New challenges for growing the nation’s “cold chain”
September 21, 2010 - SCMR Editorial
When it comes to ensuring sustainable and safe transport of food and medicine, a single unified vision is required, said Andy Janson, chairman of the International Refrigerated Transportation Association (IRTA) and a past member of the Board of Governors of the World Food Logistics Organization (WFLO).
In an interview with SCMR, Janson also explained how the Global Cold Chain Alliance (GCCA)—a confederation of several major industries engaged in temperature-controlled logistics – advances that mission.
“The recession has caused this to be a buyer’s market for shippers,” he said. “So much of the freight had dried up, but there was still plenty of capacity out there. Rates became very competitive. Fortunately, fuel costs were drastically improving as the price of oil dropped, but we’re seeing costs creep back up now.”
And what about capacity? Janson said that he follows the Morgan Stanley Truckloads Freight Index, which is showing a six-year high in demand.
“Now, that the demand has surged, we are concerned that there will not be enough trucks in the cold chain to carry the holiday season loads,” he said.
Not that this signals a major uptick for the economy, he cautioned.
“Things will improve, but this may not be a dramatic rebound,” said Janson. “We haven’t even really begun the recovery yet. Consumer confidence deeply impacts the supply chain and until that fully recovers, we’ll be treading water. We are predicting carrier’s rates will gradually go back up.”
Meanwhile, the GCCA is working with its members to champion new export incentives. According to GCCA spokesmen, the one area where perishable commodities might see some benefit is the advancement of free trade agreements. The U.S. currently has agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama that have been signed and are awaiting Congressional approval.
“The Administration has indicated an interest in finalizing the free trade agreement with Korea, which has been stalled since its signing in 2007,” said Lowell Randel, GCCA’s director of government affairs.
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