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Perishables are an important and growing part of the airfreight market, participants told the Cool Logistics conference. Tom Mikkelsen,

managing for 15% of director

of Marine Harvest Terminal in Norway, estimates that it now accounts


and the proportion is increasing, whatever may be said about some traffics diverting to ocean. Norway will ship 60-70,000 kilos of salmon this year – around 70% of all the country’s airfreight -and the total will probably reach 100,000kg in a few years’ time. In fact, the whole salmon farming industry is dependent on airfreight, which has been essential in helping producers in Norway, Scotland and the Faroes find major new markets overseas, especially in Asia. Worldwide, around a million

tonnes of salmon will be airfreighted this year, and the figure is still growing by around 5-10% a year, Mikkelsen estimates. A lot of meat is also airfreighted,

along with pharmaceuticals, although that tends to be regarded as a separate traffic from perishables these days, he says. Furthermore, added Thomas

Rohrmeir, Luſthansa Cargo’s regional manager for the Netherlands and Luxembourg,

there are many airfreight markets today which only have upliſt because of perishables traffic. He agrees that pharma these days is regarded largely as a separate market by the airlines: “Vegetables and fruit are all

about speed and cost per kilo” and, importantly, “no one dies of it goes wrong” - unless maybe an errant logistics manager has heart failure. But in pharma “there are much lower volumes and zero tolerance of failure.” There is also an important non-

food component, notably fresh flowers, and quite a large chunk of these are exports out of Europe, chiefly Holland. An incredible 34 million roses are flown every year, and in fact in terms of individual items these are the top perishable airfreighted commodity. So far, no one has come up with technology that allows roses to be moved by ocean, although seafreight does work for some other cut flowers including carnations. Air will still be important

for many types of perishable, because some cannot be sent by sea over long distances, however sophisticated the reefer technology. That includes “any fruit with a stone in it – they’re very hard to keep fresh in a reefer container – along with

The GPS alternative

There are alternatives to GPS for temperature monitoring, says Phillip Ruda, group UK sales manager at IMC. The IMC Group, through its Silvertree Engineering business offers the Icespy System5, which uses sensors – known as ‘Scouts’ – inserted inside vehicles or containers which can be periodically downloaded by ‘Bridge’ units at predetermined points, typically a distribution centre or a loading dock that the vehicle visits regularly. “It takes the human element out

of downloading data, and it can be done anywhere that the vehicle is stationary,” Ruda explains. Unlike GPS, there are no ongoing

data transmission costs, which can mount up to, typically, £100 per vehicle per year, or GPS contract charges of around £45 a year. In applications where the vehicle

cannot be guaranteed to visit a specific location – for example a fleet of shipping or rail containers - and download into a bridge unit, there is iSense, which uses the mobile

phone network to download data at set intervals. This is still cheaper than GPS and the system will also send an instant alarm if there is a temperature ‘excursion’. Batteries in the Scout units last

typically 3-4 years but can go up to five, and the robustness of the units has increased dramatically and will withstand pressure-washing. “I’ve been in the wireless industry for 12 years and not only has the hardware and soſtware improved immensely but prices have come down – to the extent that they are lower today in money terms than they were ten years ago,” Ruda comments. A basic Scout units costs £125+VAT and a bridge unit from around £300.

151915 Aer Lingus Junior 250x178.indd 1

almost any fresh flowers.” The list also includes fruit and veg that don’t take kindly to being frozen, such as green beans, cherries, strawberries and capsicums. Another attraction of perishables

for the airlines is that it is a relatively steady traffic. Between 2006 and 2012, a period when ‘dry’ airfreight volumes have surged wildly up and down, perishables airfreight has grown steadily from 2.6m tonnes

to 3.1mt – not spectacular, perhaps, but growth nonetheless and a traffic that carriers and forwarders can depend on. Most of the growth, though, is

not on the well-established trade lanes of Africa to Europe or South America to Europe but in emerging markets - for instance, from Amsterdam to the Middle East. The market is also changing in other respects. Less and less

Issue 6 2012

33 Fruit and veg: an essential part of the diet for air carriers

business is handled by auctions as more product is sold direct to end customers and delivered direct to their distribution centres. The big supermarket chains tend to have fixed contracts with producers. Electronic documentation

would show more benefits in this sector of the market than many others,

documentation customs

Rohrmeir added. “Lost like

paperwork, certificates of origin

and so on are one of the biggest time-wasters,” he said. More attention should also be

paid to handling methods and how cargoes were delivered to the airline. Most exporters in fact still delivered fruit and veg loose to the airport and pallets and containers then had to be built up in non- temperature-controlled conditions - “it’s like going back 50 years,” he said.

On time. On temperature.

On every day of the year.

To and from the USA, the Irish way. Choose Aer Lingus Cargo, and you’re choosing Ireland’s airfreight specialists in the USA. Our flights are always direct and our service is always reliable. So let us take care of your goods, and your reputation will take care of itself.

17/10/2012 11:38

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