Technology improves perishable logistics efficiencies

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For global logistics pioneer Hellmann Worldwide Logistics (founded in 1871), the mission is “thinking ahead, moving forward”. And when it comes to moving perishables around the world connecting shippers and consumers and reaching produce from production locations to consumer markets, Hellmann Perishable Logistics (HPL), a division started in 1988,  has more than a quarter of century expertise in handling perishables both by air and sea. From flowers to food and from origin to destination HPL promises to stand by the side of customer. It promises to provide all perishable logistics needs and its employees are specialists in the handling of perishables supported by the latest technology and modern equipment in cold chain and reefer containers. HPL is present in 21 countries with 52 dedicated HPL offices and a network of 600 specialized HPL employees. Markus Fellmann, global vice president, Hellmann Perishable Logistics, talks about how more perishables move by sea because of improved efficiencies created by the latest technology.

 What are some of the challenges of perishable logistics by sea?

The main challenge is to have the right amount of reefer container at the right location at the right time. Extensive and close communication prior to any shipping or peak season is essential between shippers, receivers, carriers and us to accommodate all volume needs. All containers have to be duly cleaned and inspected to be fit for loading and cooling during the voyage. If the reefer unit of the container is working properly and if the container is being plugged in at all times during transit the cold chain will be intact. Any equipment malfunction usually leads to a cargo claim.

Give us a list of top perishable commodities, by volume, that Hellmann specialises in moving by ocean freight and specify the origin and destination of such commodities?

Depending on the regions, countries as well as our customer mix; we are handling a broad list of perishables by air and ocean. In terms of volume by ocean from Latin America it would be apples, blueberries and cherries. From South Africa, it is heavily all kinds of citrus and grapes.

What are your initiatives to get exporters/shippers on board to ship their produce using your logistics service?

hpl (Hellmann Perishable Logistics) is a brand within the Hellmann Worldwide Logistics company. We started to develop hpl sixteen years ago and we have today dedicated and focused perishable teams and facilities in the majority of perishable growing and consumer regions. The basis for our success is to build long-term partnerships with our customers as well as airlines and ocean carrier alike. Many of our customers are with us since day one. We were fortunate to grow and to continue to grow with our customers. A good portion of growth also comes from referrals. We are also active in traditional sales and exhibition participation such as Fruitlogistica Berlin, Asia Fruitlogistica Hong Kong and PMA USA. We continue to open new business units and perishable distribution centers. We only offer services we can support 100 percent.

What are some of the innovations at Hellmann in refrigerated containers which are attractive to perishable shippers to opt for ocean freight?

Increased knowledge in Controlled Atmosphere (CA) and Modified Atmosphere (MA) reefer container shipping allows for more products and at longer transit times to ship by ocean. Many of our customers ship to one destination and ask us to provide an individual door-to-door concept. We are handling, customs clearing, off loading the goods, perform quality inspection and distribute to various customers to various final destinations. A very efficient logistics allow us also to supply smaller quantities in best condition or to ship goods and to sell them while in transit.

What are some of the cold-chain technologies adopted by Hellmann?

Early this year we started to roll out our Hellmann Smart Visibility tool. It is a device which is easily mounted in-between the container inside and door. Its features include full GPS function, live temperature recording, live humidity recording, shock measuring, registers open and close of doors. All information can be retrieved at any time or through pre-set reporting either via text or mail. Especially our customers with high value per container appreciated this product. It supports any possible claims handling, but also reduces transportation insurance premiums. We are expecting a similar device to roll out soon for airfreight packages/units as well.

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