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Consumers increasingly seek quality fruits, vegetables and other fresh foods like seafood, and local producers are stepping in to meet the rising international demand. It’s not enough to just have a standard temperature regime. Every product has its own specific transport requirements and our experts work hard to make sure they understand yours to determine its entire cool chain, ensuring integrity and minimal waste with temperature-controlled air freight and ocean freight, as well as road and courier services.

The worldwide flow of perishables is complex and constitutes a huge market with a lot of companies involved in the supply chain. Typically, what is grown in the south is exported to the north. This holds true for flowers in particular, with South America and Africa as the two key export regions. The vast majority of perishables are transported by sea. According to Seabury, 88.6 million tons of perishables were moved by sea in 2013, compared to 2.5 million tons that were moved by air. The actual transport volumes are higher than that, however, because Seabury’s air freight figures do not account for non-IATA carriers and aircraft charters, or for charter vessels or Intra-Asia ocean freight feeders. Below are some of the world’s most important trade lanes for perishables:

Air Freight:
  • Large volumes of perishables are flown from South and Central America to North America. This trade lane is dominated by flowers. Another important commodity is fish, followed by vegetables and fruits.
  • Almost equal volumes of fruits, flowers and vegetables are flown from South America to Europe.
  • From Africa, Europe flies in considerably more perishables, especially flowers. Other commodities are vegetables and fruits.
  • Intra-Asia is another important trade lane for perishables which are transported by air. This trade lane is dominated by fish. Additionally, roughly the same volumes of fish are flown into Asia from Europe.

Ocean Freight:
  • South and Central America provide the world with fruits. The highest volumes on the sea route are transported to North America and Europe. These two destination regions are the most important by far, but fruits are also shipped from Latin America to the CIS, the Middle East and Asia.
  • One of the biggest ocean freight trade lanes for perishables (fruits, vegetables, flowers) is Intra-Asia.
  • Africa, especially South Africa, predominantly exports fruits by sea to Europe, but not so much the more sensitive vegetables, even though many African countries mass produce the same. Often, the road and port infrastructure is simply not good enough to support exports of vegetables by sea.

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DSV Panalpina A/S

DSV Panalpina A/S



Success in the perishables industry depends on a logistics provider that can ensure perishables are safely and efficiently steered through the cool chain on the way to their final destination.

At DSV, we know exactly how much love growers put into the cultivation and production of fruits, vegetables and flowers. We also know how difficult it is for wholesalers and retailers to procure fresh products from all over the world punctually to the consumer in peak condition. Our main concern is providing a tailor-made quality service for products we care about.

The DSV Perishables Network provides an unrivaled travel experience for perishables, and this experience begins long before the actual journey – for example here in Berlin.

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