PMA, Produce Marketing Association, organized a virtual town hall for its members on March 25, 2020, on the impact of the corona crisis on the fresh food sector. Foodcareplus, PMA member and the logistics partner in fresh food and cold chain, shared some insights into the European market. We have listed some of the current bottlenecks.
To date, the main European transport hubs (ports and distribution centers) have had no interruptions. Transport within Europe is still relatively smooth, although there are delays at some border crossings due to increased controls on non-essential passenger transport. Intercontinental flows do experience large capacity limitations.
Regarding the last mile, there are some issues in Europe. The share of e-commerce/home deliveries was also much smaller in Europe before the corona crisis than on other continents. In the current situation, there is an extreme increase in demand, which makes it once again clear that there is a shortage of capacity for collections and home deliveries.
Sea freight is struggling with the repercussion of the extended Chinese New Year due to the Corona measures. As a result, the trade in Asia-Europe will lose more than 50% of its ship capacity in March and April. We also experience a critical shortage of reefer containers due to a lack of imports from Asia. We see the same trend in sailing areas that largely depend on Asia.
The air freight situation has a major impact on the food sector. Much of the perishable goods are transported through the hold of passenger flights. The figures here are dramatic; some airlines have canceled up to 75% of their flights. There are even companies where no flights are planned in the coming weeks.