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Chris Harris, Communication Director of SFH

"Spain: "Shipments to Southampton will leave every nine days"

- A year ago, representatives of the Port of Southampton contacted the Port of Almeria. What can you say now that the project is about to become a reality?

- That's right, it has been a year now. Since then, representatives of SFH have visited Almeria several times and have contacted several fruit and vegetable exporters and port-logistics operators, who have helped giving shape to what is going to be the new transport service we are implementing.

- What are the characteristics of the transport service between the ports of Almeria and Southampton which has been proposed?

- Since December 2012, we have been working on studying the viability of the shipment of fruits and vegetables, on pallets, in refrigerated ships from the Port of Almeria to Southampton, in southern England. Thanks to the work meetings held in Almeria with logistics operators and fruit and vegetable traders we managed to check in situ what the potential was for this new transport line, which should be very similar to the one which has already been in operation for a few years between the Canary Islands and Southampton.

- What are those similarities?

- In Almeria, SFH offers an integral transport service. Transit times between Almeria and Southampton are stable and the service has a regular schedule of departures all year round. This is to say, every 9 days a ship is expected to leave Almeria bound for Southampton. The ships we are using for this line are new generation refrigerated ships, with a capacity for 2,000 pallets. The pallets are loaded by the port operator J. Ronco, a company with a lot of experience in the transport, management and storage of all kinds of products. Once it arrives in Southampton, the ship is unloaded by SFH's personnel and the fruit is distributed to its final destinations. I would like to stress that the cold chain is maintained at all times.

- What advantages does SFH offer to Almeria's exporters?

- SFH offers plenty of experience in the management, storage and shipment of perishable products. Our terminal is located within the port's facilities. It is a well-equipped modern terminal, with very professional staff. The terminal has a total surface of 14,000 square metres. For years, fruit and vegetables from all over the world have entered the United Kingdom through our terminal.

- And now that this new line is becoming a reality, could you mention the advantages it offers compared to other transport alternatives?

- Of course. There are plenty of advantages, taking into account that SFH has been operating in the distribution of perishables in the UK for decades, which ensures good relationships with British importers and distribution chains. I would also highlight our prices, which are fixed for the entire season and do not depend on seasonality. Southampton's terminal can become a consolidated loading platform for Almeria's traders, regardless of whether they use the maritime transport we propose or not. 


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