Fish and seafood industry have faced a variety of challenges in recent years, many of which are related to the industry itself, such as sustainability practices and cold chain transportation, but also to market developments such as inflation and consumer demand. Last week, industry experts from across the world came together in Barcelona for Seafood Expo, world’s largest seafood trade event, to discuss the latest innovations and challenges in cold chain logistics, and their long-term implications. 

The Global Seafood Expo in Barcelona is a must attend event for Fish and Seafood aficionados around the world. This year, it enabled us, as an end-to-end supply chain service company, to connect with fishing companies, processors, and traders, and expand on the softer themes of collaboration, trust, and partnership. For Maersk, these themes are critical components if we are do differentiate ourselves in the market.

Thue Barfod
Global Head of Fish & Seafood Vertical at Maersk

During the three-day event, three key themes dominated the conversations with customers and industry experts:

Connecting the dots from origin to destination

The seafood industry relies heavily on cold chain transportation to ensure that products are kept at the right temperature, ensuring food quality and safety, and minimising waste. Maintaining the cold chain from origin to destination can be challenging, particularly for long distances and through areas with poor infrastructure. Customers are looking to hear how we can identify opportunities and solutions unique to them, by linking the dots from their origin to destination through our global setup.

“There are some things we need to tackle in the logistic world. Our assets, strategic way of thinking, and the expertise of our customers and us allows us to combine the pain points from origin to destination and find a solution that actually brings value to our customer, because if the cold chain is not coordinated properly, the solution is not worth anything,” says Borja Pelayo, Sales Manager at Maersk.

Expertise beyond reefer operations

When considering cold chain solutions, customers are looking for a solution that goes beyond the pure value proposition. It is not enough to have the expertise in how the reefer industry operates, there is a fundamental need to have the knowledge on how to handle the cargo that is transported in the reefer container. Every customer is different, and the requirements for different produce will also differ.

The reality is that through many years of experience, well over 500 years if we take the collective experience of the team, we’ve been able to build this true understanding. What this really does is underpin trust – customers understand we know what to do with their cargo and how to manage it.

Bruce Marshall
Head of Cold Chain Vertical at Maersk

Collaboration, trust, partnership

The same theme stood at the core of every conversation – trust. Having a trustful partner is key for customers who want to ensure their unique needs and goals are met. Being honest about the possibilities and challenges on both sides sets the base for collaboration and working together and gives opportunity to improve not just the structure of partnership, but also the outcomes.

“While our knowledge coupled with our infrastructure and ships allows us to improve quality outcomes, what’s most important is trust. If customers believe we have their back, then the partnership grows and we can work on improving other pieces of the supply chain,” emphasized Marshall.

Ocean transport has faced challenges of its own in the past months, and fish and seafood producers are increasingly looking for alternative solutions, and partners who are able to provide those. “Having multiple solutions under our control, such as air freight, supports the trust we are building with customers in industries where freshness of products and lower transit times are key, such as fish and seafood,” notes Jonas Kostrzewa, Airfreight specialist at Maersk.

With trust at the base of the partnership, we can move on to a true collaboration to create sustainable ways of working, safeguard quality of processing and products, and ensure consumer satisfaction.

“Right now, we understand our customers’ needs, but what we want to know now is how our customers are improving within the market and how our teams can support them and build something together for the future,” says Khady Niassy, Agro & Reefer Sales manager at Maersk.

The conversations at Seafood Expo 2023 highlighted the need for a trusted partnership and collaboration to overcome the challenges facing the fish and seafood industry. With trust as the foundation, Maersk, as your insightful partner, can offer unique cold chain solutions to support the growth of your business.

Watch the key highlights from Seafood Expo 2023 here.

If you have any questions, please get in touch with our cold chain experts.

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