Cool-chain data-sharing pilot ‘demonstrates benefits of transparency’

posted on 29th May 2019
Cool-chain data-sharing pilot ‘demonstrates benefits of transparency’

CCA members plan the next stage of project after successful ‘industry-first’ trial

Cool Chain Association (CCA) members have piloted a new scheme aimed at improving the supply chain and tackling food loss, sharing temperature data across the cool logistics chain for perishable consignments moving from Latin America to the Middle East.

Partners for the pilot included Cargolux, Able Freight, AirFrance KLM, SmartCAE and Xtreme Technologies, who together monitored five pallets of berries and avocados from Guadalajara, in Mexico, to delivery in Kuwait, using loggers powered by secure Near Field Communication (NFC) technology.

“This has never been done before, said Edwin Kalischnig, outgoing secretary general of the CCA and CEO of Xtreme Technologies, which provided the NFC loggers used in the pilot, working with Avery Dennison. “Once we identify gaps, we can look at where we can improve, and that is how change happens. Establishing trust is important, and this is the beginning of a journey towards less food waste.”

Temperature movements, including excursions, revealed by the pilot data will be analysed by Philippe Schuler. He presented preliminary findings with Edwin Kalischnig at the CCA’s Perishables Conference in May.

“Forty percent of the food transported around the world [air, ocean, land] needs refrigeration and 20 percent of food loss is caused by a breakdown in the cool chain,” said Schuler. “If you have the common objective of reducing food waste, you can achieve it, but we are not transparent across the cool chain and accountability is a problem. The CCA project is a starting point, and as we get more data, we will be able to be more scientific and look to develop best practices and solutions.”

Three NFC loggers were placed in an aircraft lower deck pallet during the pilot scheme to measure the temperature at the top, bottom, and in the middle of each consignment. Schuler and Kalischnig suggested data collected during the programme could be analysed in the context of a metric called ‘Degree-Hours’, which takes temperature and time into consideration to give an absolute figure against which consignments on a given journey can be measured.

“This opens up a new way of working, where we are not pinpointing the excursion, but looking at the journey as a whole and developing solutions,” said Eric Mauroux, Director Verticals & Global Head of Perishable at Air France KLM Martinair Cargo, and CCA Treasurer.

“When we talk about data sharing, often people approach it from the angle of transparency. In fact, it is also having an understanding that data creates value and it is up to each part of the cool chain to understand the value it brings to them. That could mean developing an adapted offer, or complying, or introducing traceability or increasing shelf life, for example.”

Andrea Gruber, Head of Special Cargo at the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said IATA was looking forward to continuing to get feedback, share ideas and work with the CCA as it develops its CEIV Fresh perishables transport standard.

“The CCA project is a good example of bringing everyone involved in perishable business together to find solutions. To ensure transparency, a change of mindset is needed for all of us. Let us all be very honest so that we can work towards improvements and reliable partnerships.”