By MURIMI GITARI
The packaging technology better known as CARGOLITE™ a new concept in flower packaging has immensely penetrated the Kenyan flower industry and now introducing the concept to the Ethiopian growers.
Martin Kabaka, Cargolite™ Sales and Marketing Manager in Kenya has witnessed the introduction and the growth of the concept in Kenya and its implementation in the flower industry. It was first introduced to the Oserian Development Company Ltd by Amnon Zamir, Cargolite™ R&D Manager and by the CEO of Cargolite™ John Kowarsky. Martin was then working as a project manager for Oserian.
“We were able to identify Cargolite™ compatibility with customer specification and packhouse operation and it is at this point that Chris Lindley, the then operations manager approved trials. We started conducting small trials in the first phase which were successful prompting us to go to the second phase of semi-commercial trials and eventually graduated to commercial trials pertaining sending aircraft pallets to Rose connect in Holland,” Mr. Kabaka says.
Several aircraft pallets were also sent to International Procurement Logistics (IPL) in UK from Oserian and later IPL adopted the concept. Numerous farms like Karen Roses, Branan Flowers and Shalimar Flowers adopted the use of the new packaging concept.
Oserian became the first farm in the world to use Cargolite™ technology commercially which later spread to other farms. IPL is the first buyer in the world to adopt the concept and later other buyers “have joined the club”.
“The concept fell into good and very safe hands at Oserian, a flower farm that pioneers technology in the horticulture industry and shared the same with other farms unconditionally.” Mr. Kabaka adds.
The flower farms and buyers adopted Cargolite™ concept to resolve issues revolving around high freight costs due to the adoption of the volumetric calculation by forwarders and also the ever-increasing packaging costs. An increase in pack rates of flowers is realized because no SFK’s are used thereby creating more space for flowers, leading to better weights and consequently a reduction of freight and packaging cost as compared to other boxes. Palletizing the cartons at source minimizes the number of times each carton is handled, enabling the Cargolite™ concept to derive these savings for the flower industry.
“The farms and buyers save on packaging cost emanating from packing without SFK and the use of fewer boxes compared to standard boxes. Extra freight cost caused by the introduction of volumetric weights calculation have also been instrumental in Cargolite’s™ success.” Martin explains.
Recently a Norwegian buyer; Mester Gronn adopted Cargolite™ technology after successful trials with Penta Flowers that is now using Cargolite™ technology. Consequently, Primarosa Flowers, Winchester Farm, Maji Mazuri Farm, Molo River Roses, Waridi Farm, Finlay Flowers and Eco Roses are now packing using the concept.
Early this year, Cargolite™ partnered with ACME Containers Ltd a plastic products manufacturer in Kenya. ACME played the role of making the plastic frames, distributing Cargolite™ accessories, marketing Cargolite™ concept and offering technical support to farms using the packaging concept in the country and in East Africa. However, the partnership ended in July, due to the very sad passing away of the owner, Mr Mukesh Shah. Mr Shah, a man with incredible foresight, believed wholeheartedly in the Cargolite project! The passing away forced Cargolite™ to operate on its own, trading under the daughter company, Njotland Marketing and Export Company Ltd.
Plastic frames are still being manufactured by Acme and recently Acme developed a lightweight plastic pallet for Cargolite™ concept that is in the trial phase now. The pallet weighs 50 percent less than wooden pallet thus saving on freight costs.
The carton manufactures in Kenya play a key role in Cargolite™ concept. The Cargolite™ cartons are being produced by many corrugated box manufacturers in Kenya. The farms and buyers are at liberty to choose the manufacturer they want to buy from. Then Cargolite™ Technical Manager submits the design and liaises with manufacturers to ensure that the box is made to specification.
Freight forwarders were not left behind re the handling of Cargolite™. Panalpina, Kuehne Nagel, Morgan Cargo are handling Cargolite™ shipments successfully. Other forwarders can handle the packaging concept as well, further undergoing a short training period.
Having had talks with the Ethiopian Airlines Cargo Department to introduce the concept in Ethiopia, Cargolite™ conducted trials in the last quarter of last year. Commercial trials are underway during the third quarter of this year. Around 20 air-craft pallets will be airlifted from Ethiopia to Europe.
This packaging technology was developed in Israel but tried and developed in Kenya as the country is one of the biggest producers of flowers in the world. It has so far gained ground since its inception in the country 5 years ago and has become a major contributor to reduce the carbon footprint, enabling exporters and growers to contribute, as well, to the very important environmental and sustainability aspects of the flower industry.
Long live Cargolite™