The impact of the Corona virus is also significant in the import trade. "All employees who can work from home are doing so in our company. With the exception of the quality department, this is possible for almost everyone", says Michel Jansen of Total Produce Rotterdam. "The least you can do is monitor developments closely and put people's health first."
"A large part of our sales are exported within Europe. You can see that retail remains almost the only sales channel. Many open markets are being closed and the wholesale customers with sales to bars and restaurants will also have a very difficult time. I hope they will be able to bridge this period," says Michel.
"But there are also major concerns on the import side, especially for suppliers at a great distance. It is very difficult to make decisions about trade that will arrive in three or four weeks. We now see that in the preparation for the South African citrus season, among other things. There is widespread uncertainty," says Michel.
"At the moment we are not a major player in citrus, except for a few specific varieties. We do see that the demand for citrus continues to grow well. I also hear that the demand for long-lasting fruit and vegetables, such as potatoes, onions, cabbage and apples is very good. The consumer now has an extra eye for shelf life and health value. "
He sympathises with the supermarket organisations in these exceptional times. "People are busier than at Christmas, but those holidays are prepared for weeks in advance. This situation, however, requires short-term improvisation. I think that these organisations are under great pressure. Supermarket employees cannot stay at home and are therefore at greater risk of infection. It is very difficult to estimate how this will continue. "
"Provisioning the stores is not a problem for the time being. Although borders are being closed everywhere, the transport of foodstuffs is a top priority. This is evident from the exceptional position within the crucial occupational groups for the people who work in the food chain. to ensure supplies, given the high priority of food supply, I assume that our products will continue to find their way to consumers," Michel concludes.
Eric van Arendonk, Nature's Pride
"We see that all links in the chain are affected. Much is uncertain for suppliers and customers. Nature's Pride has formed a team that closely follows the developments and translates these directly into the organisation. The health of colleagues and continued good service for our customers and suppliers are paramount. For example, we moved all visits to and from Nature's Pride to after April 6," says Eric van Arendonk of Nature's Pride.
"The staff departments such as HR, Finance and Marketing have been working from home since Monday. The space that has been created is used by sales and purchasing, so that they always have an empty desk to the left and right of their desk. But also purchasing and sales are working from home where possible. Everyone keeps a minimum distance of 1.5 meters from each other in the packing department and canteen. Physical contact with our customers and suppliers will not be possible for a while. We keep in touch with them by mail, telephone and other means of communication. It is essential to keep each other well informed about the situation," Eric emphasises.
"The measures were implemented quickly so that the processes could run smoothly. It is great to see how modern means of communication help us to keep in touch with each other, both internally and with customers and suppliers," says Eric. "The consequences are particularly significant for wholesale and food service. Sales of a number of products are stagnating. Together with our customers and suppliers, we will make the best of it and look for creative solutions. We will do everything we can to continue to supply our customers and to serve our growers optimally. "