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Thread: Supply Chain

  1. #1

    Supply Chain

    Why some plastic packaging is necessary to prevent food waste and protect the environment

    There has been a surge in awareness of the damage that plastic pollution does to our planet in recent years. It has spurred a number of campaigns to remove single-use plastics from our daily lives. This extends to food packaging, with a Waitrose supermarket in the city of Oxford recently launching a package-free trial.

    Food supply chains are complex networks with lots of parts. In Europe alone, 12m farms produce agricultural products which are processed by around 300,000 food and drink companies. These are then distributed by 2.8m food retailers and food services, serving around 500m consumers.

    Plastic packaging is used in the food supply chain because it supports the safe distribution of food over long distances and minimises food waste by keeping food fresh for longer. A 2016 review of studies on food waste found that 88m tonnes of food is wasted every year in the EU—that's 173kg per person and equals about 20% of food produced. Minimising this wastage is crucial for environmental protection, as well as food security.

    More than 50% of food waste takes place in households and nearly 20% is wasted during processing.

    Plastic packaging maintains food quality and safety. Food that is naturally wrapped in its own skin and can be safely transported and consumed without the need for single-use plastic packaging often draws attention. But research shows that these products appear to be sustainable only where short food supply chains exist. When food is transported from further away, as a lot is, plastic can play an important role in protecting it from becoming waste.

    Simply removing plastic from food packaging is not as sustainable as one might think. There are lots of cases where plastic packaging can be beneficial at reducing waste. But food sellers need to think of ways to reduce and reuse the plastic where possible.

    To reduce the amount of plastic that is needed, short food supply chains must be developed, as this involves very few intermediaries between where the food is farmed and where it is bought and consumed. It may mean switching to more seasonal diets. Farmers' markets, community-based growers and basket delivery systems helps connect consumers to where their food is produced in ways that can also help reduce food packaging and waste.

    The challenge here is how it can be scaled up in ways that are economically feasible. Most sellers will have economic concerns that influence how they use plastic. It is often not just used for preservation but for marketing and the desire of retails to get people to buy more (think multipacks), which can lead to waste.

    Another solution is to develop a more circular economic model where plastic is reused and recycled a lot more. This makes economic as well as environmental sense.

    Work is also being done into new, bio-based packaging that can perform the same role as conventional plastic in terms of protecting food and preventing food waste—and could also be biodegradable. But a lot of questions remain as to whether bio-based plastics are actually sustainable in the long term, especially if vast amounts of resources are needed to produce them.

  2. #2
    Supply Chains and Geopolitics

    The U.S. imposition of tariffs on China threatens to disrupt the supply chains of American businesses that may not fully recognize their dependence on Chinese products. Discussions around supply chains have sometimes included reference to geopolitics, primarily in terms of tensions between countries. But the connection is deeper. Supply chains are both inherently geopolitical and critical to how geopolitics understands the world.

    The global supply chain is, by its nature, enormously complex. It is also very difficult to create an abstract model of it because it is completely heterogeneous. Dissimilar things with utterly different histories are in constant motion. Whereas financial transfers are frequently abstract, without a physical dimension, the supply chain is inherently physical.

    The immediate challenge to this model is the internet. But even that is a very physical thing. The cloud is a vast array of servers, located in a particular place, using physical entities that are manufactured and delivered to the site, and delivering its product through vast networks of physical fiber to other physical servers and then on to the user. The fastest way to take out the internet is not through cyberwar but with missiles targeting server farms. Transmission of any sort is a physical event. It can be interdicted.

    The U.S. move is an undifferentiated strike on the Chinese economy. The Chinese response is that they don’t need to counter such a strike and that an alternative will inevitably emerge. The very process of imposing a higher price on Chinese goods disrupts the supply chain on which U.S. business has become dependent. In other words, the tariffs will be borne by the United States in the form of increased costs to its supply chain and to consumers. Now the question becomes who – the U.S. or China – will bear more of the pain caused by the United States through damage done to businesses dependent on Chinese components of their supply chain.

    The issue touches on internal pressures in both countries and each country’s strategic fears about the other. The U.S. attempt to impose pre-emptive pain on China is a valid tactic if the byproduct becomes too great for China to bear – something that will become clear by watching the political process in each county.

    Each country’s ability to tolerate the pain is dependent on whether an alternative supply chain is available or can be rapidly found. The problem is that, in general, the greater the value of a product, the more complex its fabrication and the more specialized the supply chain. The rapid evolution to a new system of sourcing or a new product set being produced without these components is likely difficult to achieve at a cost rivaling the tariffs.

  3. #3
    Study suggests shoppers want green packaging, but don't want to pay for it

    While nearly 90 per cent of respondents believed plastic packaging should be switched to green alternatives, they don't want to pay for it.

    Only about 38 per cent of respondents were willing to pay more for items with biodegradable packaging and about 83 per cent said they would not be willing to pay more than a 2.5 per cent premium.

    That is part of the reason why manufacturers may be reluctant to switch to greener packaging or to debut any product without plastic materials, said Charlebois.

    He said many of the food industry startups he mentors consider using compostable or biodegradable packaging, only to learn it would raise their price at wholesale by at least 15 to 20 per cent.

    "Which actually could make them uncompetitive," he said, adding it's unlikely consumers would pay that packaging premium.

  4. #4
    Smart Packaging Solutions: Use of slip sheets results in logistic advantages

    The fresh produce sector is faced with major logistical challenges. After the harvest, the fruit and vegetable products are supposed to be packed right away. To steer the incoming and outgoing logistics of all these packages in the right direction, slip sheets are increasingly used. These are special, solid cardboard sheets that ensure a faster, more (cost) efficient and environmentally friendly logistical process compared to traditional pallets.

    “The use of slip sheets results in logistic advantages. Because slip sheets require a minimum amount of space, the loading volume of the lorry increases by as much as ten per cent. That results in savings on transport costs. Besides, the solid cardboard sheets are much cheaper: by using a slip sheets instead of pallets, you can save up to 80 per cent in material costs. Moreover, because ten pallets equal 100 slip sheets, the transport material requires a lot less storage space,” according to Smart Packaging Solutions.

    To apply a slip sheets, a push-pull attachment is required, which can easily be attached to a regular fork-lift truck. This system grabs the slip sheets by the projecting edge and lifts the loads unto the forks of the fork-lift truck.

  5. #5
    A big collaboration on shipping and innovation

    This week on IBM Blockchain Pulse, your host, Matt Hooper, is exploring some of the most innovative and exciting trends in supply chain that he’s come across!

    In this episode, Matt and Daniel discuss Maersk and TradeLens in-depth. They talk about what shipping and innovation look like today, give their predictions about what the industry may look like 10+ years from now, how TradeLens came to fruition, and how blockchain records all the shipping data. Daniel also talks about his TradeLens roadmap, Maersk’s ecosystem strategy, and how he originally became interested in blockchain!

  6. #6
    IBM, Maersk’s Blockchain Platform TradeLens Is Shipping to Russia

    A blockchain-powered platform built by IBM and Maersk and designed to facilitate international trade is to launch in Russia.

    According to a June 6 news release from Maersk, the Danish shipping and logistics giant, agreement has been reached with Russian authorities for the TradeLens platform to operate in the country, starting with a pilot project alongside the country’s primary container gateway, the port of St. Petersburg.

    TradeLens allows container logistics industry participants to have a shared view of shipping transaction data, with member firms acting as nodes to support the blockchain system. With the move into Russia, Maersk said the project aims to facilitate interactions between shippers and regulatory and administrative entities in the country, “ultimately increasing the speed of cargo clearance and movement of goods across borders.”

    The agreement enables the entry of TradeLens into the Russian market, with the aim of introducing digital documentation flow in what are currently largely paper-based shipping industry processes.

    TradeLens will bring “full transparency of cargo moves, while enabling seamless, secure sharing of real-time actionable supply chain information to all involved participants,” said Mike White, CEO and head of TradeLens for Maersk GTD.

  7. #7
    IBM, Azerbaijan's customs committee to use blockchain for cargo transportation

    IBM Corporation and Azerbaijan’s State Customs Committee will team up to bring blockchain technology to its customs procedures, according to media outlet Trend News Agency.

    The deal will reportedly see the two parties sign a memorandum, with plans to incorporate blockchain technology in cargo transportation.

    “It will be possible to obtain the necessary information from the database online, without outside interference,” Mehdiyev said, noting that the technology will help both entrepreneurs and customs authorities provide quality customs services.

    Cointelegraph noted that the latest initiative may be a part of a reported deal of IBM and the Central Bank of Azerbaijan last October 2018 that aims to see implement blockchain in different areas within a 5-year plan.

    The use of blockchain in customs and shipping procedures appears to become a source of interest even by companies. Just recently Mediterranean Shipping Co. (MSC) and CMA CGM, two of the world’s biggest container shipping firms, are set to join TradeLens, the blockchain-based digital shipping platform developed by Maersk and IBM.

  8. #8
    IBM, Walmart to pilot blockchain network for prescription drug traceability

    IBM, KPMG, Merck and Walmart are teaming up to create a proof-of-concept blockchain network in partnership with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The aim of the pilot program -- which is tied to the US Drug Supply Chain Security Act (DSCSA) -- is to help the FDA and other organizations in the drug supply chain in developing a blockchain network to identify and trace the distribution of prescription drugs.

    Using this proposed blockchain network, the companies hope to address multiple gaps in the current drug supply chain process, including the time it takes to track and trace inventory, the accuracy of data shared among members of the supply network, and the integrity of products in the distribution chain.

    "Blockchain could provide an important new approach to further improving trust in the biopharmaceutical supply chain," said Mark Treshock, IBM's global solutions leader for Blockchain in Healthcare & Life Sciences. "We believe this is an ideal use for the technology because it can not only provide an audit trail that tracks drugs within the supply chain; it can track who has shared data and with whom, without revealing the data itself. Blockchain has the potential to transform how pharmaceutical data is controlled, managed, shared and acted upon throughout the lifetime history of a drug."

  9. #9
    Europe’s divided approach to China

    According to Lothar Thoma, M&M Militzer & Munch ceo, there “is little chance for European logistics companies in China directly”. He added: “Opportunities present themselves in those countries where China is not yet, or only scarcely, active. We profit from these opportunities in Kazakhstan and in Central Asia, for instance.”

    Militzer & Munch also observed that there is a shift of decision-makers in the global logistics market. “Today, logistics is mostly decided upon in Europe and the USA,” explained Thoma, but “in the future these decisions will come increasingly from China, as big Chinese enterprises are gradually conquering the world market and developing their own supply chains.”

    China also joined the World Road Transport Union’s (IRU) TIR system, an agreement that shaves off numerous border control checks and red tape regulations, in January 2019. A Chinese truck can now drive from the Chinese border to Western Europe in as little as 13 days.

    Capitalising on this, Ceva Logistics is starting a regular trucking service between China and Europe. One of its first shipments – 70 cu m of garments – arrived in Spain 16 days after departing from South China. The truck travelled via Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus, Poland, Germany and France.

  10. #10
    Shipping Company Maersk to Return to Arctic Northern Sea Route This Summer

    Danish shipping operator Maersk is exploring the possibility of sending cargo along Russia's Northern Sea Route this summer. It is currently discussing a cooperation with Atomflot, the country's primary operator of icebreakers.

  11. #11

  12. #12
    Italtrans inaugurates new logistic hub

    Italtrans' new logistic hub, set to become one of the most important on a national level, was inaugurated on 7th June 2019 at Calcio (Bergamo), near the A35 Brescia-Bergamo-Milano highway. The facility covers 150 thousand sq m within a 350 thousand sq m area and employs 630 people.

  13. #13
    AgroFresh and Zest Labs partner on sales solutions for global markets

    AgroFresh Solutions, Inc., a major player in produce freshness solutions, and Zest Labs, Inc., an AgTech company modernizing the post-harvest fresh food supply chain, have announced a new partnership.

    AgroFresh says it will incorporate Zest Labs’ Zest Fresh solution into its FreshCloud Transit Insights platform.

    AgroFresh’s FreshCloud platform is a data-backed, insights-driven solution for monitoring produce quality through the supply chain. With this technology, the platform predicts produce freshness, quality and optimal consumption timing.

    Meanwhile, AgroFresh calls Zest Fresh the post-harvest freshness management solution for today’s produce industry. It adds that Zest Fresh not only meets the industry’s freshness needs but also monitors the grower’s processes.

    AgroFresh emphasizes that it has decades of experience concerning produce freshness. Due to this expertise, it says it helps its customers preserve freshness, extend peak ripeness, maximize yield and ultimately, prevent food waste.

    It believes Zest Fresh can complement its platform by providing analytics and freshness management expertise. AgroFresh notes this, in turn, will strengthen the visibility of key freshness metrics through distribution.

  14. #14
    The Multitank reusable storage and transport IBC container features an integrated plastic pallet with removable foot plugs, a discharge hole, pressure relief valve, watertight and airtight gaskets, an RFID place holder, and multiple labeling spaces. Watertight and airtight, the container is food-contact approved. Optional aseptic or liner bags and anti-elevation nets are available.

  15. #15
    Netherlands: Transport service to France launched

    As of Monday 17 June, Freight Line Europe will offer conditioned transport to and from France, in addition to their existing activities in the UK.

  16. #16
    Amazon expands air cargo fleet with 15 more planes, will have 70 planes by 2021

    Following news from earlier this month that FedEx was dumping Amazon from its air cargo service, Amazon this morning announced the expansion of its own air delivery network, Amazon Air. The retailer says it’s leasing an additional fifteen Boeing 737-800 cargo aircraft from partner GE Capital Aviation Services (GECAS). These will join the five Boeing 737-800’s already leased from GECAS, announced earlier this year. The aircraft will fly out of over 20 U.S. air gateways in the Amazon Air network.

    In addition, Amazon says it will open more air facilities in 2019, including at Fort Worth Alliance Airport, Wilmington Air Park, and Chicago Rockford International Airport. Meanwhile, the main Air Hub at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport will open in 2021.

  17. #17
    Easyfresh partners with CoolRail in the Valencia-Rotterdam reefer train link

    A refrigerated rail service between Valencia in Spain and Rotterdam in the Netherlands is operational since May 2019. Fred Lessing, manager of the collective shippers group Cool Rail and his team presented it yesterday in Valencia

    Refrigerated food such as fruits and vegetables form a large portion of cargo moved between Spain and the north-west of Europe. Germany is the largest market, receiving 100 thousand containers from Valencia per year. Another 60 thousand containers are shipped to the UK, while 44 thousand units reach the Netherlands. Especially oranges and tangerines are moved in large volumes, making up 45, respectively 42 per cent of all refrigerated freight on this route.

    A rail freight link connecting these fruit and vegetable markets has been missing, inspiring Cool Rail in the past to investigate the potential of a dedicated freight train on this corridor. Initiated by Dutch fruit and vegetable wholesaler Bakker Barendrecht and reusable packaging specialists Euro Pool System (EPS), the group of shippers and stakeholders has experimented with the service since October 2016. "The currently 4.032 trucks traveling per road every year can be substituted by 100 fully loaded round trips by train. This can be scaled up to 250 fully loaded rounds trips a year later, resulting in a CO2 reduction of seventy to ninety per cent", said Lessing.

    Three weekly round trips, which should be increased to a daily service between Valencia and Rotterdam as the demand increases, have been the starting point. "We need more shippers in order to realise a daily frequency", said Lessing.

    One of the bottlenecks on the corridor is the varying maximum train length in Spain, as the network does not permit trains carrying more than 32 containers. Anyhow, combinations with Barcelona and other technical options at the French-Spanish border are in place and improving the service potential.

  18. #18
    Economical storage tents for profesional use

    Do you need semi-permanent storage space without a building permit? Then a Kroftman storage tent is a perfect alternative to a steel storage building. Available as standard in various widths, lengths and heights, there is always a storage tent for your application.

    These industrial quality storage tents are among other things used for storing vehicles, machines and other heavy equipment. The overhead clearance of the foil door takes this into account.

  19. #19
    Nature's packaging is compostable. Why should ours be any different?

    TIPA addresses the issue of flexible plastic waste by developing solutions that emulate nature's already perfect packaging. Just as an orange peel protects its contents and once opened, the degradation process is expedited, TIPA’s packaging protects and secures its contents and only breaks down once placed under composting conditions.

  20. #20
    Traceable Supply Chains: The New Dinner Party Discussion (Part 1)

    One of the most arresting takeaways from the conference was the claim that by 2029 there can be nothing but a zero-waste supply chain.

    It’s becoming clear that companies are beginning to think of their supply chains in terms of the triple bottom line. Consumers now understand the impact that their purchasing behaviour has on the planet. As such, it’s no longer enough to ensure that supply chains are fast and efficient. Businesses now need to consider social, environmental and ethical factors if they are to avoid haemorrhaging new generations of customers.

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