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Wilheim Meyer - Hamburg's latest entry in warehousing.

Hamburg's Hafen may seem like a simple destination to drivers--just follow the signs which display a ship. Sure, getting to the Hafen is simple, the tricky part is just where to go once you're inside. Finding a warehouse may seem like a basic task, but when looking for a huge warehouse facility, among many other huge facilities, the task is rather daunting. Nevertheless, Wilheim Meyer was fairly easy for me to locate --its facility looks just like the photo in their advertisements.

Wilheim Meyer is one of the latest entries into coffee handling. The company was established in 1840 and boasts of being over 150 years old. It is privately owned b the Rahm family. The facilities warehouse both coffee and cocoa, of which two thirds is cocoa and one third remains reserved for coffee.

The firm only started handling coffee about three years ago, said Hubert Lichter, coffee and cocoa trade service director of Wilheim Meyer. While the decision to enter the coffee business was decided much earlier, it was the collapse of coffee quotas in 1989 that heavily influenced the company to go into the coffee industry. Higher stocks were expected amongst the importing and roasting community, helping the company make up their mind to enter into coffee. As a result, the company built a 16-17,000 ton capacity silo to service several German coffee roasters.

New silo and technical equipment was installed in the facility for the bags to be stripped from the container--they are not handled by human hands. The new automatic container unloading systems handle 80 tons or 1,300 bags of coffee per hour and cuts handling time by about 75%. Bag capacity in the facility is currently 55,000 sq. meters of shed, whereof about 15,000 bags are reserved for coffee, but they can hold up to 1/2 million bags. Since the reunification of Germany, space in Hamburg is limited and as a result, storage rates have shot up.

The company receives goods exvessel in bags. Several bulk shipments have come into the facility, but Lichter tells me some roasters have finished experimenting and Meyer expects regular bulk shipments from traders.

A need for sampling and blending facilities was the reason for the installation of a silo.

Cleanings for cocoa and coffee differ. While coffee is perhaps dustier than cocoa, it is not as dirty, Lichter tells me. Coffee needs to be cleaned of sticks and stones. Meyer does this upon request before the coffee is transferred into the silo. Cleaning and reconditioning is part of the company's services--with appropriate personnel and machinery.

Roasters pick up coffee in silo trucks. Meyer has an extensive truck fleet and does deliveries. They also work with forwarding agents.

Origin countries most seen coming into the Hamburg's port are coffee shipments from Colombia--about 250,000 tons--and Kenya. Coffee is re-shipped out to the U.S., London, Switzerland, France, and the Netherlands. The number of chartered vessels coming into the port area from origin countries are increasing. Usually shipping companies offer low rates and than, in turn, charge high freight handling costs. Unfortunately, traders are often surprised at the high costs.

Up-to-date Handling

Meyer is quite proud of its new commodity center in the free port of Hamburg, filling a gap in up-to-date handling of cocoa and coffee.

"Equipped with one of the fastest and most modern fully automatic handling gear, the large area terminal on Hachmannkai guarantees shorter laydays, faster working processes and full service. The company unloads goods by cranes at the quayside and lifts them directly to their conveyor belts. One single process serves to reject damaged bags, weigh the remaining ones electronically, palletize and forward them to the fork-lift trucks, check quality, clean and blend the coffee ready for roasting, and transport goods by their own trucks, forwarding them checked and sealed by train, truck, container, barge or sea-going vessel to any destination," said the company.

Wilheim Meyer may be new in the coffee warehouse scene, but the company is surely equipped to handle the commodity.
COPYRIGHT 1992 Lockwood Trade Journal Co., Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1992 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Wilheim Meyer and Cons GmbH's warehousing services for coffee and cocoa in Germany
Author:McCabe, Jane
Publication:Tea & Coffee Trade Journal
Date:Nov 1, 1992
Words:674
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