CATCHING WAVES: Adapting to Shifting Tides in the Seafood Supply Chain

The seafood supply chain is a complex network encompassing harvesting, processing, distribution, and retailing. From oceans and aquaculture farms to dining tables, the fish and seafood industry has encountered numerous challenges in recent years, stemming from both internal factors like sustainability practices and cold chain transportation issues as well as external factors such as market developments, inflation, and shifting consumer demand. This has made sustainability, traceability, and ethical practices increasingly crucial for the seafood supply chain, which is now evolving to meet consumer demands for responsibly sourced products. To understand the intricacies of the seafood supply chain, we reached out to Mark Alzawahra, Founder and Managing Director of Catch of Norway. In this exclusive interaction, Mr Alzawahra touches upon navigating the challenges of the seafood supply chain from Norway to Indian cities, streamlining export procedures, meticulous cold chain management, customized strategies, technological innovations that underscore the company’s commitment to efficiency and sustainability, and much more.

Exporting fresh and frozen salmon and seafood from Norway becomes challenging when sourcing products from all over the country and having them delivered to a single port or airport terminal within a certain window of time. It’s even more challenging during the winter months of November and March, when the weather can be rough and unpredictable. Exports can be facilitated on a per-product basis, but that becomes expensive for exporters as well as importers in India and other markets. We saw a major opportunity to offer a variety of Norwegian seafood in single consignments to importers that order and source reasonable volumes of seafood. Many seafood producers and exporters in Norway have strict MOQs (minimum order quantities), so this limits access to certain products for buyers in new or emerging markets. These companies have demand, but they need flexibility to build up the market for particular new products. No one wants to be stuck with inventory, particularly if they are trialing the product in their particular market. With our export company in Norway, logistics network, and direct access to fishermen, packing stations, and farmers, we are able to solve this problem by finding economies of scale early in the supply chain.

Having direct-sourcing and logistical capability on the export side allows us to become an active stakeholder as early as possible in the supply chain. For the products, we are able to directly source from various farmers, producers, fishermen, and smokehouses since we are present in Norway. We can control the quality of products our customers will be receiving, as opposed to just fulfilling an order by sourcing something that is easily available or only available on certain days. Our wide network in Norway allows us to source the freshest or newest-produced items as and when we require them. Since we are present at the supply side of the chain, we have the capability to monitor the details and take quality measures at or near the source before exporting to the final destinations. This ensures freshness, quality, predictability, and traceability, which are becoming key factors in customer and end-user decision-making on what to buy and consume.

We are constantly monitoring the condition, temperature, and storage of our products from when they are sourced, exported, imported, awaiting customs clearance, and then distributed to various storages and end[1]customers in India. Our freight team in Norway ensures that our boxes and containers are in the appropriate temperature-controlled chambers for fresh seafood. In the case of frozen seafood, they ensure that containers reach port in a timely manner, are plugged in to maintain the appropriate temperature range, and the same is done once they arrive in India or any other country where we export. For mid- and last[1]mile distribution, we make use of chilled trucks or reefer trucks, gel ice packs and sheets, fresh ice for full whole fish, dry ice for frozen goods, and cold storage access in all major cities to facilitate these requirements.

This is an abridged version of the Interview published in the Logistics Insider Magazine-India. To read the complete interview, click here.

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