A long-standing partnership with Maersk helped a fresh fruits and vegetables producer and exporter expand their business 100-fold.
The National Fruit Processing Factory in Punjab, Pakistan, has been growing, processing and exporting oranges for over 60 years and is now one of the country’s largest exporters of mandarins. Over the years, they have also added mangoes, onions and potatoes to their impressive roster. The company now exports about 2,000 refrigerated cargo containers and 200 dry containers every year.
They are focused on building lasting relationships with their customers as part of their core DNA and are always looking for ways to upgrade facilities, improve services and maintain the highest quality of produce. The business has grown steadily in the last 20 years as demand rose exponentially and they started expanding their global reach.
The company was tackling challenges on a couple of fronts, which were severely affecting exports. First, they were able to export only about 50% of their produce, largely due to a lack of container availability. The company also lost produce from damage during transit as maintaining the quality and freshness of the fruits was a major issue. There was a distinct lack of visibility over the cargo’s journey as coordinating between multiple vendors became time-consuming and cumbersome. National Fruit’s supply chain managers were juggling multiple issues while racing against time to get the fresh fruits to their destination in good condition.
The answers to these problems came from a longstanding relationship of 18 years between National Fruit and Maersk to build and streamline their supply chain. Upon hearing their challenges, our teams collaborated closely with them to identify key areas that needed to be worked on and created customised logistics solutions to address National Fruit’s unique requirements and help them build and streamline their supply chain.
One of the first issues we helped solve was sourcing refrigerated cargo containers for their exports by ensuring their guaranteed availability whenever the company needed them. We also built a container terminal about 5 km from National Fruit’s packing houses in Bhalwal, which helped drastically cut down on time spent waiting for empty containers.
Maersk also provided intermodal trucking transportation, which eliminated yet another middle layer and ensured cargo quality was maintained across different legs of the journey. The company signed up for Value Protect, Maersk’s insurance product, adding a final layer of protection against any unexpected events until their perishable cargo arrives at their customer’s doorsteps.
Maersk Pakistan has had an excellent track record with its services for ocean transportation in the past. Now, with landside transportation also being offered to us, our confidence levels in Maersk’s services have really gone up. The teams were always available to support us and address any issues in the supply chains without any delays.
The proof of this partnership can be seen in the success of National Fruit’s business. The company has grown 100 times in the last 4-5 years alone and continues to expand. Maersk is now carrying more than 1,000 forty-foot equipment (FFE) containers of citrus, mangoes and potatoes every year, up nearly 25% from 2016. The relationship between the two companies continues to deepen and offers great benefits for National Fruit.
“Our time is not being wasted contacting transporters, moving containers or even checking on container availability. This has made a very big difference. We are now able to focus on production, maintaining quality and enhancing our business,” says Ahmad.
He is particularly pleased with the Maersk representatives trusted with the care of their cargo round the clock. “Even if we call at 2AM, they respond immediately. With one phone call or email, containers are made available for us.”
The company has now added Maersk’s end-to-end solutions to their supply chain. Operating on a one-window basis with us, they get to focus on their core business as we take care of transport, customs clearance and cold storage for their containers, from origin to destination.
“After working and understanding them through the years, we believe we are business partners,” says Ahmad.
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