Identifying temperature breaks in pome fruit and table grape export cold chains from South Africa to the United Kingdom and the Netherlands : a Western Cape case

Fedeli, Savia (2019-12)

Thesis (MCom)--Stellenbosch University, 2019.

Thesis

ENGLISH SUMMARY : There is a growing concern in the South African fruit industry of increasing losses, both financially and of the produce itself, as a result of temperature breaks in the export cold chain. This concern was so significant that an investigative enquiry was prompted by Company X, a prominent fruit exporter, into the origins of temperature breaks within their export cold chains of apples, pears and table grapes from the Western Cape, South Africa to The Netherlands and the United Kingdom. Two rounds of observations were conducted. Firstly, in South Africa at the farms, pack houses, cold stores and Cape Town Container Terminal. Secondly, in Europe at the Port of Rotterdam and the first European cold store. Further analysis was done through the temperature trials conducted from February to July 2018. This enabled a deductive, mixed methods research approach where the qualitative data aided the understanding of the quantitative data. The data analysed began from the pack houses in South Africa and concluded at the first distribution centre within the country of import. The analysis of the data collected highlighted and confirmed suspected areas prone to temperature breaks as well as identified new, unsuspected areas. Three chief problem areas of the South Africa leg, across all three fruit kinds, were identified. These include the pack house and cold store, in and around the gate-in point of the container at port and just prior to the vessels Actual Time of Departure (ATD). A further three problem areas were identified in the pome fruit trials only. These included just after Actual Time of Arrival (ATA) of the vessel, during the barge stage and at the point where the container was destuffed. The impacts of the unsuspected heat gained, especially by the pome fruit, in the initial stages of the cold chains were shown to have far reaching and long-lasting, detrimental effects for entire pallets and thus, ultimately the entire containers. A further key insight gained was the importance of fruit respiration rates and its relationship with temperature. The research provided key insights into identifying weak links within the export cold chains of deciduous fruit. The results of the research demonstrated this with the number of temperature breaks, their frequency and durations recorded within certain stages as well as detrimental effects on the quality of the fruit. Company X can use the findings of the research to adjust current practices to prevent temperature breaks from occurring in future and diminish the quality of the final product. Furthermore, with the insights of Company X, the efficiency of the entire export cold chain as a whole could be improved. This increase in efficiency could lead to possible financial incentives such as cost savings, environmental savings such as cooling efficiency and reduction in food waste as well as even possibly a higher quality end product with a longer shelf life.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING : Daar bestaan toenemende kommer in die Suid-Afrikaanse vrugtebedryf oor die jaarlikse verliese wat die bedryf lei as gevolg van temperatuuronderbrekings in die uitvoerkoueketting. Hierdie verliese is so beduidend dat Onderneming X, 'n gesiene vrugte-uitvoerder, ‘n ondersoek geloots het om die oorsake van temperatuuronderbrekings in hul uitvoerkouekettings van appels, pere en tafeldruiwe, wat vanaf die Wes-Kaap, Suid-Afrika na Nederland en die Verenigde Koninkryk verskeep word, te bepaal. Waarnemings was verdeel oor twee sessies. Die eerste sessie was in Suid-Afrika op die plase, pak huise, koelkamers en in die Kaapstad Hawe se vraghouer terminaal. Tweedens, in Europa, in die hawe van Rotterdam en gedurende die verplasing na die eerste Europese koelkamer. Addisionele inligting is ingesamel deur middel van temperatuur steekproewe gedurende Februarie en Julie 2018. Hierdie inligting het 'n proses van elliminasie en ‘n gemengde metodes-navorsingsbenadering moontlik gemaak waar kwalitatiewe data die kwantitatiewe gegewens ondersteun het. Dataversameling het in die Suid-Afrikaanse pakhuise begin en geëindig by die eerste distribusiesentrum in die invoerende land. Die data-analise het die areas wat geneig is tot temperatuuronderbrekings geïdentifiseer en bevestig, asook nuwe onverwagte areas uitgewys. Die drie belangrikste probleemareas van die Suid-Afrikaanse been, oor al drie vrugtesoorte, is geïdentifiseer. Dit sluit die pakhuis, koelkamer, deur van die vraghouer by die hawe, asook die tydperk net voor die skepe se werklike tyd van vertrek (ATD), in. 'n Verdere drie probleemareas is tydens die kernvrug steekproewe geïdentifiseer. Dit het die tydperk onmiddelik na die werklike tyd van aankoms (ATA) van die vragskip, die skeepsfase en punt van aflaai ingesluit. Die onverwagte hitte wat, deur veral die boomvrugte, gedurende die aanvanklike stadiums van die koueketting ervaar is het vêrreikende en langdurige negatiewe gevolge gehad op die palette en, daarom, uiteindelik op die vraghouers ook. Die navorsing het belangrike insigte gelewer vir die identifisering van swak skakels in die uitvoerkouekettings van sagtevrugte. Die resultate het aangedui dat die aantal temperatuuronderbrekings, hul frekwensie, en tydsduur wat in sekere gevalle aangeteken is, nadelige gevolge vir die kwaliteit van die vrugte ingehou het. Onderneming X kan die bevindinge van die navorsing gebruik om hul huidige praktyke aan te pas en, daardeur, temperatuuronderbrekings in die toekoms voorkom. Sodoende, kan die onderneming kwaliteit verliese in die toekoms verminder. Hierdie insigte kan vir Onderneming X help om die doeltreffendheid van hul hele uitvoer koue ketting te verbeter. Hierdie toename in doeltreffendheid, kan lei tot finansiële besparings soos kosteverminderings. Dit kan ook lei tot omgewingsbesparings deur verkoelingsdoeltreffenheid te verhoog en voedselafval te verminder. Hierdie besparings sal uiteindelik lei tot vrugte van hoër gehalte met langer rakleeftye.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/107234
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