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Exporting citrus fruit requires a rigorously organised logistics chain

By Gad Barak, Logistics Manager at Mehadrin




Exporting citrus fruit requires a rigorously organised logistics chain

“ Israel features among the top citrus fruit exporters in the Mediterranean basin ”.
 

Gad Barak, Logistics Manager at Mehadrin (photo Mehadrin)







Israel features among the top citrus fruit exporters in the Mediterranean basin. With 120,000 tonnes exported every year, citrus fruit accounts for 66% of the total exports made from Israel by Mehadrin, the country’s largest grower and exporter.

Fruit and vegetables are transported by sea. In recent years, the transportation of perishable goods by sea has undergone considerable change.

In 2000, around 63% of the palletised produce was loaded onto conventional refrigerated vessels and 37% onto container ships. Today, 97% of the produce is shipped in refrigerated containers.

The export of agricultural commodities requires rigorous organisation of the logistics chain. Even more so when the country does not enjoy land-based connections with the markets it serves. It is necessary therefore to pay attention to the choice of packaging, the ventilation and the positioning of the boxes on the pallets.


A reliable, competitive and direct service

The choice of shipping line depends on several criteria. It must be able to offer a reliable service, at a competitive price, for the shortest transit time possible.

We prefer direct routes (transhipments must be avoided as much as possible). We must also ensure that the terminal responsible for preparing the container has the necessary professional skills. It must know how to correctly take delivery of the container. This entails rapid connection to a power supply at the quay side. The cargo handler must ensure that the container is plugged into a reefer socket as soon as it is loaded on board.

The packing station coordinates the haulage of the empty container with the road haulier. It must make sure that the container is clean, check its condition, its suitability for the journey, and the temperature parameters. It must also check that the volume of fresh air is correct for the type of fruit that is to be transported. It is necessary to ensure that the container is correctly packed (pack the pallets tightly together, avoid leaving any empty spaces, do not stack higher than the height restrictions, avoid blocking air flow), and to coordinate the container’s arrival with the customs broker.



Stimulate competition in shipping industry

It is better to choose a broker specialised in fruit and vegetables in order to avoid any delays, unnecessary expenditure or penalties, even once the produce has reached its destination. Clients must be informed of the departure date and the estimated date of the container’s arrival, so that they can quickly obtain information on the cargo and receive the original documents.

We should encourage the entry of new players into the shipping market. This would stimulate competition by developing destinations which are either as yet unserved or only served with very long transit times.

There remains a lot to do to improve logistics. Shipping lines should collaborate with container manufacturers, jointly investing in the research and development of good reasonably-priced containers offering container tracking, atmosphere control, and cold treatment.



Special issue : A new citrus route emerges in the Mediterranean

Special issue Econostrum.info in partnership with Medfel



Thursday, April 18th 2013



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