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July 9 2018

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18 The Journal of Commerce | July 9 2018 Special Report Cool Cargoes he said. In addition, "While we wait for a brave new world of blockchain, we need to go back to basics as an industry and learn the lessons of answering the phone." At the same time, Holt pointed out that maintaining relationships with government agencies, particular- ly US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), as well as with lawmakers at the state and federal lev- els, also contribute to better service. In the United States, food importers and exporters depend heavily on regulatory partners such as the CBP and USDA, he explained. "Those who fail to recognize this do so at their peril and that of their customers. Engagement with these agencies is a critical part of any suc- cess story as it relates to agriculture." Furthermore, "at the government level, it is critical that all employers, from truckers to warehouse opera- tors, grocery and retail, and marine transport, help their elected officials understand the deep impact their employment opportunities yield for the population. And they need to say it loudly and repeatedly in the state capitals and Washington." The right box at the right time For beneficial cargo owners (BCOs), customer service is inherent to having the right reefer container at the right time. Robert Sappio, CEO of SeaCube Container, one of the largest operat- ing lessors of containers in the world, STAKEHOLDERS THROUGHOUT THE refrigerated shipping industry are aligned on two key areas when it comes to extracting more value from the cold chain. Specifically, better customer service and technology im- plementation are needed, panelists said during the Cool Cargoes track of the TPM 2018 Conference in Long Beach in March. Anne-Sophie Zerlang Karlson, global head of reefer management for Maersk Line, remarked that ship- ping is moving toward a "new era of customer focus" with an emphasis on "creating products that actually add value to customers' supply chains." Candidly, she said that what Maersk Line and its competitors throughout the industry are deliver- ing to customers "is not satisfactory." Fellow panelist Thomas "Leo" Holt Jr., chairman of Holt Logistics, said, "Customers are becoming old fashioned in that they want custom- er service," supporting Karlson's comments. "It's easy to be glib and say, 'You get what you pay for,' but there's a value proposition in each link of the chain. For us, it's provid- ing constant customer care, because no matter how big you are, if the customer is not happy, you won't exist in the next iteration," he said. Holt added that, "entities with solutions that provide real visibil- ity will be the market winners." While technology will have a role, success will be reserved to those who "dedicate themselves to high touch and deep market knowledge," The cold, hard facts Reefer industry stakeholders see need for better technology and customer service By Lara L. Sowinski RUBEN M RAMOS / "While we wait for a brave new world of blockchain, we need to go back to basics as an industry and learn the lessons of answering the phone."

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