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Focus on Benelux: Eurofrigo coldstore links up with Japanese giant Nichirei.

Focus on Benelux: Eurofrigo Coldstore Links Up With Japanese Giant Nichirei

An in depth, from-the-field report on the frozen food

business at Europe's gateway. On the processor front, Campbell takes over Morubel NV/SA to strengthen Continental foothold.

Though small geographically, the Benelux nations loom comparatively large in the world of frozen foods. And recent months have witnessed a magnification in the clout of companies in the region's FF chain following an outbreak of merger-and acquisition-mania. The newly announced marriage between coldstore operator Eurofrigo BV and Nichirei Corporation, Japan's largest public refrigerated warehouser, reflects this trend.

Harry Kloosterboer, Eurofrigo managing director, told Quick Frozen Foods International that the new Pacific link is bound to bolster the traffic of Far East imports and exports that pass through his distribution facilities in Rotterdam, Amsterdam and Roermond.

In Holland there are some 135 public coldstores offering 3.5 million cubic meters of storage space. Situated throughout the country with major waterfront warehouses, services run the gamut from discharging, loading, forwarding planning and chartering duties.

For the record, Tokyo-headquartered Nichirei owns over 140 refrigerated warehouses, in Japan and boasts in excess of 96 million cubic feet of capacity. In addition to cold storage and distribution activities, the firm ranks among one of the nation's largest frozen food manufacturers and is active in trading and marketing a wide variety of preserved food products.

It's no secret that Nichirei has liked what it's seen in the style of Eurofrigo. In recent years the Dutch company has been careful not to entangle itself with government intervention goods. A policy of devoting no more than 8% of its business to such inventories has prevented the operation from being hurt by the deterioration of that market.

Responding to a query from QFFI, Koji Shimizu, director of Nichirei's public refrigerated warehouse division, heaped accolades on Kloosterboer: "Through many discussions with him in Tokyo, I have had firm confidence in his ability, know-how and character... Although (we) and Eurofrigo stand at a long distance and have quite different backgrounds, we talk the same language."

On the processing front, USA-headquartered Campbell Soup Co. bought Morubel N.V., the Belgian seafood processor, for an undisclosed sum. The Ostende-based acquisition specializes in supplying frozen shrimp to large retail multiples and foodservice buyers in Belgium, Germany, France, Italy and the United Kingdom. With 1987 sales of some US$ 44 million, Morubel had also been a major supplier to Campbell's seafood division.

Busy Coldstores

QFFI's week-long survey of the Benelux frozen food industry found that despite the early draught felt by the huge reduction in intervention stocks, some coldstore operators are not far away from having to post "full up" signs. A review of some of the area's top warehousing firms follows.

Hiwa BV of Rotterdam is the largest importer of fruit juices on the Continent. Indeed, over 80% of all frozen concentrate coming to Europe from abroad enters through the Port of Rotterdam. Hiwa has two facilities right on the docks: Van Maasdijkseg, which boasts 600,000 cubic meters of capacity, and Ijsselstraat, with 70,000 cubic meters. Sensitive cargoes can be transferred directly from ship to each coldstore.

The company's latest building at Ijselhaven site is 227 meters long and can inventory up to 100,000 barrels of fruit juice at any one time. This coldstore brings the total capacity to 60,000 tons, but even now plans are afoot for further expansion and by the end of 1989 this figure will be raised to 75,000 tons. An increase in bulk storage is also planned.

Hiwa's services do not stop at warehousing, as its in-house mixing equipment can blend up to 25 tons of juice per operation, and just as much can be truck-loaded hourly for inland shipment.

Eye on 1992

Coldstar NV of Londerzeel has unveiled numerous expansion plans. Currently maintaining capacity of 40,000 cubic meters, that figure will soon be doubled. President Lucein Vanwynsberghe told QFFI that his company is oriented toward post-1992, when it expects major trade liberalization and growth after tariffs are removed by European Economic Community member states. One step already taken to gear up has been the installation of modern machinery which should better position the coldstore to compete.

While bulk storage has been a profitable business, Coldstar is always careful to avoid handling too much government-subsidized butter and meat, preferring to concentrate more on the different services required for the overall frozen food industry such as packing, labeling, processing, storage and distribution. The outfit is also active on the marketing front, where it offers professional sales services for FF product movers, including those looking to enter the 25-million population Benelux markets.

Coldstar currently makes more than 500 distribution drops per week. Management has devised an exchange-cooperation system with different transportation organizations throughout Europe. This mutual arrangement permits the company to comply with "local" product conditions regardless of volume, distance or performance.

Flushing Facilities

Van Bon BV successfully operates from the very busy, albeit smaller, Port of Flushing. In addition it runs an inland warehouse at Beneden-Leeuwen, with offices at Rotterdam and Amsterdam. Cold store space measures approximately 220,000 cubic meters, and both depots are conveniently accessible to the main highways which enables smooth trade to all parts of Europe.

Wim Van Bon told QFFI that his company plans to grow in conjunction with the planned extensive development at the Flushing Port Authority. Work is due to start at the operator's existing cold store site to extend the present shipping berth to allow the simultaneous working of three vessels as against the current single service. Adjacent to this berth is 45,000 cubic meters of land for future Van Bon expansion.

Business is not confined to any one section as activities encompass meat, fish, fruit, vegetables and an increasing amount of fruit juices and concentrates. Full service features are offered, including the oversight of loading, land and sea transportation, storage, and packaging. Drum and bulk delivery controls are also provided.

Up North

Daalimpex BV provides cold storage facilities in the north of Holland. Its operation is based in the Polder country, which is famous for potatoes, cabbage and other vegetables. The 125,000 cubic meter warehouse is available for any type of frozen produce, and the company's shock freezer methods make deep-freezing possible down to a temperature of --50|C.

The coldstore's extensive stevedore service is at Bevenwijk, where the harbor offers access to seagoing vessels drawing up to 22 feet of water. Such makes for a good deal of servicing of international shipping.

Crossroads of Commerce

In these days of fast jet travel a debate can be joined as to where, or how many, so-called "Gateways to Europe" exist. However, Benelux's far-reaching claim to that fame is hard to dispute. Consider the following:

Four of the world's top 20 seaports are situated in Belgium and Holland, with Rotterdam being second to none. Several smaller ports are very active, particularly Flushing, which is growing in importance all the time. Geographically, 220 million people live within a radius of 1,000 kilometers (725 miles) of any of these ports. All dockyards have access to modern highways leading to every major connubation area on the Continent.

Rail transport is also growing in stature, as there are now some 550 train terminals throughout Europe. It is envisaged that Rotterdam's railway business will increase from 12% to 20% in the foreseeable future.

Another line of communication open to Rotterdam is inland navigation on the Rhine River. Barges of at least 3,000 TDW can go as far as Basel, Switzerland, which is situated some 830 kilometers (516 miles) from Rotterdam. There are 32 Rhine container terminals in operation between Basel and the Dutch border.

Of course, if urgent delivery of something special is required, then there are the two international airports of Brussels and Amsterdam to route shipments through.

All this activity in distribution does not happen by chance. Detailed planning takes place and specialists operate in this field. One such company is Jac. Meisner International Expeditiebedrifj BV of Rotterdam, which is highly experienced in worldwide forwarding and shipping. Director J.J.H. Rooessen pointed out that distribution and handling of chilled and frozen cargoes requires very careful planning -- particularly in the area of temperature control. Besides ensuring correct distribution bookings, the outfit's duties include superintending, weighing, checking, sampling and making sure that all necessary recording forms are correctly prepared.

PHOTO : An aerial view of a portion of the Port of Rotterdam, which with more than 260 million

PHOTO : tons of cargo handled annually is the world's busiest. The seaport, dotted with

PHOTO : coldstores, stretches nearly 25 miles from end to end.

PHOTO : "Going to sea" the Hiwa BV way is to expand its cold stores outward into the Port of

PHOTO : Rotterdam. This artist's conception portrays the warehouse operation as it will look in

PHOTO : the 1990's. Currently only the buildings on the dock at left are standing.

PHOTO : The proposed extension of Van Bon's berth at the Port of Flushing will enable the

PHOTO : coldstore to handle three vessels at once. Also seen in some 4,500 square meters of land

PHOTO : set aside for future use.

PHOTO : The Daalimpex BV coldstore in Holland's northern Polder country.
COPYRIGHT 1989 E.W. Williams Publications, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1989 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
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Title Annotation:warehousing
Author:Brown, Morrison
Publication:Quick Frozen Foods International
Date:Jan 1, 1989
Previous Article:Nordsee fast fish restaurants changing the face of catering.
Next Article:Benelux potato output growing unabated; vegetable oversupply causes some concern.

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