The following topics were deemed to be the most relevant presented and discussed at the conference –
1. Tackling the issue of Global Food Waste.
Global Food Loss Waste (FLW) is an important topic due to the extent of food that is wasted annually. It has been reported that 24% of all food totalling 1.3bn tons worth USD1trillion is wasted around the world each year. The FLW is contributing 3.3 to 5.6 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere each year. Countries around the world are implemented regulations to control food waste and to minimise the extent of the problem. There are also initiatives being looked at to ensure all eligible food can be reused instead of disposing of it.
2. Maersk (and Safmarine) launched the Reefer Container Remote Control Management (RCM).
Maersk Lines and Safmarine are due to launch the RCM technology during the 1st quarter of 2017. The technology permits the line and/or customers to remotely monitor and manage temperature settings, temperature recordings and probe readings, power supply and location mapping. The technology will deliver live data. The technology has been rolled out over a period of 5 years and units fitted to 270,000 of Maersk and Safmarine reefer units. A web based software program has been designed to allow customers to interact with the container in order to apply these options. A short overview of the capabilities of the technology was given by Catja Hjorth Rasmussen, Head of Remote Container Management at Maersk Lines. The impression was given that Maersk will allow customers to take ownership of the cold chain when the container is assigned to when the cargo is unpacked. I asked the question how Maersk will deal with the issue of claims should customers be permitted to download sensitive temperature data from the system, in the case where it can be identified that the line or container caused a condition in which the customer incurred losses (of whatever nature this may be). Catja replied that Maersk has dealt with this specific aspect and believe that partnerships with customers in reefer management is the preferred way forward. Maersk South Africa will role out the RCM technology in the 1st quarter 2017. In discussion with Catja I referred to the recent assessment of the in-transit cold treatment containers undertaken by the Citrus Growers. I pointed out that the RCM technology will be helpful in managing the technical requirements by monitoring and maintaining the probe temperatures, and especially the DAT and Power off events. For the time being Maersk will be the only container line to offer RCM technology, but it is believed that other lines will follow in the coming years. There were a few stands at the conference in which companies were displaying various RCM technology as well as live temperature data devices capable of transmitting live temperature data to customers. It is understood that some of the lines will adopt RCM technology which will permit the live recording of the reefer units energy consumption, the energy consumption can be recorded for the duration of a shipment. In future there is the possibility that reefer charges could be based on the specific voyage energy consumption by a single unit. This type of technology will over time provide many other uses over and above what has been described. Certainly the RCM technology is a major advancement in cold chain management.
3. Reefer Containers and Energy Management at Container Terminals
Jan-Eyk Spohler from Siemens AG gave a very interesting overview of the energy demands of reefer containers through a study conducted at the container terminal in the port of Valencia, Spain. The study showed that depending on the number of units stored at container terminals, the energy demand from reefer containers can represent up to 50% of the energy consumption at container terminals. Another interesting but more serious and concerning issue is study revealed that in some cases where there are a high volume of reefers being stored at container terminals, there could be power failures incurring at the reefer banks when there are high demands. This is a result of Kw demands exceeding the available supply. Jan-Eyk suggested that terminals implement a series of power banks in the reefer yards. The purpose of this will permit terminals to manage power supply more effectively. If a power failure is incurred it will be isolated to a particular power bank and not across the entire reefer area. There was a lot of debate around this particular topic with a few notable concerns raised –
a. Are container terminals and in particular transhipment ports cutting power to reefer containers with the intention of reducing energy costs?
b. It was pointed out by Catja Hjorth Rasmussen that the RCM data has indicated notable concerns regarding power off of reefer containers at some of the major ports. Maersk are collecting data on this in order to implement corrective action at terminals that show power off trends.
c. The RCM technology will deter terminals from cutting power supply to reefers or to place better emphasis on reefer management as the power off feed will be live and monitored by Maersk. The RCM technology will permit Maersk technical department to report power off to staff positioned at terminals around the globe. Corrective action can be implemented timeously where power has been cut to a reefer container longer than 30 – 60 min or any identified criteria.
d. I pointed out that in the case of Transnet Port Terminals (TPT) there was no current systematic way of identifying critical control temperature units or for a power off event to be detected systematically. The reefer yards are monitored manually be staff who often overlook power off events and particularly to manage the critical control temperature reefer units. I mentioned that Fruit SA have recently met with TPT and there will be a process of development whereby systems will be developed to manged this aspect more effectively. I pointed out that terminals across the globe need to develop systems to manage reefer containers more effectively. This is necessary to maintain cargo temperature so that control temperature shipments do not deviate from temperature protocols. In some cases cold chain disruption can also lead to product waste.
All the presentations can be obtained from the following link: http://coollogisticsresources.com/global/thank-you/
In conclusion I believe that Fruit South Africa should send a delegate to attend the Cool Logistics Global Conference each year. It is important that a presentation is given from a South African point of view and that the South African fruit sector is represented at the conference.
Visit to Fresh Park Venlo, Venlo Netherlands
The purpose of the visit to Fresh Park Venlo was to obtain a first-hand view of the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) development in operation. In South Africa the SEZ policy has been finalized with key areas identified to develop SEZ’s. The agricultural sector stands to gain by creating Agri parks in identified SEZ areas. The Agri parks can be created to offer a multitude of supporting services to the agri sector, specifically in the area of logistics. Fresh Park Venlo is a prime example of how the SEZ can be developed to support the agri sector in a specific area. This example should be replicated in South Africa. In my view agri parks should be considered for Polokwane, Gauteng and Cape Town. It is suggested that Fruit South Africa engage with the provincial governments of Limpopo, Gauteng and Western Cape to drive the Agri park agenda in South Africa. South African and the Netherlands should create a cooperative agreement to steer the Agri Park and SEZ development in South Africa. The Netherlands have tried and tested practice in the development of the Agri parks that South Africa can learn from. More information can be obtained from the following link: http://www.freshparkvenlo.nl/en/fresh-park-venlo/