Food safety is something that officials in the United States, as well as many other countries, are starting to pay more attention to. With many perishable items being shipped across the globe, it has become increasingly important for improved regulations when it comes to food transportation.
Using route optimization software is one way trucking fleets can make sure they don't let food get stale, but another method is investing in refrigerated equipment and facilities that ensure consumers get the healthiest food possible, according to Food Logistics.
Shipment of food has improved
The greater emphasis placed on food safety has forced a growing trend in the transportation of food. Firms are moving away from loading methods that include breakbulk cargo - shipping items in bulk using bags, boxes, crates, drums, barrels - and are shifting toward containers that are thought to keep food safer for consumers, reported the source.
"The movement has switched to about 80 percent containers, 20 percent breakbulk, wherein the past it was 80 percent breakbulk, 20 percent containers," William Duggan, vice president of refrigerated services for Maersk Line North America, told the website.
Refrigeration units lead to higher shipping costs
Investing in innovations to improve the safety of food has been causing trucking fleets to spend more money on refrigerated transport. These refrigerators bump up the energy costs, causing fleets to increase their reefer rates - an industry term for refrigerated carriers, reported the website.
"The container itself is roughly three to four times more expensive than a dry container and the maintenance and repair of a refrigerated container is also much higher," Vince Rankin, senior director of reefer trade for APL, told the source. "The container [either] requires electric power when it's in the terminal, or on a ship it requires a generator, which burns fuel when it’s being transported."
Better equipment can certainly improve the quality of food when it is being transported, but companies better be ready to shoulder higher prices. Fuel and electricity costs are sure to grow when shipping perishable cargo. But the effort will help fleets gain a better reputation in the industry because it demonstrates they care about the quality of their products.
Improved shipping leads to globalization
A recent Forbes article states, "the world's shipping industry has played an incredibly key role in transporting 90 percent of the world's food, products and energy," and this number is only expected to grow with better methods for shipping coming to the forefront. One key benefit of refrigerated and safe cargo is the ability to transport fresh food to impoverished and third-world countries.
"Without the effective container-shipping network, you can forget about Walmart, forget about globalization, and you can also forget about China being the global manufacturing center," said Gerry Wang, CEO of Seaspan Corp., according to Forbes.