With a history of cultivation that spans more than 2,000 years, Shandong Jining is a well-known hub for garlic. The region grows about 700,000 mu of garlic each year, which is exported to more than 160 countries and regions around the world. Naturally, there is a need to transport the produce in reefer containers to retain its quality.

Flavouring the world through better logistics integration - garlic customer

The customer

Our customers specialise in the export of agricultural products, and their enterprises are involved in several focus areas, including base planting integration, purchasing, refrigeration, deep processing, and international trade. The sales markets cover more than 70 countries in Europe, the Americas, the Middle East, South and Southeast Asia, and more.

Flavouring the world through better logistics integration - garlic challenges

The challenge

For many years, the customers have generally used a combination of trucking and ocean transport to ship high-quality garlic from the region all over the world. However, the inland leg of this journey is currently fraught with various complications. There is only one type of trucking service, transportation costs are high, timings are irregular, and the service is frequently affected by natural and social factors.

Particularly during the ongoing pandemic, it has become difficult for exports to avoid unforeseen supply chain breaks, and the entire logistics supply chain plan for the export of garlic cannot be accurately guaranteed. This poses a major hurdle for customers.

Flavouring the world through better logistics integration - garlic solution

The solution

In response to the problems encountered by customers, the Maersk team has been committed to helping them find cost-effective and stable logistics solutions to help boost the garlic product export. While communicating and coordinating with foreign companies to carry out one-stop product trials, the Maersk cold chain expert team also actively explored new domestic logistics solutions.

Based on the strategic cooperation with China Railway Jinan Bureau Group, we were actively exploring a new one-stop service that connects the garlic product rail transportation to our maritime services, and extends the starting point of traditional export services right from the inland warehouse to the port.

After a customer completes the booking, they only need to wait for the packaging to be completed in the factory warehouse. The rest of the short-distance inland transportation, and the railway connection to port, are arranged by Maersk in coordination with the railway and the port authorities. This prevents the fragmented coordination of various touchpoints across the supply chain and helps considerably improve efficiency.

Upgrading the whole process from ‘port-to-port’ to ‘end-to-end’ helped emphasise the value of our cold chain service coverage, and ensure the timely, safe and efficient delivery of the goods to the final consignee.

Maersk’s Jining West-Qingdao railway service not only provides us with more choices for domestic transportation, but also brings us a new end-to-end logistics solution . We firmly believe in Maersk, and this new service will greatly improve the efficiency of our operations, reduce delays, and prevent potential cargo damage. We look forward to more new solutions like this, that can provide a win-win for all parties, on both the import as well as the export side of the business!

Flavouring the world through better logistics integration - garlic result

The result

In the past 2 years, Maersk has successfully promoted the sea-rail combined transport of Jining garlic exports. On 29 June 2021, it was officially announced that Maersk would start operating a customised train for freezers. This is a cold chain inland product specially curated by Maersk for customers according to their needs, providing them with a one-stop cold chain solution.

This new service perfectly highlights the benefits our integrated services can provide. We will be able to provide more proactive assistance, and be more innovative in our E2E approach by leveraging this new inland offering. It also aids our mission to decarbonise logistics, given the low CO2 emissions from trains compared to trucking. The ‘Garlic Train’ will be the first of other similar initiatives, and I look forward to seeing more.

Lee Michael Sissons
Lee Michael Sissons,
Regional Head, APA Ocean Management, A.P. Moller-Maersk
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