The global maritime logistics are facing difficulties. Reefer container supply remains currently tight. Adequate equipment rotation is suffering the lower schedule reliability generated by the constant delays and known port congestions. Ekaterina Fefelova, Organization Coordinator at the global logistics company Easyfresh, gives us insights into what’s happening and how the situation might evolve in the coming weeks.
“It’s difficult to answer what the real problem in the logistics is. When it comes to perishables we know that the cold chain is fragmented and door-to-door solutions are not always workable. To me the cold chain players are somehow ‘conservative’ and want to take control of a part of the logistics. On many occasions it works, on many other it doesn’t. We therefore seek proactively alternative solutions to minimize those problems of our customers while they focus on their produce. Food retailers are very keen to trace global door-to-door logistics solutions that can be put in practice when a specific season kicks off. Afterwards, those retailers want to implement quickly and smoothly a new logistic connection to source from another origin. For instance, a Northern Hemisphere to Southern Hemisphere season shift among others,” says Ekaterina Fefelova.
“There are more and more origins and more and more destinations or consumption points, meaning that the ‘logistics matrix’ is more complex and requires local and global expertise. Supermarkets and food retailers like to work with Easyfresh more and more worldwide. Our concept fits in their ‘logistics equation’!”
Given the difficulties in finding reefer containers, Easyfresh, as a specialised 3PLs is finding alternatives for its customers. “For example, Adriatic vs NWC ports for a German or Central European based customer and/or short sea/rail/road combined solutions with our own 45RF fleet”, says Ekaterina Fefelova.
“If a container with pineapples from Costa Rica has to wait for the feeder vessel to Norway or Ireland at quayside Rotterdam or Antwerp, then we x-dock and ‘free’ and give back the unit to the line by emptying it at our Dutch cold store premises and loading the cargo to our 45 RF unit. So we offer a viable and faster alternative to the receiver of those fruits. Likewise our colleagues in Easyfresh Iberia are offering similar solutions for intra-Europe fresh produce trade, primarily Spain and Portugal to Scandinavia and Ireland, in the latter case together with our colleagues at our sister company Easyfresh Ireland LTD.”
On the other hand, cargo is also moving to airfreight. “We see that happening progressively. Subsequently we recently created EasyAir, a new division under the Easyfresh umbrella. The smaller gap between known very high sea freight costs and airfreight is leading to a partial shift of some products. There are a number of limitations, as for instance, regular flights globally. Having said that, we are noticing increased airfreight liftings in some areas.”
According to Ekaterina: “Bottlenecks are here to stay for a long while, though probably at a lesser extent, once the effects of the ‘Covid-rebound’ are over. We are investing in facilities and solutions like a cold store in Moerdijk, The Netherlands, a site that will be a game- changer and led by FrigoBreda, co-owners of Easyfresh. Moreover, we do believe we need to invest in talent. Consequently, we have and are developing programs with various international Universities and implementing training sessions, internships, etc.. There is a clear lack of good expertise within the reefer shipping and logistics market and logically, we have to take action accordingly.”
“On the other hand, I can add that we are seeing in general how shipped volumes are going up, not only in fruit and vegetables, but in other reefer cargoes, such as seafood, etc. where we are also involved. For example, and very remarkably, our colleagues in Easyfresh Chile and other South American colleagues (Ecuador, Brazil, etc) or in Asia, are having excellent developments in these other areas. In other words, we are able to help worldwide, in 220 countries and territories with a specialized focus, under the reputable and registered Easyfresh brand.”