Transporting Perishable Goods

When transporting perishable goods, it is very important to plan. You need to know:
 your customers/supplier specifications and requirements
 your produce shelf life and perishability
 the quality system of your chosen transport companies ( truck, rail, vessel, planes)
 the ideal temperature environment for the product
 your customer’s/supplier’s transport preference
the implication of the incoterm(s) used in the contract(s)
the process and cost for inspections, licences, permits, etc..

Before transporting you need to:
 have quality procedures for handling fresh produce
 know of the produce shelf life and perishability
advise all parties through the entire transport chain the ideal temperature environment for the product
 assess the costing carefully and do your logistics homework.

As part of your logistics homework you need to decide if the perishables are going by sea or by air by comparing time and cost trade-offs. In both scenarios you will need to check the different route options and find the shortest possible route/transit time, get quotes from the freight forwarders, analyse the number of movements of the goods and calculate the total journey time (door to door).
In choosing your logistics partner, make sure you:
 ask for their ability to track and trace the cargo
 ensure they have all the necessary equipment (( room, etc..)
 understand the cold chain management
find out who they have on the ground overseas in case of a problem.

You also need to carefully assess your packing options which can be:
in cartons
poly boxes
 loose
 insulated boxes
wet/dry ice
gel, insulated
refrigerated containers.
Tap into your industry Association resources, ask your freight forwarder and investigate packaging manufacturers to find out the most up to date options.
Your packaging options should make it easy to display labels, numbers, marks and handling instructions. Of course, make sure the labelling is in the right language.
By definition, perishable cargo are any cargo where the initial state or availability can deteriorate under the influence of temperature or humidity changes and delays in shipment.
The type of packaging must be good enough to protect the product from :
temperature changes
 pressure changes
 moisture
 rough movements during transport
various climate conditions during transit
 water tight and water resistant
 protects goods from spills, leaks & bad odours
is able to withstand reasonable stacking without collapsing
 has adequate insulation to prevent or reduce the transfer of heat through the container walls.