Fruit shipments from Turkey to Japan are now running issue-free on Maersk Line vessels.
Özbek Özler is the owner and sales manager of Özler Tarim, a citrus fruit exporter from Turkey, and today he is a happy man. Not so one year ago. He was trying to expand his family business to Japan, but was experiencing some major challenges in making everything work.
“Japan is not easy,” he admits, “but I want myself and the next generations to excel in our business. I know Maersk is best in class in specialised reefer shipments, and we can do great business together.”
Japan, like certain other countries, demands a strict protocol of pest control for all fruit imports. This is known as Cold Treatment, a process of lowering the temperature of the container for a number of days in order to exterminate any unwanted stowaways, such as fruit flies. The advantage of Cold Treatment is that it eliminates the need for using insecticides, which are illegal in many countries.
Cold Treatment is a complex process, however, which is done in transit and requires constant monitoring of each reefer container. It had never been done before for Turkey to Japan shipments, and Maersk Line was eager to make it a viable business for Özler Tarim as a first mover. For the first year, though, the success rate was not living up to expectations.
Sustained Involvement from Maersk Line
But instead of giving up, we worked hard to make sure that nothing was left to chance. Özler recounts how Maersk representatives travelled to South Africa and Egypt to learn from best practice, visited his locations in Turkey to advise on improvements they could do there, and even sent representatives from Maersk in Japan to Turkey. For every loading for Japan, there were people from Maersk Line Turkey on the ground to ensure that everything went according to plan.
“I’m very happy to say that Maersk Line did its homework very well, and we are very happy with their commitment to making everything work,” he says, adding that they had other options but decided to stay 100% with Maersk Line due to the dedication to support his business.
Expanding to New Markets
That commitment paid off, and the failures of last year were turned around to a success rate of 100% for this year. “We’re very, very happy,” says Mr Özler, and so is the Japanese customer. 2012-2013 is looking to be a good season for oranges into Japan. “Japan will be an increasing market year by year, and we are very happy that Maersk Line is helping us to increase that goal,” he adds.
For Özler Tarim, this is just the beginning of the story. “All of a sudden we have a wide range of opportunities to pursue. The success in the Japanese market is giving us the confidence to try the American market and spread to different markets,” Özler reveals.
Turker Cacar, executive sponsor of the Özler Tarim account for Maersk Line Turkey, acknowledges the company’s passion for continuous improvement. “They are willing to be best in class and the preferred producer in the citrus business, and for that they want the most professional vendors and service providers,” he says. “I am very glad that Maersk Line handled the shipments with care, learning from past experiences, and training employees as well as vendors to ensure success.”
On our part, Maersk Line is committed to providing the service that lets companies like Özler Tarim turn their vision into reality.
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