An exciting Fruit Logistica finally took place again in Berlin this week. While the scale was a little smaller, space between stands a bit wider, some halls a bit less crowded, it still was a big event, bringing the perishable world together in one place, after more than 2 years and almost mask free. 

Having been one of the last big industry fairs in February 2020, Fruit Logistica was reduced to online interactions, only now finally having a real life event again. The perishable world as usual is a very broad one and the fair covers everything from land machinery, growers, traders, packaging technology, materials to logistics, thus an overwhelming range to bring fresh products to our tables. 

Most of China and parts of Asia remained missing this time and many of the muslim countries were only there with skeleton staff (as the new date fell into the middle of Ramadan), some Latin Americans abstained as contracts for this season were already signed in March. Yet a big crowd (my guesstimate would be 60-70% of the usual 60,000+), did show up, many of them deciding last minute and final numbers still to be announced by the organisers.

Whilst actually there was not that much „new“ to talk about, except for the supply chain mess, the lack of boxes, slots and the horrible schedule integrity and the impact of the war in Ukraine, it just felt great to meet a lot of people again. Business partners that have not shook hands and looked into their non-virtual eyes for too long. Reacting to exceptional situations, has almost become the norm, “In solving today’s perishable challenges, over 62% of shipments are affected by some form of deviation versus initial plan,” as Diego Barriga of FoodcarePlus put it. 

On the shipping side, the action was as usual in halls 25 & 26, as well as around the Logistics Hub, which was again hosted by Alexander von Stempel, an institution in the perishable industry. 

On the first day, it was Drewry’s Philip Gray who was kicking off the conference with a great overview on the Reefer Market (some of his slides with interesting figures attached). He confirmed that there are enough boxes (albeit maybe not in the right place), there are more than enough plugs on vessels (albeit maybe occupied by better paying dry cargo) but all maybe in the hands of too few carriers now (Top 5 now controlling 2/3 of the reefer market). 

Most of those carriers also found their way to Berlin, with MSC and Maersk also presenting. MSC thereby being interesting to note, presenting themselves as „Shipping & Logistics“ on their stand and in their presentation, highlighting the terminal and logistics arms, which both grew big but in stealth mode so far. Maersk’s Bruce Marshall focused on outlining why they need to invest more in the cold supply chain end to end,  take over more tasks, to solve pain points for the customers. – A fair visitor from Kenya summed it up nicely, those carriers will become „governments“ if they want to control everything and service will deteriorate. 

On Thursday, after a great presentation on perishable supply chain crisis management by Andy Connell, our Ruben Huber had the pleasure to join the stage at the logistics Hub introducing OceanX and its members, talking about digital transformation, trends in the industry, shipping data, carrier strategies and introducing some network case studies, like Food Consols of our Good Logistics Turkey and Veritrans in Thailand, or the Tomato project of our member Naviroc in Morocco, followed by an interesting discussion with the audience. (A recording of the session will be available shortly.) 

See you in Berlin again 2023! 

About OceanX

OceanX is a non – exclusive global network of leading ocean freight providers and NVOCCs dedicated to delivering bespoke innovative solutions, in particular on FCL services, LCL consolidation, dangerous goods and chemical logistics, temperature control, as well as project cargo handling.

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