Exciting times for perishable logistics

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With more than a quarter of century expertise in handling perishable both by air and sea Hellmann Perishable Logistics (HPL) is at the forefront of revolutionising the way a variety of perishables move from their places of production to consumer markets around the world preserving the integrity of the produce and catch right from the origin to the destination round the clock, around the world and all seasons. Markus Fellmann, global vice president, Hellmann Perishable Logistics, thinks that it is exciting times for perishable logistics.

Give us a sense of the volume of perishables transported by air at Hellmann? And do you see a growth in volume year on year? Our largest global perishable air freight origin is Peru with approximately 25 mio. kg by end of 2014. Many other countries are following closely. Due to increased technology and continuous pressure on costs — many traditional air freight commodities/shipments have transitioned to ocean freight — nevertheless we have seen continuous growth and we still expect continuous growth in air freight volumes year over year for the future. We handle planned air freight and ad hoc air freight. Depending on the customer’s strategy and quality of fruits — some shippers have air freight before and after the season — others are having planned programs throughout the season/s.

How significant is air freight when it comes to perishable logistics at Hellmann? Between ocean transport and air transport what is the ratio? Air freight is a strong pillar in our global perishable footprint. We are handling approximately three times the number of shipments by air versus ocean freight. However, by tonnage the ocean freight volume is much larger and equally fast growing in comparison with air.

When it comes to high seasons of demand and supply what are some of the specific challenges for a logistics provider in the case of perishable transportation? The industry's challenge is to have the right amount of loading equipment as well as air uplift space and reefer ocean container plug/slot positions available as needed. In general the demand outpaces the supply. Very close communication is needed between all stakeholders prior as well as during and after each high demand season. As soon as one season is over our teams start working with our customers and partners/airlines and carrier on the upcoming season. Communication flow in regards to expected volumes, times, etc. is key to a successful season. Of course, the climatic conditions will also play a role here as well, which can't be controlled or only in a very limited way.

In the case of perishable logistics how do you deal with instances of demand/supply exceeding available space/capacity? With diligent planning and close communication among all stakeholders as well as a stable climate — all stakeholders/the market will be aware what to expect. In case of air freight mode we have access to part charter and full charter aircraft. In some regions and for some commodities we are diverting goods from their traditional export gateways to other countries/gateways. For example, fruit from Chile by truck via Buenos Aires and from there on to international destinations. We also have sea/air & air/sea programmes. Same goes for shipments into Europe. We have multiple daily trucks from European one hub to another.

What are some of the unique products/services/programmes Hellmann offers in perishable logistics by air freight? Depending on the origin and season we offer uplift on commercial passenger and cargo only aircraft. Our customers may choose between planned programmes per day/week and month, block space agreements or part and full charters. We are accessible 24/7 and in majority of the gateways our teams are working 24/7 during the seasons. Uplift notifications are being sent right after flights take off. Exception reports will be provided immediately as per customer’s requirements. For ocean freight we offer our Hellmann Smart Visibility Tool, which has the following features: real time tracking via GPS, temperature monitoring, intrusion detection, g-force, humidity and composition of air inside the container. Very shortly we will be launching a similar product for air. Exciting times!

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