Cool Chain

CCA conference hears that data sharing pilot shows benefits of transparency to cool chain

Cool Chain Association (CCA) members last week shared temperature data from perishable consignments moving from Latin America to the Middle East, piloting a new scheme aimed at improving the supply chain and tackling food loss.

Five pallets of berries and avocados, were monitored from Guadalajara, in Mexico, to delivery in Kuwait, using loggers powered by secure Near Field Communication (NFC) technology.

Partners for the pilot included Cargolux, Able Freight, AirFrance KLM, SmartCAE and Xtreme Technologies.

“This has never been done before,” said Edwin Kalischnig, outgoing secretary general of the CCA and CEO of Xtreme Technologies, which provided the NFC loggers used in the pilot, working with Avery Dennison.

“Once we identify gaps, we can look at where we can improve, and that is how change happens.

“Establishing trust is important and I hope that together we make an impact, and this is the beginning of a journey towards less food waste.”

Temperature movements, including excursions, revealed by the pilot data will be analysed by Philippe Schuler, food waste campaigner with Too Good To Go, a free smartphone app which enables users to buy leftover food at the end of the day from retailers.

He presented preliminary findings with Edwin Kalischnig at the CCA’s Perishables Conference at Fresh Park Venlo, The Netherlands, yesterday.

“Forty percent of the food transported around the world [air, ocean, land] needs refrigeration and 20 percent of food loss is caused by a breakdown in the cool chain,” said Schuler.

“If you have the common objective of reducing food waste, you can achieve it, but we are not transparent across the cool chain and accountability is a problem.

“The CCA project is a starting point, and as we get more data, we will be able to be more scientific and look to develop best practices and solutions.”

Three NFC loggers were placed in an aircraft lower deck pallet during last week’s pilot scheme to measure the temperature at the top, bottom, and in the middle of each consignment.

Schuler and Kalischnig suggested data collected during the program could be analysed in the context of a metric called Degree-Hours, which takes temperature and time into consideration to give an absolute figure against which consignments on a given journey can be measured.

“This opens up a new way of working, where we are not pinpointing the excursion, but looking at the journey as a whole and developing solutions,” said Eric Mauroux, director verticals & global head of perishable at Air France KLM Martinair Cargo, and CCA treasurer.

“When we talk about data sharing, often people approach it from the angle of transparency.In fact, it is also having an understanding that data creates value and it is up to each part of the cool chain to understand the value it brings to them.

“That could mean developing an adapted offer, or complying, or introducing traceability or increasing shelf life, for example.”

Andrea Gruber, head of special cargo at the International Air Transport Association (IATA) spoke to delegates about IATA’s new industry certification – CEIV Fresh during the two-day event, which brought together members from across the cool supply chain to network and share best practice.

She said IATA was looking forward to continuing to get feedback, share ideas and work with the CCA as it develops CEIV Fresh.

“We have due diligence as an industry to make sure we can improve on reducing product loss in the cool supply chain,” she said. “The CCA project is a good example of bringing everyone involved in perishable business together to find solutions.

“To ensure transparency a change of mindset is needed for all of us. Let us all be very honest and not hypocritical as an industry so that we can work towards improvements and reliable partnerships.”

The CCA’s data sharing program is part of a focus by the group to deliver tangible benefits to members and to the industry to help drive improvements.

“Let us be the change,” said Stavros Evangelakakis, chairman of the CCAand global product manager healthcare and perishables, Cargolux. “If you really believe what you are doing and you want to be part of the change, do it, don’t wait for anyone.”

The CCA will hold its next event, with a focus on the Pharmaceutical sector, in Paris, France in Septmember.