Original Research

Analysing temperature protocol deviations in pome fruit export cold chains: A Western Cape case

Leila L. Goedhals-Gerber, Savia Fedeli, Frances E. van Dyk
Journal of Transport and Supply Chain Management | Vol 15 | a626 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/jtscm.v15i0.626 | © 2021 Leila L. Goedhals-Gerber, Savia Fedeli, Frances E. van Dyk | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 18 June 2021 | Published: 16 November 2021

About the author(s)

Leila L. Goedhals-Gerber, Department of Logistics, Economic and Management Sciences, Stellenbosch University, Cape Town, South Africa
Savia Fedeli, Department of Logistics, Economic and Management Sciences, Stellenbosch University, Cape Town, South Africa
Frances E. van Dyk, Department of Logistics, Economic and Management Sciences, Stellenbosch University, Cape Town, South Africa


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Abstract

Background: A major concern plaguing South African pome fruit exporters is the volume of fruit going to waste during the export process. The senescence of fruits and the deterioration in its quality are accelerated by an increase in temperature. Thus, the first step in ultimately extending the shelf life of exported pome fruit and decreasing the risk of rejections is to ensure constant temperature control.

Objectives: The study investigated the severity of temperature protocol deviations within the apple and pear export cold chains from the Western Cape, South Africa to the Netherlands. The study was undertaken in 2018 for Company X, an international fruit exporting firm, to improve the efficiency of its cold chains.

Method: The research conducted temperature trials starting as close to the farm as possible and concluding as close to the end consumer as possible. Pulp and ambient temperature probes were inserted into and around the fruit to monitor export temperature profiles.

Results: Firstly, the trial results show that non-compliance with temperature protocols occurred more often along the pome fruit export cold chain than initially anticipated. Secondly, the position within the pallet where the temperature breaks occurred highlighted an issue of heat retention resulting from unintentional oversights early in the cold chain. The study also identified areas of possible improvements where management could mitigate senescence factors.

Conclusion: The study concluded that the efficient and effective functioning of a cold chain depends on cumulative efforts by all the supply chain partners rather than on the efforts of a single partner.


Keywords

cold chain; fresh fruit exports; pome fruit; South Africa; temperature; temperature breaks

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