A fresh future: reimagining Africa's perishables logistics
From airports playing a key role in building perishable hubs for the future to exploring new markets and opportunities to investments into upgrading cold chain and transport infrastructure for the perishables sector and the importance of adapting data and digitalisation into supply chains, the fourth edition of the 'Perishables Logistics Africa' held last week reimagined the perishable supply chain of Africa and focussed on its natural strengths and advantages
'Fresh Future- Logistics can make it happen' was the overriding theme of the discussions that were held during the fourth edition of the day-long 'Perishable Logistics Africa' event organized by Logistics Update Africa, a STAT Media Group publication in Nairobi, Kenya on November 24, 2022.
The presenting partner for the event was Brussels Airport, Kenya Airports Authority was the platinum sponsor and Saudia Cargo was the airline partner for the event. The event was also supported by Frankfurt Airport and Perishable Center Frankfurt, while the associate partner of the event was Astral Aviation.
The event also got support from local industry partners and associations like the Avocado Society of Kenya, Fresh Produce Consortium of Kenya or FPC Kenya, and Fresh Produce Exporters Association of Kenya(FPEAK) respectively.
There were presentations from Joash Mboga, Corporate Research Manager at Kenya Airports Authority (KAA), Roland Weil, VP, of Sales Cargo at Frankfurt Airport, Eric Gysen, VP of Air & Ground Services, Liege Aiport, and Sam Quintelier, Cargo Business Development Manager at Brussels Airport, who spoke about the future facing cargo strategies employed by their respective airports and about tailwinds in store for the cargo industry amidst current economic and geopolitical conditions and challenges therein.
The first panel discussion was on the topic, 'Cool ports and cold storages - building perishable hubs of the future', where panelists deliberated on how airports close to production centers could become centers of excellence in building cold chain infrastructure to support and import time-critical perishable products.
The panel discussion was followed by a presentation by Rainer Wittenfeld, MD of the Perishable Center Frankfurt about the opportunities and infrastructure existing at the company facility at Frankfurt International Airport which incidentally happens to be Europe's largest perishable center.
The second-panel discussion centered around the topic, 'Future is end-to-end cold chain logistics, underpinned by data and digitalisation', and discussed ways in which supply chains could now elevate their operations with network visibility, real-time data, and operate remotely. It also put forth the array of technology present to better predict and respond to change, improve cargo care and ensure maximum utilization of infrastructure and transport assets.
The second half of the day began with Brian Vander Mey, Director of Business Development and Partnerships at Aergility, exploring the advantages of using large-scale VTOL cargo drones and their use case in day-to-day logistics operations for the perishable logistics industry in Africa.
The third panel of the day highlighted the need for significant investments in cold chain infrastructure and transport assets in Africa. Through the topic, 'Investing to build infrastructure for perishable logistics of the future- sustainable and profitable', panelists discussed topics like automation, clean energy, refrigeration, and climate control technology, and how reliable reefer logistics and multimodal logistics network can be developed.
The final panel discussion of the day essentially deliberated on how the logistics industry can help the African fresh produce community to identify and discover new markets for their products and reduce wastage.