The Heat Behind Cold Chain

On Tuesday, September 18, the Trade & Logistics community gathered for the final committee meeting of our fiscal year at PortMiami with a focus on marketing strategy as it relates to cold chain (a term that refers to the supply chain infrastructure with temperature sensitivities). More than 130 attendees learned about the latest innovations in cold chain logistics and how they can be involved in telling our community’s story.

The discussion began with representatives from Miami International Airport and PortMiami highlighting several trends they see in our communities biggest economic engines. We heard that the demand for fresh, organic and quick is spurring demand and expansion for businesses operating through MIA as well as the Port.

Next, attendees heard from Richard Tracy, Vice President of International Programs for the Global Chain Alliance based in the D.C. area. Tracy spoke about how the industry has changed in the last decade, including the impact of e-commence. He addressed the challenges of shipping fresh versus frozen freight. “When you get fresh produce from oversees it becomes a challenge when it gets to stores,” he shared. “The produce has to have…a shelf life…frozen is fresher than fresh and it will last for up to a year.”

Potentially surprising to many who were not in attendance, Miami is a well-established hub for cold chain. The experience and existing infrastructure involved in handling perishables (e.g. flowers, produce, and sea food) is being extended into the world of pharmaceuticals due in part to certifications held by operators at MIA. Our local knowledge base regarding how to import/export and move temperature sensitive goods is attracting more business to Miami.

Renowned marketing and branding expert, Bruce Turkel, offered the committee some perspective on how to tell this story in a way that is relatable in order to leverage this skillset in a competitive landscape. Turkel offered attendees three rules for conveying a message that resonates with stakeholders and potential customers: stop talking about function, stand for something, and refrain from talking about ourselves. He promoted a shift from a company/city centric marketing model and to start talking about those who matter to us (our customers, i.e. potential investors in our local economy).

The meeting concluded with a panel discussion with all of these representatives and a round of questions from engaged committee members and stakeholders.

Following the meeting, attendees were able to get an up-close look at cold chain operations at PortMiami with a guided on/off bus tour led by representatives from the Port as well as Seaboard Marine. We offer a special thanks to Marcum for providing the bus and a thank you to our hosts and tour guides for an informative overview of the Port.

The Trade & Logistics Committee will be scheduling its 2018-2019 meetings in the coming weeks under the leadership of Gabriel Rodriguez, CEO of A Customs Brokerage.

How Can I Get More Involved?

Glad you asked! In fact, the real work gets done at the Sub-committee level where students and working professionals can join our working groups to help build our talent pool, promote innovation in logistics, and market the industry to attract more business and inform the global community about Why Miami matters.

If education, talent, Internships, Inclusiveness, and Surveys interest you, join the Talent Pipeline Subcommittee.