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Reliability is the cornerstone on which all shippers must build their supply chains. Take reliability out of any link in that chain--transportation, warehousing or technology--and that cornerstone turns to rubble.
Perhaps nowhere is reliability more important than in the shipment of perishable commodities such as fruits, vegetables, flowers and seafood. Go ahead, deliver a shipment of fish 48 hours late and try to convince the shipper--or the consumer--that a little extra time makes little difference.
Unfortunately, reliability in the perishables chain is anything but a cornerstone. Instead, the supply chain is riddled with inefficiencies, said Manuel Aragon, president of Teqflor, a Miami-based consulting firm specializing in perishables. He said the perishables supply chain is reliable only 65 percent of the time, compared with 98 percent for integrated express carriers. Transit times for perishables from Latin America to the U.S. range from six to 10 days, Aragon said, and only 43 percent of perishable shipments arrive in less than a week.
But the Cool Chain Association, a 3-year-old nonprofit organization, is trying to improve quality in perishables logistics by comparing apples to apples. The association in late May unveiled a set of standards for logistics providers …