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"Growth in strawberries due to the focus lying more and more on taste"
Tulpin Group: specializing in fruit and vegetable air freight since 2000
This is very far from the Egyptian beans. Beans are a very sensitive product, that is why they are almost always transported via air."
Strawberries: the most important product
The most important product for the Tulpin group is strawberries. "The Egyptian strawberry season will begin in about three weeks. Beginning in the middle of November supermarkets are already trying to move in that direction and from the beginning of December until the end of January it is very busy. Some exporters even go all the way until the first week of March." According to Alain a lot of retailers have overlapping programs. "In the beginning of December the Dutch product is often too expensive and then you can't sell it all in England. Moroccan strawberries come onto the market in January. A lot comes from Morocco from January until February and then Spain begins again. In some countries Spain starts earlier if they are less critical than England when it comes to colour and ripeness. The strawberries that go to England are picture perfect." Along with strawberries, the Tulpin Group also transports other Egyptian products such as beans, peppers, grapes, zucchinis and various other vegetables. We also transport fruits and vegetables from other countries such as grapes from South Africa, grapes and blueberries from Chile and blackberries from Mexico."
Less strawberries from Jordan and Israel
Alain is seeing that the air freight of Egyptian strawberries is increasing. "The trail centres are focusing mainly on taste and less on durability. That is a huge advantage for us. On the other side we are seeing the share of vegetables stagnate. Many of the vegetables from Egypt are transported by container now." According to him less and less strawberries are coming from Jordan and Israel. "Israel has a quota of 5000 tons of strawberries that they are allowed to export to Europe, but they are exporting less and less. Last year they only sent 105 tons. On the one hand this is due to the fact that the strawberry greenhouses are now being used for vegetables for the Palestinians to grow; and also due to the fact that a lot has been bombed. On the other hand, interest in growing strawberries in Israel has waned. "This is because they would rather concentrate on growing avocados. It takes a lot less water to grow avocados than it does to grow strawberries. The amount of water that has to be used for strawberries does not outweigh the cost. It is much cheaper to do somewhere else. You see this happening with other products in these countries as well. They are being much more careful with water these days."
Active at ten airports
The Tulpin Group has been active since 1975. "We used to be the hard fruit exporter, but since 2000 we have specialized in air freight. The fruit export 'know-how' was converted to the logistics of fruit. We are the only logistical company that transports all it's fruits and vegetables via air." This Belgian enterprise can be found at ten different airports throughout Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands. They are active in Ostend, Brussels, Luik, Amsterdam, Maastricht, Cologne, Frankfurt, Hahn, Luxembourg and Leipzig. The freight's have final destinations in England, Ireland and the Netherlands.
Alain sees various developments in the fruit and vegetable sector and the logistical sector. "You see that European standards are being implemented in many countries, including in Africa, the Middle East and Asia, and that people are becoming more professional. This is why there is change of origin for some products. For example, for years we would easily transport 2000 tons of grapes from Egypt, now almost all the grapes are coming from India. The same story with blueberries: Argentina, Chile Peru, and more are all beginning to plant them."
He sees a change happening in the airline companies soon. "More and more pressure is coming from airline companies from the Middle East. They are buying more and more planes, and companies like KLM are getting smaller. In the coming years we are going to play more of a role at major airports. Fortunately we are already in the big cities, although it goes a bit slower there than it does at smaller airports. Before, the importer could influence where the plane would land; now, the exporter determines this. We are in Germany a lot because there is a lot of export there." According to Alain the biggest changes in air transport have already happened. "Another advantage for us is that large container ships are transporting slower and slower. One of the reasons for this is that they use less fuel if they go slow. They can also camouflage the number of container ships that are out at sea: if they go slower, it seems as if there are less ships."
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