The Agri & Food Logistics conference held in Terneuzen on April 20 brought together industry experts to discuss sustainability, innovation, and collaboration in the food logistics sector. Among the attendees were Steve Alaerts, representing Foodcareplus, and Agnieszka Seghers of Foodcareplus’ sister company Remant Cool Logistics.
One of the topics discussed was the role of technology in enhancing sustainability, with blockchain technology and digital twins mentioned as potential solutions. Foodcareplus introduced blockchain technology in 2017 as an intelligent tool for the food chain. Blockchain can help increase transparency and trust along the food supply chain, benefiting consumers, producers, and retailers. However, implementing blockchain technology in the food logistics sector could be faster. The conference participants questioned why implementation had yet to progress faster. One possible explanation is that the past two years have presented significant logistical challenges, diverting attention and resources from implementing blockchain.
Another topic discussed was the challenge of balancing sustainability with speed to market requirements. Sander de Leeuw, Professor at Wageningen University & Research, highlighted the potential of consolidating shipments and reducing delivery frequency to balance these requirements. However, he noted that this approach could lead to more storage and emissions. Foodcareplus considers slowing down transportation as a way to green transport, drawing an analogy with the introduction of slow steaming in ocean freight more than a decade ago. However, the company acknowledges that speed-to-market is crucial for certain products, such as fresh fruit and vegetables. The company also recognizes that storing more can make supply chains more resilient in disruptions, as evidenced by the Covid-19 pandemic.