LATAM Cargo refreshes its Fresh product

Due to formal restrictions, LATAM Cargo was not able to offer the market its FRESH and FRESH Active product on westbound flights taking from Europe to Latin America. However, the hurdles have been set aside now so the embargo is history, illustrates Jorge Carretero (JC), Sales Director Central Europe, LATAM Cargo. Hence, both products can now be booked on transatlantic flights operated by the Santiago, Chile-based cargo carrier.

Jorge Carretero, Sales Director Central Europe, LATAM Cargo, welcomes the rebranding of FRESH and FRESH ACTIVE. It increases transparency, he states – picture: courtesy of LATAM Cargo

CFG: Jorge, what was the problem with your Fresh product in Europe?

JC: We have offered FRESH in the past. But mentioning precise temperature data on the Air Waybill for perishables and other critical goods flying westbound was not permitted. Hence, in Europe we accepted and transported the consignments under the product name KEEP Cool.

But since 27NOV, customers can specify the required temperatures for their product on the AWB, i.e. 2C-8C or 15C-25C. This creates transparency and simplifies the processes for everyone involved. In line with this change, we have decided to rebrand this product segment, i.e. FRESH and FRESH Active.

CFG: What exactly is the difference between FRESH and FRESH ACTIVE? For outsiders, this double freshness sounds a bit confusing.

JC: The reason for the availability of two FRESH care options is because each of them caters to different needs. Also, they differ in the types of packaging that is required, comparable to shipments from the pharmaceutical and healthcare industries. To better explain this: When cargo is tendered in passive packaging, we provide FRESH 2C-8C or FRESH 15C-25C. This way, we offer a robust solution within the temperature range requested. Secondly, we minimize the times in which temperature sensitive cargo shipments may be placed outside of cool chambers or temperature-controlled areas, when processed on tarmacs, for instance.

However, when it comes to FRESH ACTIVE, the product requires that our clients ship their perishables on active temperature-controlled containers to ensure an uninterrupted cold chain. This we enable through our agreements with international container suppliers such as Envirotainer, DoKaSch, and CSafe.

CFG:  Can pharma shipments be booked as FRESH or FRESH Active respectively, or only in combination with Express?

JC: No, our FRESH care is specialized for the transportation of perishable cargo, following the IATA recommendations in the perishable cargo regulations (PCR). For the transportation of pharmaceutical and healthcare products, we offer our CEIV Pharma certified care options of PHARMA and PHARMA ACTIVE.

CFG: Understood. So FRESH Active shipments require a special container for transportation to ensure a constant climate during the entire trip. Does LATAM Cargo intend to purchase cool boxes, managing the ULD fleet on its own, or is leasing, implying additional fees, the preferred option fitting individual transport needs?

JC: In the case of FRESH Active, at LATAM Cargo we offer the alternative of managing the container lease by collaborating with the above-mentioned providers of cool boxes. The cost of the lease itself depends on the type of container and duration of the lease. These specifics are fully clarified with our clients before booking. So they can sit back and relax knowing that their product fits the cool box it requires for safe air transportation.

CFG: Are all international stations currently serviced by LATAM Cargo capable of managing the demanding FRESH Active product? After all, the ULD’s temperatures have to be monitored, batteries recharged, local handling personnel must be trained and certified, tarmac times must be held extremely limited etc.

JC: We offer this service at most of our stations within our international network. This depends on the local infrastructure, the capacity and the personnel whether they have been trained and certified for handling this demanding commodity. Hence, it depends on various factors as to whether we activate a station for the FRESH product. After all, we don’t compromise on safety and performance because we ensure our customers that we deliver a reliable and scalable transportation solution. To avoid mistakes, it is recommendable to visit the FRESH section on our website, where the stations are listed that handle the product.

CFG: In case of hiccups, active communication with customers is key. Is LATAM Cargo setting up a dedicated team always monitoring the transport of the cool boxes to prevent errors, mismanagement, and claims?

JC: At LATAM Cargo we strive to reduce temperature changes jeopardizing the integrity of a sensitive FRESH shipment to the best of our ability. In the case of contingencies, we have clearly defined processes to handle the hiccups right on the spot, this way limiting the time the goods are exposed to heat or frost. It goes without saying that in such a case the consignment is stored in a proper cooler while the contingency is resolved. Let me emphasize that our warehouses are technically also equipped to monitor any temperature deviations. This assures to keep the storage temperature within the required ranges and allows immediate action in case of deviations.

CFG: Cargo shipments travel one way. RAP or RKN cool containers must be brought back following a mission. How does LATAM Cargo organize the timely return of the boxes?

JC: Right at the booking process, the return of a cool box is taken care of by a dedicated team within LATAM Cargo. The client is informed about the estimated time the return process needs, so that he knows when the container is available again after the box has been thoroughly cleaned upon arrival. The entire return process is coordinated by our ULD team, whose experts are monitoring all container movements within our network. It is them who organize the return process of leased DoKaSch, Envirotainer or CSafe cool boxes utilized by LATAM Cargo for our FRESH products.

CFG: Jorge, thank you for your time and the information provided.

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