As a result of the corona crisis, hardly any flights are currently operating. Normally, a large portion of freight is transported as lower deck cargo via passenger aircraft. As a result, the shortage of air freight capacity is a major problem for importers and exporters of fruit and vegetables. In some cases this has lead to significant adjustments in logistics chains. For example, exporters have successfully organised trial shipments of Dutch peppers to the United States by ship in collaboration with Wim Rodenburg of GroentenFruit Huis.
"Where air freight is usually chosen for the transport of peppers to the US, sea freight is now also being seriously considered," says Daco Sol, program manager Logistics, Supervision & Supply Chain of GroentenFruit Huis. "It is great that there is experience with other pathways and results from previous research for this product. "
Companies and organisations in the port consider where work processes can be adjusted to keep them feasible. "This is of course very important for perishable products such as fruit and vegetables," says Sol. Fortunately, alternative procedures are also offered for supporting freight documents. It should become matter of fact to be able to exchange freight documents via secure connections. We would welcome it if these developments were to be accelerated due to the current situation, especially now that physical contact should be avoided. "
Normally when importing fruit and vegetables by sea freight, original documents are sent separately by air, for example phytosanitary declarations that indicate that a load of fruit or vegetables is free from certain diseases or pest insects. However, because aviation flows were not functioning properly due to the coronavirus, the original documents did not arrive in time for the inspections. Fortunately, a temporary procedure based on certificate copies has made it workable again. The European Commission has agreed to this and has determined that this modified working method may be used temporarily upon entering the EU. However, the importer must be able to provide the original certificates afterwards.
Source: Port of Rotterdam