Logistics Answers for Global Distribution of Food and Drink Products

25 August 2023

Managing international distribution is challenging and complex. Knowing the experts in the field will help you to make better decisions. Supply Chain Solution Limited (SCS) was established in 2007 with the aim of providing all-encompassing logistics solutions for manufacturers, importers and distributors to the leading UK supermarket and wholesaler groups. Founder and director, Les Wright has more than achieved this goal by providing a wide range of ambient groupage, warehousing and delivery services for suppliers to Aldi, Asda, Lidl, Morrison’s and Sainsbury’s, amongst many more household names.  Depots in Cambridgeshire and Warrington have further expanded the distribution facilities in the UK.

Chilled and Frozen Logistics

The core business in the UK is geared towards providing full load services for chilled and frozen food manufacturers exporting their products to Ireland or mainland Europe. Additionally, SCS offer a range of bespoke services to ensure the process runs as smoothly as possible. These include customs clearance, import clearance, BRC food grade warehouses and having the ability to offer temperature control groupage services throughout the EU, mainland or within Ireland. A dedicated customs broker is on hand to deal with all aspects of import and export certification.

Supply Chain also provide temperature-controlled air freight services from their partner depot in Heathrow that specialises in samples and full pallets of chilled and frozen food items. As Les pointed out: ‘If there is a block of chilled cheese needing to be sent to Dubai, or frozen ice cream to Mumbai, we can help!’ As members of the Food and Drink Exporters Association (FDEA), with a 100% focus on food and drink, expertise and reliability is assured.

Ambient Groupage

The ambient groupage option, whereby shared pallets divide costs between users, is considerably cheaper than using pallet networks. Another bonus is that pallet networks do not cater for delivering outside fixed hours and apply surcharges, whereas reliable groupage services are an essential component for supermarkets requiring different items to be split up between different depots nationwide. Reciprocal arrangements for returning ‘back loads’ on empty trailers once deliveries have been made are also in place. This can include pharmaceutical grade trailers for products requiring the same high-grade transportation as food.

Brexit and Frigore Irl Ltd

Prior to Brexit, Les set up Frigore Ireland Limited, an entirely independent entity but under Supply Chain’s umbrella. Following the fallout from Brexit, this allowed customers to ship full loads into Ireland, or Europe, pay in Euros and have the assurance that all legalities were being appropriately covered. As a result, specialist fiscal representatives are available in Europe to cater directly for customers needing legal advice and any guidance required until ready to do business.

Les recalled the occasion that samples of chilled meats were sent from South Wales to a leading global casual dining restaurant in Paris, with chefs waiting to prepare burgers.  Post Brexit, complications with delays, seals being broken and temperatures raising above safe levels made it obvious that movement of sample products from the UK to the EU would become jeopardised. Without adequate temperature control facilities and delays at point of clearance, there was often no option but to return the samples at huge expense and inconvenience for all parties.

Lack of free movement of goods since Brexit, combined with delays, spoilt produce and unavailability of vet inspections, have all contributed to a nightmare scenario.  Within the next six months Les fears that ‘the cracks that are already there will widen and all we can do as a logistics operator is look to offer services as well as we can. “It’s possible we may start shipping from Ireland straight to the EU for imports and exports alike. Groupage services can then be provided via our Limerick depot in Ireland and our Breda depot in the Netherlands.”

North America

Turning to North America, Les recalls a situation with a chocolate dessert manufacturer who had the opportunity to service major US airlines as part of a meal package. This presented big logistical challenges, but the clever solution was to air freight a full pallet of frozen desserts to Newark airport, have them custom cleared, stored in a temperature control setting and then sent overnight to TNT. This enabled the sales reps to assess the product ahead of the trial and resulted in a profitable outcome for all concerned. Temperature-controlled services are now possible throughout the US by the approved partner in Newark.

Alcohol

Regarding logistics for transporting alcohol, Les remarked that the process is complex but achievable. It depends on whether the route is by air, road or sea freight, if it is dutiable and can be stored in an approved warehouse. SCS have a partner in Liverpool with the accreditation to store alcohol and will support cooperation between manufacturers wishing to use the facility. To provide this level of reassurance, SCS had legal documents produced governing both supplier and customer relationships which govern the non-disclosure of commercially sensitive information to third parties. These are incorporated into SCS’s Terms and Conditions. www.supplychainsolution.co.uk/customerT&Cs

Supply Chain Solution Limited and Frigore Irl. Ltd offer a comprehensive range of innovative and practical logistical solutions for the optimum distribution of food and drink products around the world. These services have been further fine-tuned to meet the stringent requirements of transporting kosher food products.

Benefits to KLBD kosher certified companies will be far reaching to ensure their products reach the intended destinations in a safe, reliable and cost-effective way.

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