Kuehne+Nagel Brussels (Zaventem)
Kuehne+Nagel had not been active in the logistics of perishables in Belgium previous to this. Jan: "Nobody was really doing it and they didn't have the knowledge or the people. I know the sector and saw what was being done here, which was when I started talking to Kuehne+Nagel. The volumes became very large and it was a good opportunity for Kuehne+Nagel to do it themselves. It also became a commercial necessity to keep the logistics picture internal. I came here this year to take on the perishables part of business. It was built up gradually. First the infrastructure, then the people, so that we can offer a good service. We are ready, we can now supply what the customer demands."
"Kuehne+Nagel Belgium is strong in air and sea transport. We have a number of locations here and are strongly represented in the contract logistics in Belgium, among which 3pl and 4pl activities. The last two investments in this country were in Luik and Zaventem Airport, where two large storage places were opened for perishables. This is still, for the most part, flowers but we will transport increasing amount of fruit and vegetables for Belgian and French customers, both import and export, over the next few years. We collaborate a lot with Holland, and so plan to extend our network. The perishables that come into Belgium at the moment are mainly intended for Holland, but more will arrive for Belgium and France."
Large logistics web
"For fruit and vegetables it is very important that the supply and processing lines are as short as possible. The only possibility to ensuring this is by forming a collaboration with trading agents in both airports who are first line there and try to create our own first line warehouse there. We managed to do this and now we have 24/7 access, including a FAVV inspection post. Effectively, we are very close to the planes. At the moment the shares of flowers is still 95%. Fruit and vegetables are slowly increasing. Our main advantage compared to the competition is our own trucking network in which we have good connections everywhere. All our locations in Holland and Belgium are closely linked through our logistics 'web' and we also have a worldwide network. We use KNFreshChain to get everything to the customer as fast and a freshly as possible."
According to Jan a light increase in the use of air transport is visible. "Of course people are switching to reefer, but the reality is that a lot air transport is also used if a product has to get there on time due to a failed harvest or poor planning. Our share of sea transport is a lot larger here. Once we organise everything in the area of perishables in the airports, we will extend the reefers in Antwerp. First we need to get the air transport going, then we can gradually get the reefer activities 'in house'. We are going to put Kuehne+Nagel Belgium right on the map in terms of perishables logistics. We won't stop at air transport, but offer complete concept from A to Z."
Speed is of the essence
According to Jan airlines welcome fruit and vegetables. "Little can go wrong, but it has to be done quickly. We guarantee that all products arrive at the customer within a certain amount of hours, as this completely depends on the destination and transit. Of course we try to deliver everything as quickly as possible. We keep the declaration and handling time as short as possible during departure and arrival. And this all at a competitive price. So far customers have responded very positively, some are still a little reserved, as we are too. We were slightly too late to get more at the beginning of the season, and a lot of companies are starting with us after the first peak. We want to offer our customers a complete concept with the right price/quality ratio. We are always looking for the best solution and keep the lines short. We have the cold chain in our own hands and the links in between have to be removed as much as possible."
"Kuehne+Nagel is active worldwide, but the perishables representation in West Africa is still a blind spot. So the Keuhne+Nagel group wasn't strong there, but this will change. We want to develop the market there further. We are also collaborating with Dutch colleagues, so that we can supply more of that West African market to our Belgian, Dutch and French customers," concludes Jan.