Cold Chain Update: Coronavirus continues supply chain disruptions

As the COVID-19 pandemic disrupts supply chains in the United States and around the world, shippers must find alternative ways to keep their supply chains intact, especially when cargo is time- or temperature-sensitive.

“When it comes to food logistics, our responsibility is to find a way, to create a solution, to not disrupt the supply chain, and adhere to food safety and cold chain maintenance,” said Steve Taylor, AIT Worldwide Logistics director of sales, Food Division. “Taking those additional measures to protect our supply chain and to protect our employees is most important.”

On the inaugural episode of Cold Chain Update, presented by AIT Worldwide Logistics, FreightWaves market expert and analyst Zach Strickland connected with Taylor to discuss supply chain constraints as coronavirus concerns grow and how AIT has responded to the crisis.

Taylor highlighted the continuing struggle for cold chain suppliers to support their restaurant customers. Although reports indicate a 50%-70% downturn in food-service operations, a saving grace for suffering restaurants has been their ability to maintain delivery services and curbside pickups.

Domestic capacity has also bottlenecked on the retail side, according to Taylor, but he noted these constraints have presented opportunities for AIT to support truckload transactions for its retail clients through its subsidiary truckload brokerage, Summit Expedited Logistics.

Chicago-based AIT Worldwide Logistics provides sea, air and ground supply chain solutions for market sectors including aerospace, cold chain, government, health care, residential and retail. Its logistics network consists of 60 offices globally, with regional headquarters in London and Hong Kong.

As a global leader in supply chain solutions, AIT is no stranger to contingency planning and navigating adverse market conditions.

During the height of the coronavirus outbreak in China, one of AIT’s customers faced heavy delays in shipping containers of avocados to a major Hong Kong grocery store chain. The cargo eventually spoiled so the customer reached out to AIT for assistance.

AIT was able to quickly create a solution for the customer by working with its Mexico offices and commercial air partners to deliver large volumes of the fruit directly into Hong Kong without any hassle, Taylor explained.