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Company to grow sea freight potential for perishable goods

Cool Logistics Africa to expand in East and West Africa

Shipping flowers from Kenya by sea or mangoes from Mali by rail may still be regarded as a feat of logistical coordination. Yet two leading European importers of horticultural products, Agrofair and FloraHolland, having proved that where there is a will there is a way, will share their experiences of innovations in West and East African perishable logistics at the Cool Logistics Africa Conference, Cape Town, April 24-26.

West Africa has a huge potential for fruit and vegetable production, but the development of reliable and cost-effective cold chains is now imperative, according to Hans-Willem van der Waal, Managing Director of Agrofair. Agrofair brought to market the world’s first ever Fairtrade banana in 1996 and since then has acquired 15 years of experience as a producer-owned provider of sustainable fruit to leading retailers in Europe.  Joining a regionally focused session on Day 2 of Cool Logistics Africa, van der Waal is well positioned to discuss the major logistical hurdles faced by West African exporters.

In East Africa, horticultural exports represent one of the most critical export earners for the Kenyan economy.  Kenya exports over 100,000 tonnes of cut flowers each year, most of it by air, but it is believed that a significant share of flowers and vegetables such as beans could be shipped by sea in the future. In a ground-breaking effort designed to demonstrate that controlled-atmosphere technology can be used to ship cut flowers in 40ft reefercontainers, Christo van der Meer, Supply Chain Consultant for FloraHolland will present the results of  ‘live shipments’ at the Cool Logistics Africa conference.

FloraHolland will be joined in the Kenya focused session by Sunripe, an East African producer of fresh fruit, vegetables and flowers which will lend its own assessment of the challenges faced by different transport modes.  Moderated by Paul Bletterman, CEO for Kenfreight and further reinforced with a presentation by Bob Weyn, Managing Director for Gateway Marine Services, both of whom specialise in East African perishable logistics, the session will focus on harnessing the market potential for one of the fastest developing regions on the continent.

Whilst airfreight remains the default option for exporting perishables, sea and land transport can be more cost-effective, even for landlocked countries such as Mali and Burkina Faso. “Two of the biggest problems for both West and East Africa are the unwillingness of shipping lines to release reefercontainers inland on the one hand, and port congestion and disruption on the other,” says Rachael White, Co-Director, Cool Logistics Resources. “At this year’s conference, we’ll be talking about how, if and when these problems can be overcome.”

"Surcharges, a method increasingly used by shipping companies to pass on supply chain risk, could hurt fledgling economies and prevent shippers from gaining a foothold in global markets," adds Alex von Stempel, Co-Director, Cool Logistics Resources.

From the hosts of the well-respected Cool Logistics Global event in Europe, now in its 4th year, Cool Logistics Africa 2012 runs from 24-26 April at the VineyardHotel in Cape Town. The event includes pre-conference site visit to two of South Africa’s leading packhouses, 2-day conference including networking reception hosted by Fruit South Africa, and optional 1-day post-conference operations and technology workshop.

For more information:
Holly Thompson
Communications & Research Assistant
Cool Logistics Resources Ltd
Tel: +44 20 8279 9403

Publication date: 3/1/2012


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