PUM experts to develop sea freight export strategy

Trade promotion body, ZimTrade, is hosting two senior PUM experts in horticulture and cold chain logistics on a 10-day scoping and technical assistance visit aimed at increasing the use of sea freight over air freight by Zimbabwe’s fresh produce exporters.

ZimTrade acting CEO, Allan Majuru, said that this transition to sea freight is both an economic and environmental imperative.

“Mr Harry Surminski and Mr Carel van Ooosterzee bring with them decades of experience in horticulture and cold chain logistics in the Netherlands. Their experience is in the European hub for fresh produce, which is a key destination for Zimbabwe’s producers, especially of peas and blueberries.

“We are confident that by interacting with a cross section of stakeholders in Zimbabwe’s fresh produce value chain, the PUM experts can begin to formulate a best-practice plan that will see our fresh produce exporters going green, and greatly improving on their bottom lines,” said Majuru.

Cold chain logistics is a highly technical and precise business, where any mistakes along the chain from field to consumer can result in huge losses.

Van Oosterzee, who said their initial focus will be on ensuring peas are exported using sea freight to Europe, said that if done well, cold chain sea freight from Zimbabwe to Europe can compete with air freight despite taking at least 25 days.

“If the produce can be kept at a consistent temperature without fail, then the consumer would not notice the difference in freshness between sea and air freighted
peas. Air freight is also subject to temperature fluctuations if not done well, so the two can be equal,” he said.

According to Van Oosterzee, the goal is to ensure a consistent supply of reliably fresh produce. Key to achieving this will be getting producers to work together to send large, cost effective consignments via sea freight, among other challenges.

Zimbabwe’s floriculturists, who have throughput for up to 12 months a year, could play an important role in ensuring a stable base to ensure full consignments even as other produce comes in and out of season. During their time in Zimbabwe the PUM experts will meet with numerous farmers, logistics companies and policymakers to discuss this transition.

The visit is the result of a 2016 MoU signed between ZimTrade and PUM under which ZimTrade facilitates the visit of Dutch senior experts to consult with Zimbabwean companies in the horticulture, manufacturing and logistics sectors with a view to improving the quality and competitiveness of Zimbabwe’s exports.

Source:Business Weekly 24 August 2018

Publish Date: Friday 31 August 2018



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