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Future seen in bulk 'coffee stuffing'.

Future seen in bulk `coffee stuffing'

This year the magazine met with Policon, a Brazilian company that specializes in cargo shipments at origin. Its coffee division operates in Brazil, Ecuador and Colombia, through Politrans, Polimodal, Policargo and Policontesa. In 1990, two more countries will be added to the company's repertoire.

Policon has introduced several new procedures such as weighing, moisture, container inspections, bulk and special procedures to protect coffee in containers.

With regard to bulk, the company estimates having stuffed around 400 containers in the past four years.

As Laura Coimbra, Policon vice president - operations, states the key elements for Policon's success are the tight control on every detail that involves coffee stuffing and a well tuned team in those countries.

Fernando Cubillos, operation manager of Policontesa from Guayaquil, says that the most important step taken by Policon, in that country, was the careful container inspections prior to stuffing. For the first time Ecuador will start stuffing coffee "house to house" to the U.S.

On the other hand, Lauro Laperriere, Polimodal director in Vitoria declares that Policon tough container standards cause problems with steamship lines that do not like to see their containers rejected. According to Laperriere, this has caused Polimodal to lose some business.

In Santos, where Policon's main computer records are, Luiz Matias who is director of Datasea Computer Systems emphasizes the careful computer controls hired by Policon to monitor all its shipments out of Brazil. He exemplified by having our correspondent pick up one container number at random and, after it was typed, all related information was on the screen:

* All inspections, its dates and damages reported;

* Quarantine records of when first and second inspections were executed;

* Shipment deatils of prior voyages;

* Coffee moisture levels;

* Weighing records;

* Packing lists with full importer, vessel, exporter and coffee details;

* All information pertinent to the day to day operation.

* All information provided to customer.

In Santos, Reginaldo Figueiredo, Politrans operations director, although admitting how good Policon container standards are, claims that a careful job is sometimes not understood by the lines and by the exporters when their bags or containers are rejected.

Policon keeps their "black list" which monitors all containers that carried poison, toxic and radioactive materials, etc. in the past, as well as containers which developed odors after the quarantine. Over 10,000 containers under those conditions in that list are continually updated and it's used to avoid any of those containers to be stuffed for Policon's customers.

Coimbra told us the black list is useful as just in that week she could stop three contaminated containers to be stuffed in Ecuador.

Finally, we talked to Carlos Matias, whose view of coffee stuffing is very clear:

* Bags must be perfect, with right moisture, quality and weight (if in Brazil), prior to stuffing.

* containers must be good, clean and odor free.

The best example was in Ecuador where Policon reduced claims from 20 percent to less than one percent.

Today he says Policon has lost some business due to its tough standards. some exporters have moved to more flexible terminals although it is still second to none in coffee volume.

Still, as per Carlos Matias, Policon is always at its customer disposal with a large multilingual staff able to answer any question referring to shipments or any related subject in all their worldwide offices.

Carlos Matias devises the future as being a mixture of bulk, big bags and regular bags. He expects only the large U.S. roasters will be able to do it, receiving bulk containers directly to its own or contracted silos. One or two ton big bags will also be used for the smaller roasters stuffed at an independent silo company, in the gulf and the east coast.

Europe is ready in Trieste (Silocaf) and Bremen. (Kaffeelagerei). They operate at 100 percent of their capacity, those companies and others will certainly build more silos in European ports, being Rotterddam most likely the first one, after Vitoria in Brazil.

Large roasters in Europe are already doing their own tests with Policon. Countries like Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador and Costa Rica where Policon can do bulk, will no doubt offer their coffee at better prices as importers will have lower costs when receiving it.

Matias feels more than ever an independent party will be a must to guarantee everything will be in order prior to shipment and expects the future will see coffee being sold for importer's appointed terminals, at certain quality/moisture, at origin countries.

In countries where coffee is bought shipping weights, independent terminals should weigh coffee, which means: A bag should have 60 or 70 kg at an agreed moisture, or else shipper should be debited/credited accordingly.

From its Miami office, Policon is monitoring all house to house containers to Houston, New Orleans and Jacksonville. In Miami, all intermodal containers to other locations are forwarded.

PHOTO : Paper lining being place in Guayaquil

PHOTO : Politrans Stuffing Terminal in Santos

PHOTO : Politrans computer dept. in Santos

PHOTO : Polimodal terminal in Victoria
COPYRIGHT 1990 Lockwood Trade Journal Co., Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1990 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:transporting coffee
Publication:Tea & Coffee Trade Journal
Date:Jan 1, 1990
Previous Article:Belgium: a closer look at coffee's image.
Next Article:There's alot of coffee in Laredo.

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