By Paula Stefan
An interview with Rafael Llerena, CEO at Easyfresh and expert in global reefer logistics.
Ports are a key component of the cold chain, which is, generally, rather fragmented. Ports concentrate a number of players, like shipping lines, customs and sanitary authorities, container terminals, coldstores, hauliers, etc and those must be coordinated for the smooth & fast transit of perishables through the port facilities. All ports, even specialized or consolidated “reefer ports”, could do better when it comes to improving said synchrony.
Please tell us something about the importance of a “reefer cluster” and reefer or perishable logistics to overall business at a Port, anywhere in the world ?
Complexity needs to be managed with a “reefer mentality”, but with a “common mind”, at least, as much as possible. Items like, 24/7 dedication, efficient documentary procedures and information to ultimate customers are paramount for developments. It is advisable to form local “reefer desks” or “reefer clusters” by those operators involved, to maximize the port turnover in reefer trades and to improve the port’s reputation within the international reefer industry. Another relevant fact is a fluent communication flow between origin and destination of the goods. Producers and fresh produce receivers demand it.
We know Easyfresh is the only world’s global and neutral reefer logistics supplier. How could ports take advantage of Easyfresh expertise.
Over the years we have been successful in providing complete reefer logistics solutions to our wide range of customers, being producers, fresh or frozen goods receivers or retailers, located all around the globe.. Subsequently our clients’ goods “touch” several ports of the world. Likewise we lead or advise in specific “reefer projects” to certain port authorities, terminal or coldstore operators.
What do you consider as a key advantage of a specific Port to gain market share in reefer trades.
A customer focus is paramount. And hereby we mean the shippers’ together or combined with the receivers’ needs, regardless of their location. This comes with the real understanding of the international reefer market, its dynamics and trends ; that is the known “reefer or fresh mentality” in a broad and commercial way.
Please outline some of the special facilities available for handling reefer goods in the port?
We.have witnessed a growing containerisation of the perishable traffics globally. The high costs of the reefer equipment and its inland transportation recommends to have supportive facilities to load or empty the units quickly. It’d allow the shortest equipment turnaround for shipping lines and lower inland costs to clients, besides other value added services. Therefore bonded coldstores at container terminals could well be an utmost interesting facility for ports willing to seriously develop reefer trades. Nevertheless, there are a number of cases of big failures, since, for example, the most modern facility has not been supported by efficient health or customs procedures.
What plans do you recommend to ports to develop their volumes of reefer cargo?
Reefer trades are changing. New routes and production & consumption areas are appearing in fruit, vegetables, seafood, meat, poultry etc.. “Classic reefer traffics” are not as significant as they used to be. On top of that, the relevance of the retailers and the concentration of shipping lines : These are points to be taken in consideration in those individual per Port “Action Plans” , that need to be issued and monitored by the respective Port Managements.
It is all about generating enough business, manageable in a realistic and viable way. Reefer trades are an integral part of the shipping world ; food will be always eaten… .So we, as business & reefer people, believe in “business- and “reefer-friendly” policies.