How can you optimize your logistics in the agrifood industry?

11 Jan 2022
Estimated reading time : 4 minutes
How can you optimize your logistics in the agrifood industry?
11 Jan 2022
Estimated reading time : 4 minutes

How can you optimize your logistics in the agrifood industry?

Your geographical zone and installation site are key factors in the success of your agrifood development project.
Market accessibility is obviously a vital aspect. You’ll need to assess different geographical zones according to the logistical capacities they can offer you.


From this point of view, the goal is clear: to make sure that your products arrive as quickly and as efficiently as possible on supermarket shelves or to your clients. However, there are multiple ways to achieve this.


Depending on your product, strategy, expertise, and many other criteria, you may choose to internalize your logistics, outsource them, or use a hybrid model.



In this article, we’ll tell you about these different options. You’ll also learn how the Hauts-de-France Region can respond to your logistical needs, no matter what your choice may be.


Logistical issues in the agrifood industry

From supply to distribution, logistics are a central issue for agrifood companies. The very nature of food products subjects the agrifood industry to specific obligations.


From one end of the logistics chain to the other, industry players must be able to guarantee the quality, safety, and traceability of their products. Product expiration dates mean that the slightest delay in distribution can affect the company’s results and must be avoided.

Furthermore, agrifood logistics must also address issues that are specific to food preservation and shipping, such as:

  • Hygiene standards
  • Maintaining a continuous cold chain
  • Progressive thawing
  • Temperature constraints
  • etc…


Integrated, outsourced or hybrid logistics: what possibilities do they offer?

Faced with the challenges of agrifood logistics, stakeholders do not respond in a single way. While some companies decide to integrate their logistics, others prefer to collaborate with a specialized service provider.


The agrifood industry logistics scene is not just a binary system, however; many companies opt for a hybrid middle ground between internalization and outsourcing.


Logistical decisions do not necessarily depend on the nature of the products alone. In the beverage industry, for example, Coca-Cola has a strategically located bottling facility near Dunkerque, in the Hauts-de-France Region. This facility plays a major role in product distribution to the company’s French and Benelux outposts. On the other hand, other players have opted for a totally outsourced logistics or, sometimes, the outsourcing of bottling.


The ice cream giant Häagen-Dazs employs a hybrid solution for its Arras plant. The site includes a production factory with an integrated logistics unit (buffer storage). In addition, the group outsources part of its logistics and transport.


In these hybrid models, the outsourced skills can vary. Some companies outsource shipping while others outsource deep-freezing or a part of their storage capacity. Many different possibilities exist along the spectrum between the total internalization and the total outsourcing of logistics operations.


The choice depends on the company’s wishes and its delivery requirements. That said, the general trend in the agrifood industry is to outsource all or part of the logistics process.


What are the Hauts-de-France Region’s advantages for agrifood logistics?

First of all, the Hauts-de-France Region benefits from an advantageous geographical position at the center of a wide and flourishing consumer catchment area. The proximity of markets and grocery store clients is an important asset in the management of tight delivery deadlines.


The region is also equipped with a diversified transport infrastructure. The planned opening of the Seine Nord canal in 2027 will hopefully provide an answer to the growing logistical issue of reducing the agrifood industry’s carbon footprint.


But above all, the region is capable of meeting all of your needs, whether you choose to integrate your logistics or entrust them to an external service provider.


The Hauts-de-France Region has a considerable supply of logistics real estate to offer, including ambient, fresh, cold, and extra-cold storage facilities. New development programs are currently underway. Greenfield space with direct connections to highway, railroad, river and maritime transport infrastructure networks is also available in Hauts-de-France.


Here are a few examples in this field of expertise:

  • The Port de Dunkerque (or Port of Dunkirk), France’s 3rd largest port and the most important one for fruit and vegetable shipping, provides well-developed logistical resources, including a climate-controlled stacker crane warehouse. The Conhexa group has set up two platforms at the Port of Dunkirk, one positive refrigeration platform for fruit (especially bananas) and one negative refrigeration platform.


  • The Gare de Marée maritime terminal, located in Boulogne-sur-Mer’s Capécure sea fishing zone, provides a consolidated platform for seafood storage and shipping. The terminal is 500 meters long and contains 110 loading stations, allowing for the simultaneous reception and loading of 110 trucks with an annual traffic of more than 300,000 tons. Logistics service providers directly installed at the Gare de Marée include Copromer Delanchy, Tradimar, and Bring Frigo Scandia. The terminal provides connections to more than 100 destinations in France and Europe.


The region is also positioning itself with regards to the notion of logistical manufacturing plants, with sites that facilitate the integration of manufacturing and logistics within the same supply chain on the same premises. Examples include the development of high bay and automated refrigeration warehouses for optimized storage.


Finally, for companies looking to outsource some or all of their logistics, the region offers an extremely dense service network of storage and shipping providers.


Haut-de-France’s strategic geographical position, which allows it to serve 78 million consumers within a 300 km radius and also benefit from a dynamic local economy supported by important clients especially in the agrifood industry, has encouraged leading logistics and shipping providers to set up major platforms in the region. These include DHL, STEF TFE, XPO, TNT, Geodis, and Keuhne + Nagel, as well as Norfrigo and Conhexa, to name just a few.


Why choose Hauts-de-France to set up your agrifood business?


The impact of logistics on choosing a location

Logistical limitations and decisions have a major impact on an agrifood company’s choice of premises. Agrifood industry players therefore try to find ways to shorten shipping time, particularly through the use of barycentric mapping.


Lately, we have seen companies seeking to get closer to their clients by going through smaller facilities (such as small hubs and secondary warehouses) to gain denser territorial coverage.


Right from the start of their installation assessments, companies also begin working on logistical routes. They ask themselves in advance which logistics service providers they can collaborate with. The choice of a zone with a dense service provider network is therefore preferred, provided, of course, that these service providers can work within the limitations of the agrifood industry and are accustomed to managing grocery store deliveries, temperature constraints, speed, safety, traceability, etc.


With all these industry-specific issues in mind, logistics are clearly a key criterion when choosing a location for any agrifood development project.


Whether you wish to integrate or outsource your logistics chain, you’ll need to choose an installation site within a zone that offers adequate facilities and/or service providers.


With its advantageous geographical position, infrastructure and shipping network, varied facilities, and wide choice of logistics service providers, the Hauts-de-France region can guarantee long-lasting logistical solutions.


Explore our agrifood logistics page.


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