’s “World Without Food Waste – what can air cargo deliver?” Conference in Luxembourg this week.

Collaboration, transparency, and data sharing, as well as training for perishables growers and better facilities are needed to inject quality into a fragmented and disconnected supply chain, speakers explained at the two-day event, which brought together cool chain industry leaders from around the globe.

"We should aim for quality, we should not wait for other agencies to come up with standards, we should look internally and act now," said Evangelakakis.

"A standard in perishables should be something akin to the standards in pharmaceuticals, and over the next two years as chairman I am going to push for that.

“Are you ready for collaboration?”

The information needed for the supply chain to improve is already there, said keynote speaker Philippe Schuler, Food Waste Prevention Consultant – CCA Researcher in perishable cool chains.

CCA recently commissioned Schuler to undertake a “farm to fork” study of papayas from Brazil to Europe, looking into the waste in perishable logistics.

“The information needs to be made accessible,” said Schuler.

“When we all start to have access to the data, we can start to solve the problems."

Cool chain decision makers from across the worldwide supply chain were also told the industry was stuck in a multi-stakeholder model, with no shared communication.

“Instead of pointing at each other, we should collaborate,” said Frank Van Gelder, founder, Mediconed Consultancy.

“There is a way out, and it is not that far away - let's make quality visible through data.”

Jeremy Knops, director of Operations, COLEACP said the task sometimes felt huge, but collaboration could drive change.

“Supply chain is only part of the issue when it comes to food waste,” he said.

“By showing more producers practical examples, working with leaders, for example, from the transport industry, we can make a very positive impact.

“The key word is to look for partnerships, this has to be a joint effort, not only because of the waste, but because of the potential for agriculture to go one way or another.”

The week’s Conference included discussions on shipper’s expectations, disruptive food supply changes, fresh food from Asia and berries from the Americas, Africa, and various parts of Europe, as well as a visit to fruit and vegetable importer and distributer Grosbusch.

The family-run company has recently launched a scheme called Grosbusch Kids, giving schoolchildren an opportunity to visit their 18,000 sqm warehouse and learn about fresh fruit and vegetables.

“We believe in the basics of our business, of course, but there is more than that,” said René Grosbusch, CEO, Grosbusch.

“Our growers aren’t able to educate the children, and the supermarkets can’t, so we do. We can be part of the change.

“In this business, if the right people come together I believe we can make a change.”

The CCA held its Annual General Meeting (AGM) as part of the event, formally welcoming new Board member Vijan Chetty, General Manager, Coastal, Perishable Products Export Control Board (PPECB) in South Africa.

Eric Mauroux, director Verticals, Global Head of Perishables, Air France / KLM Cargo and Martinair Cargo, was formally elected CCA Treasurer.

Edwin Kalischnig, CEO, Xtreme Technologies B.V., was re-elected as CCA secretary general.

This week’s event was organised by the STAT Trade Times and brought together cool chain industry leaders to address the latest trends in temperature-controlled air cargo logistics.

The next event, the Sixth CCA Pharma and BioSciences Conference, will take place in Brussels, Belgium on the September 24 and 25, 2018.

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