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Cold Chain Logistics: Quality Specifications and Export Documentation Elements Defined, The Cold Supply Chain Series Part 2

In the first post in the Cold Supply Chain series, I discussed cold chain logistics requirements for temperature, sanitization, and traceability of frozen food at all stages of the cold supply chain. There are many factors in the cold supply chain and in cold chain logistics one must know in order to meet the requirements of your customers, but more importantly of the FDA's Food and Safety Modernization act.  When working in-house with supply chain colleagues and those in the logistics department, make sure they are aware of the following information, as these are great considerations to understand when working through cold chain logistics.

Quality Specifications in Cold Chain Logistics

  • Quality specifications are set by the exporter or can be part of the customer specifications in the purchase order/agreement.
  • It is relatively easy to measure “stability” of frozen food; the same is not true for quality.
  • Gas chromatography (GC) is used in studying aroma and flavor because it can detect which compounds were responsible for the sensory effects and how much of each component was present. CG is used for flavor and food chemistry.
  • ACS, or your forwarder/US Customs, can check with FDA/USDA for required certification and any quality requirements.
  • The customer will check the temperature and quality as it is received and record this data. If there is a problem the customer will notify the exporter.

Frozen Food Export Documentation Required

In Cold Chain Logistics, you will undoubtedly work with a forwarder to ship your frozen food. The following describes a relationship with a forwarder and their role, as well as a customs broker, and some key definitions and elements in the cold chain logistics process of exporting frozen food:

  • Freight Forwarders: Acts as an agent for the exporter in moving cargo to the overseas destination. These agents are familiar with the import rules of the foreign countries, methods of shipping, government export regulations, and the documents connected with foreign trade. CH Robinson has their own freight forwarder. The supplier has to engage a forwarder for an export shipment. The forwarder can give you export freight chargers, port charges, consular fees, cost of special export documentation and insurance costs as well as their handling fees which help you in preparing price quotations. The forwarder can ensure that all documents are in order for the export to your customer. The freight forwarder can have your goods delivered to the carrier in time for loading on the vessel. They can prepare the bill of lading and any special documentation needed for the customer and country.
  • After shipping they forward all documents directly to your customer or to the bank, if desired by you.
  • The Customs broker works with the freight forwarder and ensures that the goods comply with customs export documentation and regulations. Your forwarder should check with US Customs about export customs requirements for your particular commodity: frozen food, and insure that you are in customs compliance for your export shipment.
  • The Forwarder/US Customs can keep you abreast of the potential dock strike February 7, 2013.
  • In packing items for export, you should be aware of the demands that exporting puts on a package. Four problems must be kept in mind when an export shipping crate is being designed: BREAKAGE, WEIGHT, MOISTURE and PILFERAGE.
  • Moisture is a constant problem because cargo is subject to condensation even in the hold of a ship equipped with air conditioning and a dehumidifier. The cargo could also be unloaded in the rain and some foreign ports do not have covered storage facilities. Unless cargo is adequately protected, theft and pilferage are constant treats. You must use the services of a good freight forwarder to manage these issues for you, the exporter or your Supplier or a 3PL forwarder.

Definitions & Elements in Export Process of Cold Chain Logistics

  • Commercial Invoice: Bill for the goods from the buyer to the seller
  • Bill of Lading: Contract between the owner of the goods and the carrier. The customer needs a copy as proof of ownership of the goods.
  • Consular Invoice: To control and identify goods. The invoice must be purchased from the consulate of the country to which goods are being shipped and usually must be prepared in the  Language of that country.
  • Certificate of origin: A signed statement as to the origin of the export item. You can get this from the local chamber of commerce.
  • Inspection certificate: This attests to the specifications of the goods shipped, typically performed by a third party/independent testing organization.
  • Dock receipt and warehouse receipt: These receipts are used to transfer accountability when the export item is moved by the domestic carrier to the port of embarkation and left with the international carrier for export.
  • Destination control statement: This appears on the commercial invoice, ocean. or air bill of lading to notify the carrier and all foreign parties that the cargo may be exported only to a certain destination.
  • Insurance Certificate: CRITICAL for LIABILITY: If the seller provides insurance, the insurance certificate states the type and amount of coverage.
  • Export license: Ask freight forwarder: only when required.
  • Export packing list: Itemizes the material in each package and indicates the type of package: box, crate, drum, carton, etc. Shows net, legal, tare and gross weights and measurement of each package. This includes package markings. The packing list should be attached to the outside in a waterproof envelope marked, “packing slip enclosed” The details in this list must be precise.
  • Health Insurance certificate: Some countries require health certificates as to the conditions of the goods shipped. Consult with the freight forwarder.
  • Inspection report before crating/shipping shipping: Ask the freight forwarder if required
  • Export declaration: State the value of the cargo/goods if the shipment exceeds $ 2000.
  • FDA/USDA Certification: Check with your forwarder/broker on the essential FDA/USDA Certification required for exporting or call FDA/USDA for the necessary requirements
  • Electronic Export Information (EEI) is the electronic export data as filed in the Automated Export System (AES). This data is the electronic equivalent of the export data formerly collected as the Shipper’s Export Declaration (SED). This information is now mandated to be filed through the Automated Export System. Check with your forwarder or US Customs. The Supplier, forwarder/3PL must have a written authorization from ACS to file this data.
  • File a Shippers Letter of Instruction (form 7525V: available from the Supplier, 3PL, forwarder or US Customs). The forwarder typically finishes the completion of this form for ACS after the basic data is completed by ACS/Exporter of record.
  • Request for Food Consignment Release permit: This permit is required in Dubai to enable ACS to obtain an approval to release food consignment from Dubai ports for local markets: Check with the forwarder/US Customs for this permit

In tomorrow's third and final post on the Cold Supply Chain and Cold Chain Logistics, I will cover the liability considerations as well as label and markings considerations when shipping frozen food.

Please feel free to leave a comment, or send me an email with any questions at cmiconsulting93@gmail.com or feel free to .

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Chuck Intrieri

3PL Consultant at
Mr. Chuck Intrieri is a highly experienced and credentialed Supply Chain Management professional and is a recognized thought leader and innovator, primarily in the areas of Supply Chain Optimization, LEAN initiatives, Operations, Manufacturing, Third Party Logistics (3PL) International Purchasing/Importing, Inventory Management and Logistics, Strategic Sourcing, and Procurement Operations.
Chuck Intrieri

Chuck Intrieri

Chuck Intrieri
  • Chain logistics has really many requirements for a better process and the like. Thanks for sharing some ideas for specifications and certain standards. Keep it up!

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