Logistics must be digitized to combat food waste

August 1, 2022
4 minutes
reading time
"The global food market is under pressure," says Shypple CEO Jarell Habets

"Wageningen University & Research (WUR) estimates 40% of all food produced is lost. Food waste happens everywhere."

"Most innovation is done to prevent waste during harvesting or to avoid having to throw away end products. Like with companies such as TooGoodToGo, which pairs consumers with food that's almost reached its expiration date."

"So, there's innovation at the beginning and end of the chain, but very little in the middle. There's still much to be gained in storage and transportation. In Southeast Asia and Africa, quite a lot of food is lost during processing and storage. Distribution problems are the main concern in Latin America," says Jarell.

Global shipping is an essential link in the food industry's future. When shipping fresh produce, numerous variables come into play: temperature, transit time, container availability, and order processing speeds. Jarell, thus, wants accelerated digital innovation in these key trends.

You must have end-to-end insight ‍

The relentless pressure on the world's logistics network is only increasing. Real-time insight into freight is vital, especially for fresh products. When shipping perishable goods, companies must be able to track their shipments in real-time. That not only speeds things up but also reduces the risk of errors. Shypple helps companies estimate costs, congestion, and lead times in advance. That is crucial because delays mean the difference between spoiled fruit or company profits.

Detailed insight at container level reduces food waste

"You can now see exactly when a container will arrive at a terminal. That helps organizations plan the rest of the transportation. It also speeds up the various inspections which shippers have to schedule. This development results in faster throughput to auctions, markets, or retailers. In short, fresher products," explains the CEO.

Platforms assuming 'terminal-watcher' role

"Until now, it was often unclear if a ship had offloaded a container. Carriers kept an eye on terminals and phoned shippers when their shipment was ready. This manual process meant a disconnected system of Excel sheets, emails, and phone calls. Platforms have assumed this role and offer improved planning control and flexibility."

"Logistics must be digitized to combat food waste"

It is time to democratize global trade

"It's nigh impossible for growers to control their logistics chains, which involves a heap of paperwork. However, digitalization allows them better insight into their goods' movement and helps them reduce food waste during transportation. It democratizes global trade - more parties can now trade their goods without the fear of wasting products," continues Jarell.

Container technology innovation a must

"Fresh produce containers have to traverse the oceans. That creates uncertainty. The smallest deviation can have significant consequences, and even slight adjustments can lead to major losses. More development is needed in the industry, such as improving container insulation, real-time temperature overviews, and remote temperature adjustment."

From local agriculture to sustainable shipping

"Shipping food from another part of the world doesn't sound sustainable, but neither is growing everything locally. At least, not yet. Until we find a way to grow it all locally, we need a global trading system that can feed the entire world. We must optimize every part of the logistics chain and make it easier for expeditors to minimize their emissions. Digital shippers now offer shipping with sustainable fuels, reforestation, carbon extraction, or a combination of these. The future is green if we work as a team," concludes Jarell.

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