Due to both tropical and subtropical climate conditions and mature cultivation techniques, Taiwan is rich in various fruits and vegetables throughout the year. When we are enjoying delicious local crops such as golden diamond pineapple and Aiwen mango, do we also want foreign friends to taste this good taste? However, in order for agricultural products to come to foreign consumers in a fresh and delicious manner, it is a big challenge in transportation, marketing and preservation technology and air transportation.
Taiwan shipping in a hub
Taiwan is located in the geographic hub of the Asia-Pacific region. It only takes 4 hours on average to fly to major cities in Northeast Asia and Southeast Asia. It has an important position in the international air transport market. Take Taoyuan International Airport as an example. It has been among the top ten in the global airport cargo volume rankings. The Covid-19 epidemic has reversed the aviation industry’s operating model. In the past, passenger planes carrying passengers were changed to carry full cargo. Last year, Taoyuan Airport’s cargo volume reached more than 2.34 million tons, which is a refresh of the more than 40 years since its establishment in 1979. recording.
Taoyuan Airport currently has 4 air cargo terminals providing services, namely, Huachu, Evergreen Air Freight Storage, Farglory Air Free Trade Port and Evergreen, which can provide 2.6 million tons of inbound, outbound, and re-export cargo handling capacity per year (equivalent to The deadweight tonnage of the 13 Long Grant that blocked the Suez Canal). At the same time, there are also 3 integrated express logistics companies (FedEX, UPS, DHL) and two professional freight ground handling services-Taoyuan Airline and Evergreen Airline.
Air transport of agricultural products is not that simple
To transport agricultural products abroad by air, the “logistics company”, “air cargo terminal” and “ground handling” must cooperate with each other to complete.
Suppose you are an Aiwen mango that wants to fly to a foreign supermarket. You must pass the quarantine standards of the importing country and obtain a certificate before you can be allowed to leave the country. Just like ordinary people entering and entering the country, they need to apply for a visa. The Aiwen Mangoes that have obtained the qualification certificate will be assisted by the logistics company to arrange the transportation itinerary, similar to the travel agency assisting passengers in arranging transportation itineraries, booking space, transporting the airport and customs declaration services. After arriving at the airport, Aiwen Mango will first gather at the air cargo terminal and wait for the plane to be transported. The air cargo terminal is like a waiting room for cargo! Taking Huachu as an example, it has different types of warehouses, such as cold storage, freezer, temperature-controlled warehouse, dangerous goods warehouse, and valuables warehouse. It can provide corresponding storage equipment according to the needs of each cargo. Before the flight takes off, the Aiwen mango will be handed over to the loading and unloading personnel of the ground handling company to complete the boarding operation. After that, the mango can be embarked on an expedition overseas!
Cold chain logistics: shoulder heavy responsibility for escorting vegetable and fruit vaccines
According to the Agricultural Products Trade Profile of the Council of Agriculture of the Executive Yuan, the value of Taiwan’s agricultural exports in 2019 was approximately US$5.58 billion, of which the value of fresh and refrigerated fruits accounted for nearly US$200 million. In the past, Taoyuan Airport’s cargo was mostly bulk trade dry cargo, and the proportion of temperature-controlled cargo was relatively small. Since fresh fruits and vegetables are all “tender customers” who are very sensitive to temperature changes, a complete cold chain logistics system is essential to break the distance limit and expand overseas markets.
Cold chain (Cold Chain) refers to the method of refrigerated packaging, combined with logistics and transportation planning, to maintain temperature consistency during the transportation process to protect temperature-sensitive goods, involving the provision of raw materials, storage and processing, and transportation to consumers the entire process. This is essential for prolonging the quality of fresh fruits and vegetables and reducing the consumption of agricultural products.
When planning the low-temperature logistics preservation center in the cold chain system, the following considerations should be included:
- Cold chain logistics line planning: Goods need to be fast in and out in order to keep fresh, and the movement lines of incoming and outgoing goods should not overlap with the processing movement lines as much as possible to avoid cross-infection of goods. The planning should also include personnel, cranes and waste lines.
- Pre-processing of purchase: After the agricultural products are harvested in the field, the difference in heat content between the two before cooling to their minimum safe storage temperature is called “field heat”. Field heat and microorganisms during transportation will affect the quality of agricultural products, so “Pre-Cooling Treatment” is very important. The principles, advantages, disadvantages and applications of the current pre-cooling technology can be seen in the following table.
|Place the product in the cold storage, so that its surface is in contact with properly circulated cold air||Suitable for any product||Often due to the container material and the air in the container, the conduction resistance is large and the speed is slow|
|Rinse with cold water and soak the product for a short time to cool down||Cold water can be directly in contact with the product, and the cooling rate is fast||Applicable products are limited; waterproof container or special treatment is required to allow water to run away|
|Crushed ice pre-cooling
|Add crushed ice before and after the product is packed, or use half ice and half water to pour from the product pile/side opening||Fast effect, can be processed in large quantities, suitable for broccoli, shallots, corn that are easy to age or can tolerate low temperature||Limited applicable products; high manufacturing cost of waterproof container|
|Force Air Cooling||Also known as differential pressure pre-cooling, which is similar to room cooling, but with the pressure difference between the inlet and outlet ports, the cold air is blown into the container and out of the other opening.||Larger contact area with product, good cooling efficiency||Pay attention to the size of the vents, stacking method, height, quantity, ventilation intensity and air-conditioning temperature on the left and right sides of the container.|
|Vacuum Cooling||Put the original product in a vacuum to make the original boiling point of water at one atmosphere pressure from 100°C to 0°C. The water vaporizes and absorbs a lot of heat to achieve a cooling effect.||Can quickly reduce the product to the target temperature in large quantities||The equipment is expensive; every 6°C decrease requires 1% of plant weight, which is only suitable for leafy vegetables with large surface area|
- Incorporate into HACCP specification considerations:Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points) is an evaluation system that was first applied by the United States in the manufacture of space food. Its purpose is to identify, monitor and control and reduce the pollution risk of the food processing industry.
- The key to the design of refrigerated freezer: Each warehouse will set different temperatures according to requirements, in principle, from the high temperature space to the low temperature space in sequence. In building materials, the temperature escape probability of its material and design should also be considered. In order to avoid the temperature difference causing the ground to freeze out and the warehouse to form frost, an automatic temperature adjustment electric hotline can also be embedded.
Recently, the world’s most concerned shipping product, the hotly released Covid-19 vaccine, has to rely on the cold chain system due to its harsh cryogenic storage and transportation conditions. China Airlines is the first airline in Taiwan to obtain the CEIV Pharma certification for cold chain transportation of pharmaceuticals from the International Air Transport Association (IATA), and has airlifted the first batch of 199,200 doses of AZ vaccine delivered by National Airlines back to China on April 4. , The whole process is maintained at a low temperature of 2 ~ 8 °C.
How to store other goods?
In addition to the goods that need to be checked for temperature, the air cargo terminal will also arrange special warehouses to receive some uncomfortable goods. Hazardous materials such as explosives, gases, flammable liquids, toxic and radioactive substances must be specially applied for, approved by the control center, and received and reviewed in accordance with the IATA “Dangerous Materials Disposal Rules”. Dangerous goods will be separated from non-hazardous goods, and then stored in a dangerous goods warehouse with clear type and handling instruction labels. Warehouse personnel will also conduct regular inspections to reduce the risk of accidents as much as possible.
Since the invention of airplanes, mankind has not only fulfilled the dream of flying in the sky, and quickly circulated different goods around the world, but also made the social, economic and cultural exchanges between countries unprecedentedly close. The development of air transportation and the maturity of cold chain system technology not only allow people to taste the beautiful taste of fresh exotic fruits and vegetables while they are fresh, but also become the key to our victory in the global fight against the virus.
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