Can ocean freight deliver demand for higher quality perishable products?


Worry that the current cost structure of the shipping industry is forcing increasing inefficiency and risk in the cold chain, with the potential to compromise quality for the end customer, is spurring some perishables shippers to reach out to shipping lines to find better logistical solutions. This current concern about the ocean freighted perishables industry forms the backdrop of the annual ‘Great Reefer Debate’ at the 10th Anniversary edition of the Cool Logistics Global Conference & Exhibition in Antwerp, running from 2-4 October 2018.

Not only is there increased concern that refrigerated containers are so often not where they are needed, when they are needed, but there are increased reports of ships not sailing when they are scheduled to. Unacceptable delays are forcing more shippers to claim, and while some logistics service providers are developing new and better solutions, there is growing frustration that these are not always able to be utilised when ships are late.

What this will mean for the ocean freight cold chain is ultimately in the hands of all the parties involved. Can the industry work together to ensure better reliability? Can new sustainable technological solutions be adopted to deliver better quality perishable produce? Or is the maritime industry looking at a swing from fresh to frozen – and will airfreight carriers be the winners?

All these questions and more will be tackled on day 1 of Cool Logistics Global 2018. Ronald Veldman of industry analyst Seabury will set the scene in the morning by presenting an overview of just which perishable commodities are currently moving where and how. This insight will be followed by a thought-provoking speech from David Sussmann on how global warming and demographic trends relate to the seafood trade. Mr Sussmann is CEO of seafood supplier Seafoodia and Pure Océan, an initiative to support marine biodiversity and sustainability. He will also join with Chris Swartz, Director Global Transportation & Logistics Services at AJC International, Inc., the world’s largest non-processor provider of protein products, on the opening shipper panel.

AJC along with other shippers and retailers will raise topics such as transport capacity, cost implications of environmental shipping regulations including the Sulphur Emission Control Areas (SECA), disruption as a function of new technologies, retail cost pressures and implications of e-commerce.

The afternoon is dedicated to reefer shipping, technology and trade facilitation, including a focused look at port logistics and the potential of digitilisation to improve container access. The debate between Craig Moore, Head of Supply Chain at DP World London Gateway and Tineke Van de Voorde, Coordinator Trade Facilitation at Port of Antwerp, plus more to be announced, will look at achieving greater supply chain transparency, facilitating perishable trade flows and implications for future cold chain investment, among other topics.

Speakers announced so far for ‘The Great Reefer Debate’, which also takes place in the afternoon of day 1, 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. Topics will range from reefer box access and whether or not there really is a box shortage, to delays and transshipment, rolled boxes and specialised reefer shipping.

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 high level debate, the conference on 3-4 October, plus technology workshop on 2 October, will cover issues including the latest trends in reefer logistics, shipping and handling, 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. The exhibition will highlight latest services and technologies for shippers of temperature-controlled cargoes.

Key sponsors include the Port of Antwerp, Emerson Climate Technologies, Fruit Logistica, Kuehne + Nagel, Seacube, ValenciaPort, DP World London Gateway, Kloosterboer, Neutral Air Partner, ONE Europe (Ocean Network Express), Ocean X, Seaco and Visbeen. A growing list of exhibitors include Emerson Climate Technologies, Hamburg Süd, Hapag-Lloyd and Kuehne + Nagel.

The full 3-day workshop and conference programme can be viewed at

Delegates can book to attend the full event, 2-day conference only or 1-day workshop only at