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SDDDC· Ten Lessons | Lesson 2. Transport and logistics

2021-1-18 15:08:53 Comments:0 Views:102 category:SDDDC News

“Vehicles are one of the best modes of transportation. Relationships are one of the best vehicles of transformation”


Who would have expected that there would ever be a lack of sea containers? As some large harbors were closed down during the outbreak, a huge number of containers were left unloaded and had to stay in the harbors. Also, no containers were shipped to the harbors that were still open when a part of China was in lockdown early in 2020.

Another clear lesson learned was the fact that a single Stock Keeping Unit (SKU), for instance a flavored dairy drink, contains materials from many different suppliers. These parties sometimes are from various countries in different continents. This includes ingredients for the core products (e.g. vanilla, salt, sugar and soy as additives) as well as materials for processing and packaging. Think for example of the plastic pallets used for bottles or packs for drinks, coatings or plastic caps, ink for printing, silicon sleeves, etc. The upcoming of the globalization has considerably strengthened the interdependency between nations and transport within the food chain.

Petrol is another crucial item creating an issue during the COVID pandemic.The prices of oil have dropped and so have the incomes of a lot of countries. This may be seen as a disaster, but a lack of oil/petrol, as happened during wars, would have been much worse. A lack of petrol can bring entire countries to a standstill. In the year 2000 no petrol was supplied to the petrol stations in the UK. This was aresult of a dispute about prices and wages and the suppliers stopped supplying petrol/diesel. Within a week the entire country came to a standstill. Millions of cars were queuing up in front of the petrol stations, people started hoarding and measures were taken to keep the vital functions, such as emergency services, going.

A lack of petrol will bring the dairy sector to a standstill as well. No tractors to use, the milk collection trucks cannot collect the milk and the products cannot be delivered to the distribution centres and shops. The main lesson learned is that the dairy industry needs to review its full value chain and make it more robust.

The same goes for medical equipment, masks, medicines, crucial spare parts, etc. As long as nations show solidarity with each other, there will be no issue. When the crisis was at a peak in China, planes with medical equipment were flown from the Netherlands to China. When the situation in China was more or less under control and the situationin the Netherlands was facing its peak, planes with supplies, including masks, were flown to the Netherlands again, as there was a dramatic shortage.

The lesson learned here is that as long as nations cooperate with each other, globalization and interdependencies work well. However, when protectionism and conflicts between nations come in, solidarity will decrease and this will create new issues. Countries will start looking which products should be produced locally to reduce their dependency on other nations. Therefore efficiency will no longer be top priority in the procurement policies, as robustness and interdependencies are.

Both China and the Netherlands have invested a lot in an efficient food production system, as actually many other nations have. In some areas the trend among consumers for locally produced food is increasing.This is mainly meant to help local producers and for environmental reasons, but recent learnings with respect to robustness and interdependencies are likely to accelerate this trend.




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