Airfreight must improve service quality if it is to minimise the impact of customers with perishable goods switching to seafreight.
Kuehne & Nagel's global business development manager for perishables logistics, Natasha Solano, said that over the last few years there had been a trend for perishable cargo to transfer over to ocean transport.
She said this was partly down to the reduced cost of using ocean transport — on a Columbia-Europe service flower transport costs are reduced by 40% — environmental concerns and also shipping lines opening new routes serving perishable-producing markets.
However, it was also because of improvements in refrigerated sea container technology which mean that temperature fluctuations during transport were greatly reduced.
The temperature of goods when being flown tended to be more volatile than shipping because of the number of times it is handled, she explained.
In contrast to seafreight, where goods are loaded into a container at an early stage in the supply chain and then not generally handled again until delivery, airfreight goods are exposed every time they are loaded and unloaded onto trucks and aircraft.
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