Navigating Food Safety Regulations, Logistics Challenges, and Market Access Barriers when Shipping to Europe
As a fruit exporter, it is important to be aware of the various risks and challenges that can arise when shipping to foreign markets. As we prepare for the upcoming Fruitlogistica, we will focus this paper on the European market. This paper will provide an overview of potential food safety regulations, logistics and supply chain challenges. Market access barriers that fruit exporters may encounter when shipping to the European market.
Food Safety Regulations and Compliance
Food safety regulations and compliance are essential for companies that produce, process, and sell food products. In order to meet the demands of buyers and ensure the safety and quality of their products, companies must comply with various regulations and certifications. European buyers, in particular, often have specific requirements depending on their sales channels and product segments.
Common certifications requested by fresh fruit and vegetable buyers:
GLOBALG.A.P. (Agricultural practices) – Total cost includes implementation costs, registration and certificate license fee, and service fee for the certification body. Most commonly used in European end-markets, particularly northern Europe and supermarket segments.
International Featured Standards (IFS) (Food Safety) – Cost depends on the number of products, number of certification days, and company size. Most commonly used in Germany, France, and other European markets.
British Retail Consortium Global Standards (BRCGS) (Food Safety): Fee depends on company size, number of products, and role in the supply chain. Most commonly used in the UK retail market and mainland Europe.
Sedex Members Ethical Trade Audit (SMETA) (Social audit focused on working conditions) – Certification costs include a membership fee and audit costs paid to the SMETA-approved agency. Most commonly used in the UK, Germany, and other European markets.
Business Social Compliance Initiative (amfori BSCI) (Social audit focused on working conditions) – Certification cost is not fixed and is agreed with the audit company. Most commonly used in Germany and the Netherlands.
It is important for companies to research and understand the specific requirements and costs associated with these certifications to ensure compliance and meet the demands of their buyers.
In 2019, a shipment of Chinese frozen berries was rejected by the EU due to the presence of high levels of pesticide residues. This failure to comply with EU food safety regulations resulted in the berries being destroyed and the Chinese exporter incurring significant financial losses.
In 2020, a shipment of Indian mangoes was denied entry into the United States due to the presence of fruit flies. This failure to comply with US food safety regulations led to the entire shipment being destroyed and the Indian exporter losing a significant amount of revenue.
In 2021, a shipment of Chilean grapes was denied entry into the EU due to the presence of quarantine pests. This failure to comply with EU food safety regulations resulted in the grapes being destroyed and the Chilean exporter incurring significant financial losses.
In the same year, an Italian company was fined for not following the EU legislation on food safety, specifically the traceability and food information to consumers legislation, as they had failed to provide the customers with the necessary information regarding the origin of their products, including the country of origin or place of provenance.
Logistics and Supply Chain Challenges:
As a fruit exporter shipping to Europe, there are a number of logistical and supply chain challenges that you may face. These challenges can be caused by a variety of factors, including port strikes, natural disasters, temperature deviations in reefer containers, overbooking by shipping lines, and port congestion.
One major challenge that fruit exporters may face is port strikes. For example, in recent years, there have been strikes at ports in the UK and South Africa that have caused significant disruptions to the supply chain. These strikes can cause delays in the shipment of goods, which can result in missed delivery deadlines and lost revenue.
Another challenge that fruit exporters may face is natural disasters. For example, the recent floods in South Africa and the high winds in the Netherlands have had a significant impact on fruit exporters’ logistics and supply chains. These natural disasters can cause damage to infrastructure, disrupt transportation, and lead to shortages of goods.
Temperature deviations in reefer containers can also be a major challenge for fruit exporters. These containers are used to transport perishable goods, such as fruits, and must be kept at a specific temperature to ensure the goods remain fresh. If the temperature deviates from the required range, it can result in spoilage and loss of goods.
Another challenge that fruit exporters may face is overbooking by shipping lines. This occurs when shipping lines accept more bookings than they can accommodate, which can result in delays and missed delivery deadlines.
Finally, port congestion can also be a major challenge for fruit exporters. This occurs when there is a bottleneck in the flow of goods through a port, which can cause delays and disruptions to the supply chain.
All of these challenges can have a major impact on the logistics and supply chain for fruit exporters shipping to Europe. It is important for exporters to be aware of these challenges and to have contingency plans in place to minimize the impact on their business.
In recent years, an example of this was the Suez Canal blockage, which happened in March 2021, caused by the grounding of the Ever Given container ship. This event created a backlog of ships waiting to transit the canal, causing delays and disruptions in the supply chain.
In conclusion, as a fruit exporter shipping to Europe, it is important to be aware of the various logistical and supply chain challenges that can arise. By being prepared and having contingency plans in place, exporters can minimize the impact of these challenges on their business and ensure the smooth delivery of their goods to their customers.
Navigating Market Access Barriers: Challenges for Exporters Entering European Markets”
As an exporter, accessing new markets can be a challenging and complex process. This is especially true when trying to enter European markets, where exporters may face a variety of barriers that can make it difficult and expensive to meet the requirements of these markets. These barriers can include quotas, technical barriers to trade, and other trade barriers.
Quotas are a type of trade barrier that limits the amount of a particular product that can be imported into a country. For example, the European Union may impose quotas on certain products to protect domestic producers. This can make it difficult for exporters to access these markets, as they may be limited in the number of goods they can sell.
Technical barriers to trade (TBT) are another type of barrier that exporters may face. These barriers can take the form of regulations, standards, testing, and certification requirements. For example, the European Union may have specific rules regarding the labelling or packaging of certain products. These requirements can be difficult for exporters to meet, especially if they are not familiar with the regulations of the country they are exporting to.
Other trade barriers may include tariffs and non-tariff barriers. Tariffs are taxes imposed on imported goods, which can make them more expensive for consumers. Non-tariff barriers can include things like import licenses, quotas, and embargoes, which can make it more difficult for exporters to access certain markets.
It is important for exporters to stay updated with the trade agreements, tariffs, and other trade barriers that may affect their business. Exporters should also be aware of any new or changing barriers that may come into effect in the near future. This will help them to anticipate and plan for any challenges that may arise.
Shipping fruit to the European market can present a variety of risks and challenges for exporters. By understanding and preparing for potential food safety regulations, logistics and supply chain challenges. With market access barriers, exporters can make informed decisions and take steps to mitigate potential costs and risks. It is important for exporters to stay updated with the regulations, trade barriers and logistics-related challenges. To ensure a smooth and successful export to the European market.