ANTWERP, Belgium: Shipping is entering a very difficult phase, with ongoing amalgamation, fewer large scale customers and less competition on a global scale. The result is that logistics services are under huge pressure to deliver services on time and to shippers’ satisfaction. Vessels are less punctual than ever and, as a result, perishable shippers are facing increasing costs and risks.
While the scope of solutions is restricted by a fundamental imbalance of power between shipping lines and a growing majority of perishable shippers that is suffering in silence, there are opportunities presented by new technologies to improve logistics solutions for perishable cargo. The crux of this industry-wide problem faced on a global scale, plus the potential solutions to improve services, will form the heart of the debate at this year’s special 10th anniversary Cool Logistics Conference.
Eric Legros of CMA CGM will deliver a keynote speech entitled ‘Shipping or Shopping: The Big Squeeze?’ to explore the current conflict between the increasing trend towards bigger ships and slow steaming and other cost pressures on the carriers such as higher fuel costs and the growing end consumer demand for faster and more regular service. Can e-commerce demand for further convenience be reconciled with the current state of shipping? What can be done to improve the reliability of delivering high quality perishable products from farm to fork?
Also joining this debate is Nigel Jenney, CEO of the UK-based Fresh Produce Consortium, who represents a large body of perishable importers and exporters with wide-ranging concerns for the current and future status of the industry. Perishable shippers are worried about rising logistics costs and risk, not only because of the state of the shipping industry but also owing to the impact of Brexit. Shippers will be keen to know exactly how new technologies can reduce the risk they face.
However, there may be a further solution on the horizon. Along with technological solutions to lengthen the time that perishable products can remain at sea without quality deterioration, there is a chance that a new competitor could provide a new dynamic in the market. While there is less competition between shipping lines, competition could come soon from the improved rail link on the busiest trade route worldwide between the Far East and Europe. Prof. Hercules Haralambides will share his insights with delegates on the road and rail option that could add another string to the shippers’ bow. The renowned professor from the Maritime Economics & Logistics at Erasmus University Rotterdam will discuss the impact of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) also known as the Economic Silk Road linking the main Eurasian countries by rail, road and sea on perishable trades.
With the USA opting for protectionist trade policies, China is looking for more reliable trade partners in Europe, and with manufacturing in China heading further inland, the rail link to Europe provides an increasingly feasible option. While the Russian trade embargo is a current obstacle, pressure to relax the policy is mounting and some commentators now foresee a softening of this position.
Other topics to be debated at the event include the latest developments in reefer logistics, shipping, intermodality, infrastructure and distribution planning, the intelligent reefer unit, logistics opportunities in fresh value projects financed by the World Bank Group, blockchain, IoT and other smart technologies for the cold chain, a look at the global airfreight supply chain and more. Speakers confirmed include Anne Sophie, Zerlang Karlsen, Global Head of Reefer Management, Maersk Line, Ted Prince, Executive Vice President and COO at Tiger Cool Express LLC, Yntze Buitenwerf, CEO, Seatrade Group, Chris Swartz, Director Global Transportation & Logistics Services AJC International Inc, and Nigel Webster, Vice President, Reefers at BEACON Intermodal Leasing LLC.
Cool Logistics Global, the annual conference and exhibition for perishables shipping and logistics people, will seek once more to tackle the most important issues facing the global cold chain industry. Bringing key executives together for a high level debate, the technology workshop on 2 October is followed by a 2-day conference on 3-4 October. The exhibition will highlight latest services and technologies for shippers of temperature-controlled cargoes.
The full 3-day workshop and conference programme can be viewed here.
Delegates can book to attend the full event, 2-day conference only or 1-day workshop only here.
10th Cool Logistics Global
2-4 October 2018