In 2016 sees the 150 years anniversary of the Swire Group. Cold storage has been a core business of Swire Group since the beginning. When looking at the storable volume, Swire Group is the third largest cooled logistics company with over 50 storehouses around the world (US, Australia, Vietnam, Sri Lanka). In mainland China alone, there are 8 coldstores, 5 of which are operational. They are located in Shanghai, Langfang, Ningbo, Nanjing and Canton. 3 coldstores are under construction and will be operational in the first half of 2017 at the earliest.
As mainland China rapidly develops, consumer demands about food safety and quality become higher as well. At the same time, the Chinese agricultural industry grows too. In 2015, the total amount of fresh produce reached 700 million ton. How are such immense quantities delivered to the costumer without reducing quality or quantity? Cooled logistics is a vital part of this. The state in which products arrive at the costumer depends mostly on the benefits of cooled storage.
"Swire Group values the potential of the market in mainland China. Swire Group entered the Chinese market with cold storage in 2011. In the first three years, we focused on finding good locations and constructing coldstores. In 2014, the construction of the coldstore in Fengxian, a Shanghai district, was completed. This was the first Swire Group coldstore to go in use. It is a symbol of the formal development of Swire Group cooling industry in China," says Mr. Chen Lixiu, the inspector general for industry expansion of Swire Group.
Mr. Chen Lixiu speeching at the 2016 global cooling logistics summit meeting.
Swire Group's cooled storehouse in Shanghai
Coldstorage: Global, unified, standardised & high quality
In 1982, United States Cold Storage Inc. (now part of Swire Cold Chain Logistics) was one of the five biggest American cold storage companies with 35 coldstores in 12 states. Afterwards, Swire Group also constructed dozens of installations for cooled logistics in Australia, Vietnam, Sri Lanka and others. This provided coldstores, cooled transport and distribution services for international costumers like Unilever and Kraft.
Mr. Chen explains: "All the coldstores constructions in mainland China were designed and supervised by American and Australian engineers. They were built by Swire Group's globally unified standards. All cold stores are equipped with a 200mm floor of Polyisocyanurate and ammonia two-stage compression refrigeration system. The storehouses have 8 floors of deep shelves, so the capacity for cold storage is among the best of the world."
Fruit industry of Swire Cold Chain Logistics
Take the cold stores in Shanghai as an example. The cold store has 7 store rooms with a staggering total storage capacity of 50.000 pallets. The rooms can provide several climates with temperatures of -25°C to 15°C. The most interesting assets are a completely sealed-off docking platform and a 0°C to 4°C buffer room. "When the cooled truck reaches the Swire Group cols store, it goes to the sealed-off docking platform. When the fresh fruits or vegetables are taken out of the truck, they go straight to the 0°C-4°C buffer zone or to the storehouse or to the packaging and sorting. Afterwards they go straight to the cold store. On the other hand, taking products out of the cold store goes through a similar process. This kind of docking environment can ensure to the highest degree that the cooling is not interrupted at any time and the quality is protected. In the spring of 2015, cherries alone occupied 3000 pallets for Shanghai consumers. The selling quality was very good."
CCTV interviews Swire Cold Chain Logistics
The 0Â°C-4Â°C buffer zone
Accurate and efficient storehouse management
Swire Group partook in the development of the management systems of all its cooling installations. A standardised electronic data exchange system and the cold store management can be linked with the popular ERP system. The customer can also access these systems by phone or computer to check the state of delivery in real-time.
"We attempt to use more advanced and scientific storehouse management methods to replace human labor. This makes the whole cooling chain more accurate and efficient. The intake, delivery and storage of all goods at Swire Group pass through WMS (Warehouse Management System) and RF-strip scanning technology for management. The storage condition of any goods can be accessed in the blink of an eye with great accuracy. Looking for any product doesn't require any other human effort. Just swipe the bar code and you know the accurate location of the product. Moreover, we give our costumers a notification based on the preservation time and the storage time. That way we guarantee that the products can be sold with the best possible quality," says Mr. Chen
Continuously perfecting added value services
Apart from the cooled storage and management based on globally unified standards, the Swire Group is also perfecting the added value services for the varied demands of Chinese costumers.
Mr. Chen explains: "We provide added value services based on the needs of the customer, such as sorting, cargo allocation, packaging, labelling, simple processing, etc. At the same time we are consolidating third party logistics, providing effective logistics and delivery services to our costumers. In the future, as the import market expands, we may also provide the service of clearing goods at customs for the costumer. Then we bring the goods straight from the port to the cooled storehouse. The quality of the products will be protected even better."
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