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Forward thinking in global reefer trades and cold chain integration

Article published in specialised press - by Rafael Llererna

Forward thinking in global reefer trades and cold chain integration

Recently started 21st century will be a challenging period with an effective globalization, a growing influence of internet, social media, and an accelerated climate change. All of it call producers and receivers, governments and forward thinkers all over the world for a synchronized action. Logistics and food logistics will be genuine trendsetters for the economy of the future.It is a fact, that existing economical uncertainties do not ease to predict what will happen next month, let alone several decades from now. Having said that, specialized logistic companies and their executives have traditionally identified very well existing and future bottle-necks and respective solutions, infrastructure or regulatory requirements.

It is therefore our task, as drivers of logistics groups, to explain authorities our views and vision, based on our experience delivering dry, fresh or frozen produce all over the globe.

As a matter of fact, said task is remarkably important, since governments still perceive logistics conceptually in a restrictive way, that is with the meaning of "goods to be transported".Some of them might add a partly broader understanding, by adding warehousing and special process solutions. Anyhow most of the legislative bodies do not link logistics to the macro-economic impact it has to the whole society. Needless to say that food or reefer logistics are specially sensitive to this lack of comprehension of the authorities.For example;European or US policy makers do structure regulatory incentives to leverage the sector's potential by completing the internal market for road or sea cabotage and/or rail freight : A much broader "multimodal mentality" that facilitates links (and smooth mode shift !) of transport systems and tackles, for example, road congestion by non-discriminatory measures (including private transport and not only trucks...). On the other hand, this required broader and forward thinking, has to be done in a global scale : Regional or local measures might be short or medium term solutions for specific problems, but it is not enough.

Climate change, together with poor, wrong or congested infrastructures (depending on its status in a variety of areas with its specific characteristics), plus the growing number of huge  onsumption centers (urban areas with enormous food logistics demands) lead necessarily for an action in global food logistics at the UN : A "Global Compromise Chart" in global reefer/food logistics is required.

Our politicians need to understand about the importance of logistics. This is reflected in some rather obvious facts, e.g. logistics sectors are bigger in the US or EU than automotive or others. Besides it and as regards to fresh and frozen logistics it fulfills already a vital backbone function in supporting macroeconomic processes and the operation of markets, critical infrastructures and provision to consumers. Will the authorities react to this ?

The 21st century is bringing an opportunity. We are forced to change. A broad discussion about logistics at the United Nations has to come. A "Global Compromise Chart" is a must.

Moreover, logistics companies will be the trendsetter for the economy. Concepts like sustainability, education and social responsibility shall be paramount in future developments. In the years to come, quality, price and trade mark will remain, though the environmental impact of products and services will play a key role. Growing demand of customers for "green" solutions calls the logistics industry for action together with governments. In fact companies and regulatory bodies will have to collaborate more often and more closely worldwide borders. But regulations need to be adapted by adequate decision, assited by experts and taking out unnecessary complexity.

Additionally, logistics has long been an utmost dynamic industry, adapting to new trends in hightech, including satellite navigation e-commerce, EDI, etc . In fact next generations will apply completely new business models and industrial processes It is in this light that the competitiveness of the entire world's food, fresh and frozen industries are increasingly dependent on logistics.

This will require a completely renewed mentality of regulators and politicians and a global compromise, to be reflected in cited "Global Compromise Chart".

by Rafael Llerena

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