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Rungis wholesalers still not yet ready to collaborate on logistics


What view do the retailers and wholesalers of Rungis International Market take of the downstream sharing of the means of transporting fruit and vegetables? In a sector ruled by intense competition, individual interests take precedence, even if it means trucks travelling half empty!



In the fruit and vegetable sector, the client-product relationship takes precedence over any issues relating to operational optimization.  (Photo Rungis International Market)
In the fruit and vegetable sector, the client-product relationship takes precedence over any issues relating to operational optimization. (Photo Rungis International Market)
Seeing, touching, bargaining… The buyer needs to move around Rungis International Market. This rules out any initiatives relating to shared transport, or entrusting the act of purchasing to a third party. At Rungis, where more than 1,200 businesses work side by side and handle 1.5 million tons of fruit and vegetables every year, it seems logical to imagine that some wholesalers might have thought about the upstream or downstream sharing of logistics operations. But this is not the case. 

"These companies operate in a fiercely competitive market. For them to work together, their future would have to depend on it. The origin of this reluctance is more psychological than commercial ", explains Abdoulaye Sembene.

Associate Director of MutuaLOG, in 2009 he co-wrote with Thierry Jouenne, a teacher at the CNAM, a report entitled, Logistique mutualisée: la filière « fruits et légumes » du Marché d’Intérêt National de Rungis ("Shared logistics: the fruit and vegetable sector of Rungis International Market").  This voluminous document, consisting of nearly 200 pages, presents an in-depth study of practices relating to transport and logistics.

"In the fruit and vegetable sector, the client-product relationship takes precedence over any issues relating to operational optimization that could bring economic and environmental benefits, and the sharing of logistics constitutes the ultimate solution," say the authors.



A lack of logistical maturity

At Rungis, 11% of wholesalers employ a logistics manager and 33% employ a quality manager. (Photo Rungis International Market)
At Rungis, 11% of wholesalers employ a logistics manager and 33% employ a quality manager. (Photo Rungis International Market)
Four years after the publication of this report, we asked the authors if environmental, regulatory and economic constraints had prompted companies to engage in any shared logistics operations. "The theoretical elements are the same. We produced a good basis for cooperation. The follow-up was disappointing because most parties did not want to go any further", observes Abdoulaye Sembene.

The sharing of operations requires a certain logistical maturity based on integrated information systems that use GS1 international standards for the identification of products and packages. However, the study revealed that only 33% of retailers had computers. These are mainly shopkeepers, so it is not surprising that the logistics side of operations is under-represented.

At Rungis, 11% of wholesalers employ a logistics manager and 33% employ a quality manager.

"10% of wholesalers at Rungis say they have collaborated with other wholesalers on logistics issues but none have shared their logistics resources with other operators", emphasizes the study carried out under the aegis of the Pôle Interministériel de Prospective et d’Anticipation des Mutations Economiques (PIPAME) (Interministerial Centre for the Forecasting and Anticipation of Economic Change).

Only regulatory measures or financial incentives would affect behaviours that are still largely dominated by logistics optimization at the individual level.


Special issue : The fruit and vegetable sector is ready to share resources

Special issue Econostrum.info in partnership with Medfel


Nathalie Bureau du Colombier, MARSEILLE


Tuesday, April 23rd 2013



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