Perishable commodity export rates from Latin America are steadily on the rise and imports are expected to increase almost 90 percent by 2015. In addition, large international retailers, such as Wal-Mart, have been in the region for over two decades. The emerging markets in Latin America are undeniably gaining strength and developing into serious contenders in the global market.
Latin America also represents one of the most promising regions of the world for development of the cold chain industry, as trade agreements, emerging food industries, and increasing import/export demands from the United States and other nations continue to unfold.
In light of these market forces, the Global Cold Chain Alliance recently co-sponsored the first-ever Colombian Cold Chain Congress in Medellin, Colombia. Co-sponsoring the event and events like it fulfill the Alliance’s mission to enhance the cold chain, ensuring that perishable products retain their quality and safety through each link, by promoting best practices and information exchange.
Reynir Gislason, CEO of Eimskip Americas, delivered the keynote address, highlighting the many opportunities for optimizing the cold chain in Latin America and explaining how Eimskip is interested in becoming part of this market. I addressed the subject of a temperature-controlled logistics chain in different parts of the world and the important role the Global Cold Chain Alliance has played in providing technical support through international projects.
Alliance Latin America Representative Debbie Corado talked about the value the Alliance and its Core Partners (International Association of Refrigerated Warehouses (IARW), World Food Logistics Organization (WFLO), International Refrigerated Transportation Association (IRTA), and International Association for Cold Storage Construction (IACSC) can offer to the Latin American industry and member resources and benefits.
On the cold chain industry in Latin America, Corado said, “Countries in Latin America are beginning to emerge as viable entrants to the global economy and they not only must secure and utilize new technologies but also are willing to become more competitive and offer superior facilities, superior products and an uncompromising service.”
Indeed, the Colombian cold chain provides the infrastructure needed to support and distribute fruit, vegetables, and fish that this country is known for producing. It has enormous possibilities and has caught the attention of important foreign investors. Now the focus must be on training the personnel needed to ensure that the cold chain operates in a way to best serve this growing market.