Much work still to do for Spanish logistics firms
Oliver Huesmann ,Business Development Director at Fruitconsulting Malaga - Hong Kong , and an expert in fruit and vegetable logistics and international trade , believes that part of the transport and logistics industry in Europe needs to change radically if they are to become global service companies , especially in terms of ``time to market ´´. Huesmann was part in Fruit Logistica 2016´s Logistics Hub in the session entitled ``the Ins and Outs of logistics´´ , and in this interview with Diario del Puerto Analysed some of the key factors of the fruit and vegetable business and also looked at the challenges facing Spanish logistics firms on the road to becoming more competitive.
Previous growth, the relocation of fleets to Europe, haulage outsourcing to low-wage countries, and the enlargement of the European Union has changed the world of logistics.
What is our current position and what are our future markets ?
Trading of goods has gone up sharply in the last ten years.
Exports to Asia, mainly to China, have spearheaded this growth. Yet there has been little progress in the Spanish domestic market for many years now, and in the short term, there would seem to be no light at the end of the tur to shake off the recession.
Clients need to export their products to markets outside the Iberian Peninsula and the European Union.
The situation of European logistics at present is one of a highly developed economy.
Are trains to Asia really able to compete with shipping?
A new rail freight connection between Spain and China was recently launched , enabling goods to be sent to Shanghai in reefer containers with transit times of around 21 days, which is a real transport option for the fruit and vegetable industry compared to air freight , given its high costs , and to shipping with its long lead times.
Now is the time to offer logistics with a customer centric perspective. The first and last mile, or the first and last stage of the supply chain in transporting perishable products, are the most critical phases of the process and are where the logistics operator must tailor its services to cater for all of its client’s ´requirements. This means providing optimum value – for – money solutions for customers, whilst ensuring commitments to on – time delivery are met.
In rail terms, the European Commission believes it is essential to solve the problems caused by different gauge tracks, as well as those generated by the lack of standardised rail traffic control systems, in access to logistics terminals which are not linked to the main seaports. In terms of the logistics platforms located on the Atlantic Corridor ´s main network, Europe envisages updating these areas to make them truly multimodal hubs, connected to road and rail networks, and even to seaports and other important enclaves via strategic alliances.
area ,with mature product and consumer markets whilst in Asia, new mega – markets are developing which have a huge appetite for all of our products and the purchasing power to buy them, including food and fruit and vegetables. Solely in China, a new group of around 50 million inhabitants per year move into a medium- high salary band which enables them to by imported products and high- end brands. Growth rates in other Asian countries are even stronger.
The process of business concentration in Asia, with the appearance of major international logistics operators from Europe in the region, forces us to think beyond the traditional notion of domestic or continental logistics, and instead embrace a broader vision that transcends the borders of Spain and the European Union, and turns us into truly global operators.
The ``internationalisation and globalisation ´´ of European logistics has been broadly supported by Asian governments , which have been quick to spot the future strategic importance of an efficient global logistics system with world outreach in a fully globalised economic reality .
This might make us think about containers or cargo ships, yet it is rail freight, logistics platforms and land links which have to look towards internationalisation and adapt to globalisation.
In recent years, China has stopped investing in farming and livestock, which means that its
Dependence on food imports in such a densely populated country is growing continuously.
Spain, as a producer of very competitive, high – quality food and agriculture products, has an opportunity to supply Asian countries. But only if we can get our goods there cheaply and quickly.
We currently need 30 to 40 days to reach the ports of Beijing, Hong Kong or Shanghai.
This length of time is not an option for the majority of fresh produce as it leaves almost no room for manoeuvre for`` time to market´´.
What about the Spanish airline industry?
2016 will be a challenging year for the Spanish airline industry. Iberia will once again be connecting Spain to Asia
With two direct flights to Tokyo (Japan) and Shanghai (China). We can say that these routes to Japan and (China) are ``particularly significant ´´ for the Spanish economy `` because they reflect the start of Spain´s economic recovery ´´. Tourist destinations that where axed with the recession are now opening up again, and routes to the Japanese and Chinese markets `` with their huge growth potential ´´ are `` hugely attractive as they bring Madrid, China and Japan closer´´
What is the current situation of international logistics in Spain and how competitive is the industry?
International logistics has become one of the key industries in today´s world economy, due to the importance of this activity in the international economic globalisation movements of foreign trade and just – in – time logistics. This means that a good international logistics infrastructure is an essential element for any country that wishes to consolidate its position on the international economic scene.
If we analyse the competitive advantages and disadvantages of Spanish international logistics, and especially in terms of its relations with Asia, we can say that we are way behind in terms of qualifications and professional training in Asian languages, laws and cultures which are essentially the cornerstones of an efficient, streamlined international logistics system that encourages foreign trade exchanges and helps to make them more competitive.
What can companies do to build a good logistics strategy?
The answer is simple: ``Think international ´´ and start by designing a global logistics plan that includes raw materials and suppliers, production and storage centres, information channels, and distribution and sales networks. The important thing is not solely to produce goods at competitive prices, but to use logistics to make products and services available to customers whenever they want them, in ideal conditions and at the best price, in order to cater for the requirements of the supply chain as affectively efficiently as possible.
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