"How should I react to the new European regulations on South African citrus?"

Unsettling news for South African exporters and European importers: the European Commission has decided to approve new regulations on the cold treatment requirements for South African citrus imports in the middle of their peak season. Exporters and importers all around the world have to quickly adapt to this new situation.

LogisticDocuments has published an interview with a procurement manager on this situation in a LinkedIn post.

"We decided to go to one of our oldest clients and especially to one of their most experienced users to interview him about this new situation. We sat with Gijsbert van Leeuwen, procurement manager at Olympic Fruit and asked him about the impact of this news and the usage of LogisticDocuments.com during these critical first days." 

"During our interview, Gijsbert mentioned three main impacts of the new regulation on his organization:

  • Difficulties finding supply: 'In South Africa, there are already a lot of challenges to overcome. With this additional one, South African exporters are deciding to go to markets with easier protocols.' 
  • Higher costs: 'Citrus now needs to be cooled off in the port, which means incurring different costs, among them, electricity, which is even more expensive now due to the latest increases in energy prices. Furthermore, extra paperwork and inspections have to be performed on both sides of the supplying chain, adding even more costs to the process.'
  • The final quality of the fruit is worse: 'Fruit will suffer more with this protocol, especially Navel oranges… so we will see more skin defects... Standards at supermarkets are very strict, so we have to repack a lot of these fruits and there is also more waste. Consequently, we see more Class 2 or 3 fruits.' As a result of this, the price of the Class 1 fruit will go up in order to average with the wasted fruit.

Fortunately, Gijsbert seems optimistic and provided some insights on how they are managing to reduce the impacts of the new EU regulations by using LogisticDocuments.com. He explained how the platform makes it easier to keep an overview of the operations and plan ahead: “For me, having LogisticDocuments.com integrated with my ERP (Enterprise Resource System) system makes it very easy to have an overview on the fruit that is arriving and in which week. We can easily trace our shipments and plan demand in advance. In the current situation we see that our expertise in the marketing of fruit in combination of a great logistics tool can help us to service our clients and add the value they expect from an expert.”

Gijsbert also mentions the benefits of automated track and trace in the current situation: “This is very helpful. From my experience with my former employer, where it was being done manually… and especially with transshipments there were big problems because sometimes just two out of the twenty containers on the vessel were being traced and after the transhipment was done, they did not realize that half of the containers were arriving later on another vessel.”

Overall: “LogisticDocuments.com is 100% on updating their ETA’s which saves me a lot of time and reduces mistakes like this”.

We ask Gijsbert about the risk added to the situation: ”When all the documents are sent and my logistics department gives the approval, I receive an automatic email saying that I can proceed with the advanced payment so the risk of paying not having all the documents is eliminated”.

His last thoughts on reacting to fast-changing circumstances such as the new EU regulations: “We are quicker and more effective, so we can react faster to the market circumstances and better help partners and customers, building more meaningful relationships. Overall, it makes a difference for us to be ahead of the competition. ”

It is vital for the affected parties to react as quickly as possible to an event which will vastly affect the supply chains of South African citrus going to Europe. 

For more information:
Christian Schouten / David van den Heuvel
Tel: +31 (0)180 61 70 11
Mobile: +31 (0)6 18 58 37 91 / +31 (0)6 29 70 38 65

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