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Colin’s Food for Thought | Hong Kong – London – Quito

Blog post   •   Sep 11, 2018 06:34 GMT

Bien Mak, Panalpina's marketing and communications responsible for Greater China, together with Colin Wells, global head of industry vertical perishables, and members of the Panalpina team at Asia Fruit Logistica. (Photo by Panalpina)

I am homeward bound after a fantastic and successful Asia Fruit Logistica.

The last few days have been manically busy, with meetings from morning to night. When we began planning for the show last year, we were aiming at 150 appointments, but by opening day we had scheduled over 200. Three days later, our team had conducted more than 300 meetings with perishables growers, exporters, importers, and retailers from every corner of the world.

I love that. I’ve personally spoken to existing and potential customers from Mexico, Egypt, the Netherlands, China, Zimbabwe, Malaysia, and Peru, to name but a few.

I also learned about perishables that are new to me and to potential new markets, which I find incredibly exciting. Just when you think you have seen everything, a new product emerges, waiting to be discovered by consumers, who like to taste the diversity of the world’s food basket.

And not only do I genuinely enjoy meeting new people and learning about products, these meetings also generate work. For example, existing customers might have wanted to add additional capacity or routes, all of which needs working out and locking down.

Potential new customers might have slightly different needs. Not only will they require a quote and have our routes and delivery times outlined, but they also need to feel that we care about their products as much as they do. Placing growers with receivers or receivers with growers, networking at its finest! Together we create opportunities and logistical solutions.

E-commerce was a hot topic

During the show, we spoke of China-grown perishables for export, the import of perishables to/within Asia, and Panalpina’s new e-commerce solutions for the import and distribution of perishables in Greater China. These include freight movement, import customs clearance, and temperature-controlled warehousing, as well as last-mile distribution.

But the conversation about e-commerce didn’t end there. Everyone is curious about what e-commerce will mean for perishables, from handling to pricing, and China is, after all, the world’s largest e-commerce market so chances are any new trends will be set there. The world is watching closely.

Product empathy and the people behind it: I can’t stress this enough

I said in my previous article that I am a little obsessive about knowing everything about the products we move, so when talking to potential new and existing customers I always rave about how we can transport their products to virtually anywhere in the world, and under absolute optimal conditions.

I’m proud to say that, because of the dedication of our global perishables team, I can show them plenty of real-life examples of how we have gone above and beyond what is expected from a traditional logistics service provider to ensure their products are delivered in pristine condition.

Why do we care so much? Because we recognize that if the customer’s business grows, so does ours. We don’t grow in isolation; we grow together.

So yes, what a buzz! It's amazing when you are privileged to head a group of passionate people all playing for the same team and with the end goal of making Panalpina the preferred global logistics provider for perishables. It truly is infectious when the energy around you is so positive and channeled that you can't help have the grin of a Cheshire Cat on your face! A huge thank you to all my colleagues for making AsiaFruit Logistica the success it was. We continue to grow year after year, so see you again in 2019.

In the meantime, the perishables tour continues elsewhere. After a few days at home I’ll head to Quito, Ecuador, where I will be attending Agriflor and Expoflor from September 19 to 21.

As always, you can meet me there or reach out to me via LinkedIn to discuss anything related to perishables.

Ok, off to catch my flight. “Never say goodbye, but see you soon”, my nan used to say. And indeed we will, so see you soon Hong Kong, and Quito, here I come!

Link to original article on LinkedIn.