In the beginning, growers were hesitant to use this packaging concept. Now, seven years later, several growers are working with it, benefiting from it, and some are even asking their buyers to invest in it. The concept in question is the Cargolite® packaging system, which among others, prevents boxes from crushing, increases pack rate, and has good air circulation between the boxes, which results in lower shipping costs and fresher flowers at the destination. Over the years, they expanded their range, showing good results in sea freight trials, and are now in the process of adding a new system and entering the Ecuadorian flower market. This is explained by Cargolite's CEO, John Kowarksy who will be exhibiting and presenting the concept at the IFTEX exhibition, from June 6-8, together with R&D Manager Amnon Zamir and Sales Manager Martin Kabaka.
John Kowarsky with Martin Kabaka (on the left picture) and Amnon Zamir (on the right picture) at the IFTF 2022 in Vijfhuizen.
More than just another carton
Cargolite is a packaging concept and not just another carton! The 45 Kenyan growers, who supply many foreign customers, notice more uniformity in the way packaging is done and how the pallets are built. "It takes some time and experience to get used to it, but in the end, it gives the growers "peace of mind" as they know how many cartons go on a pallet and that the movement of roses inside the box is minimized." And not only the growers, it serves all stakeholders in the logistics chain as the pallets are built in a way that boxes are not needed to be moved manually until reaching the destination, he continues.
Cargolite XL and Cargolite SF (sea freight).
"We are encouraging farms to build pallets 5 layers by 3 cartons, and 1,60 meters high, so that it can fit through the security scanner all at once, instead of putting it through manually one by one. Over the 7 years, everybody realizes that Cargolite has many benefits, savings, and minimizing claims is the result! I think the words "respect and discipline" summarizes it all; Cargolite has developed and created a packaging concept that enables the logistic chain to transport the farm's flowers most efficiently, providing the growers with very well-earned and deserved respect. We must not forget that growing cut flowers is a very high-risk business!"
Cargolite XL, 5 x 3 = 15 and 1.60 meters high.
And the improved logistics is also contributing to the peace of mind for growers. In conjunction with Signion, a new go-down was built in the cargo village at JKIA, which is very convenient", says Martin Kabaka." Now, after offloading boxes of flowers at the forwarders, the growers can send their trucks to pick up Cargolite packaging materials at the airport instead of "wading through" the congested roads of Nairobi's industrial area. It saves a lot of time, and everything runs more efficiently".
Cargolite concept in a sea freight container.
New cardboard frame
Currently, they have three systems in the assortment; Cargolite CL, the first version with the plastic frames that removes the vertical load of the cartons; Cargolite XL, the version with a cardboard frame inside the box that offers a higher pack rate per box and half Cargolite cartons, but for smaller quantities. Now, they are in the process of designing a frame outside the box of cardboard. "We noticed that some importers, like ASDA in the UK, for example, do not want to import any plastics - even though it is all recycled Kenyan product, and at the destination, the customer can recycle the plastics again - but some of the users want the good air circulation that the Cargolite CL offers. For this reason, we started to think of a frame made out of cardboard", explains Zamir.
Recycling of XL cartons.
And this new version, just like the Cargolite CL, is offering great potential for sea freight, Zamir continues. "We have done several trials with container shipments - which usually consist of flowers coming from different farms, so with different temperatures - and we saw that the flowers that were packed in the Cargolite system cooled down the fastest."
Shipping flowers via ocean is still in its initial stage in Kenya, but Kowarsky sees the demand increasing. And to further improve their performance in sea freight, Cargolite has partnered with Flower Watch, and together with leading parties in the industry, they are working towards an efficient and sustainable supply chain. "FlowerWatch is also very much involved with other primary stakeholders in Kenya, and together, these partnerships will enable better results when shipping cut flowers in reefers.
Carglite low pallet offloading.
Entering the Ecuadorian market
In 2021, the Cargolite concept was extensively tried in Ecuador, and since January 2022, it is fully commercial and available to local farms and international clients buying in Ecuador. Also, a go-down was set up in Tabacundo, Ecuador, last year, which supplies farms between Cayambe and Cotopaxi areas.
The first client to adopt the system in Ecuador was Agrotropic, a Swiss buyer who also uses the Cargolite boxes for exports from Kenya. Agrotropic were able to considerably reduce their airfreight cost, and furthermore, the farms were themselves able to save up to 1,5 cents per stem on packaging materials. This was achieved without compromising the quality of the flowers.
Now, more growers are expected to follow, but Kowarsky sees the same hesitance with Ecuadorian growers as with the Kenyan growers seven years ago when they introduced the product in Kenya. "We need to gain their trust, show them the results and the benefits. Once the importers and growers experience them, it will really take off."
Cargolite XL carton being lifted horizontally.
Eager to see the concept and meet the team? Cargolite will be displaying their concept at IFTEX 2023 from June 6-8 in Nairobi, Kenya.
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