The insatiable requirement for perishable goods around the globe, has led to new business opportunities for carriers and forwarders in some regions of the world that could be described as unexpected amongst the air cargo community.  However unexpected these opportunities are, it is a great sign for an inevitably growing sector.

Even with the rapid expansion of perishable freight, and the technology that goes with it, there have been several issues raised throughout the industry that cannot be ignored.  An example is the use of sea freight for shipping perishable goods.

In a bid to reduce fuel consumption, many freight liners now cruise at a lower speed.  With that only increasing the already inherent difference in speed between sea and air freight, concerns about whether sea freight is the best option have been raised several times.  That said, technologies and techniques for thermal control are improving all the time.

There are several ways, if you are shipping perishable goods, to mitigate some of the concerns raised by many freight forwarders. Follow our list and make sure you stay ahead of the game.

Proper Labelling is Crucial

As in any sector, making sure you have labelled your cargo correctly is absolutely necessary when shipping perishable goods.  Not only does it help keep you organised when sending precious cargo, it helps anyone in the process of loading or unloading your perishable goods throughout the supply chain process.

The longer perishable products take to be delivered, the more likely the quality is to deteriorate, so perishables should be delivered in a timely manner.  Correct labelling helps everyone on the distribution line, and will help to ensure fresh produce at the far end.

Place Coolants on the Top & Bottom

With more food products being shipped, and often over longer distances, shippers and carriers alike are looking for ways to prevent spoilage along the way.  First and foremost is temperature control.

One of the best ways to combat the thermal regulation issue is to research the technology that will be cooling or warming your cargo before you get ready to ship.  Reefer, pallet cover and insulation technologies are constantly being augmented and revised.

Be Sure to Comply with all Regulations

This may seem obvious to any forwarder, but making sure you are up to date with all of the regulations surrounding perishable goods being shipped is vital to a smooth distribution process.

Forwarding regulations regarding perishable goods have changed a lot in the last few years, so making sure you know exactly what you can and cannot do is vital.  For example, being aware that dry ice is now classified under dangerous goods could save you a lot of money and legal.

Pack Carefully

Making sure that you pack your cargo correctly will help ensure your perishable goods arrive intact.  A tightly packed container may seem to be the efficient options, but one with just enough room for perishable goods to breathe and move slightly will mean fresher goods upon arrival.

Your goods could be in transit for up to 72 hours, depending on how you send them, so ensuring that they aren’t already perishing on there way to their destination is essential.

Matt Dailly, Editor, FORWARDER magazine