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Deep-sea container boats now unload directly at terminal BNFW

“From boat to lorry in less than an hour”

Deep-sea container boats moor directly alongside the cooled warehouses at the terminal of Belgian New Fruit Wharf. These are the regular container services from Hamburg Süd, Maersk Line, CMA-CGM and Seatrade with a lot of reefer loads. “In most ports, containers first have to be unloaded at large container terminals, and be transferred to barges or lorries, but that’s no longer necessary at the BNFW. We are no longer dependent on third parties, and are not bothered by congestion. This results in an enormous gaining of time of about one day compared to other ports, and sometimes even more considering the possible selection for scanning,” says Johan Claes from BNFW.

Everything under one roof
He indicates they have everything to process the products as quickly as possible. “The boats call right at our cooling facilities. The containers can be immediately unloaded at the quay, so that the cooled supply chain isn’t interrupted. After that they can be handled and inspected by our QC teams, the FAVV and customs. Finally, they can be loaded unto lorries or trains. The products of our customers can go from boat to lorry in less than an hour. We guarantee the process of the entire process, and all under one roof.” Johan says it’s important to actually offer what is promised. “When we say the cold store is directly on the quay, then that’s true. Besides, we can even put the pallets of fruit in a train on the tracks inside the warehouse, because the tracks go straight through our building. You can’t get closer than that. BNFW has everything in their own control, from unloading the containers from the boats to loading unto lorries or rail. We don’t work with third parties, who could potentially be a weak link.”

Speed because of automation
According to Johan, speed, reliability and costs are more important than ever. “We have made many investments in fully automatic warehouses, the robots make no mistakes, work quickly, don’t take breaks, and carefully handle the valuable goods of our customers. Because of that, we can save on labour costs as well, so that we can continue to be competitive. Nearly all container terminals have delays for lorries and barges, because they are overburdened, but we avoid this. Are we always the least expensive? Maybe not at first sight, but we most certainly are in total cost.”

The BNFW terminal in Antwerp.

More fruit
Annually, about four million tonnes of bananas are shipped to Europe, 1.5 million tonnes of which arrive at the port of Antwerp. “We had a very strong year. This year, a new ‘banana contract’ was signed between CMA-CGM and FAI, partner of Greenyard. This mostly concerns bananas from Surinam.” Johan expects more fruit to be unloaded at BNFW in coming years because of these advantages. “We have noticed that we’re the first port of call more often, especially for products such as bananas and pineapple from Central America. Rotterdam is still a very important fruit port, especially Chile and South Africa tend to take their products to Rotterdam first.”

SEA-invest also has cold warehouses in Zeebrugge, Hamburg and four in South Africa, in addition to locations in Antwerp and Rotterdam. 

For more information:
Johan Claes
SEA-invest nv
tel: +32 3 543 65 84

Publication date: 9/4/2017


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