DALLAS – Avianca Cargo (QT) celebrated a longstanding commitment to the transport of perishable goods in a ceremony at Miami International Airport (MIA) on October 13.
QT announced the attainment of certification by the Center of Excellence for Independent Validators (CEIV) Fresh program, an International Air Transport Association (IATA) initiative designed to ensure the highest quality standards in perishable goods transport, according to an airport press release.
The release stated that QT is the first airline in the Americas to attain CEIV Fresh certification, meeting high standards for food safety and waste prevention.
QT stations at MIA and Bogotá (BOG) currently meet CEIV Fresh standards while the Medellín (MDE) and Quito (UIO) stations will be up to standard by the end of the year, the release noted.
According to the release, MIA Director and CEO Ralph Cutié congratulated QT and highlighted the role of MIA as “the busiest U.S. airport for perishable freight, handling 69% of all perishable imports to the U.S.”
A Closer Look at CEIV Fresh
Ronald Schaefer, Senior Principal IATA Consulting Americas, told Airways that transporting fresh produce requires supply chain members to “take take into account packaging, temperature, humidity, and other factors to ensure the produce stays fresh and intact.”
Schaefer continued, saying that by “obtaining the CEIV Fresh certification, airlines can demonstrate that their operations, facilities and staff meet the set and required standard” in perishable goods transport and “promote best practices to the shippers’ community as well as protect and grow their revenues in this growing perishable (premium) market.”
“The cold chain,” Schaefer said, “must be maintained throughout” the perishable goods transport process, an especially important consideration given that “40% of the food produced on a global level currently requires refrigeration and 360 million tons are lost a year due to incomplete or unaligned cold chains.”
Schaefer said that the “IATA is working with the industry to reduce waste” via the introduction of “aligned and consistent standards across the cool chain” with CEIV Fresh to “increase the attractiveness of air cargo for shippers transporting perishables from Latin America to North America, Europe and Asia.”
Setting a High Bar for Perishable Goods Transport
According to the release, QT attained the CEIV Fresh certification via the implementation of standardized risk and quality management strategies by personnel highly trained in handling perishable goods.
QT CEO Gabriel Oliva highlighted a desire for the carrier to be “a quality reference” in Latin America for perishable goods transportation through being “the best ally of our clients by transporting their products that are sensitive to time and temperature,” the release noted.
Peter Cerdá, IATA Regional VP for the Americas, in the release highlighted the fact that nearly “70% of all goods shipped via air freight between Latin America and North America consist of perishable products.”
Cerdá added that a lack of “cooperation and collaboration of companies in the cold chain, and without harmonized global guidelines and standards followed by all, the risks of something going wrong is quite high” and accordingly praised QT for strengthening operational standards and “obtaining its CEIV Fresh certification.”
Schaefer told Airways that the IATA with CEIV Fresh aims “to establish globally consistent, recognized and standardized program,” one designed to “raise the bar” in the perishable goods transport industry.
Featured image: From left: Ralph Cutié, MIA Director & CEO; Laura Pullins, IATA CNS President; Gabriel Oliva, Avianca Cargo CEO; and Peter Cerdá, IATA Regional VP of the Américas. Photo: Miami International Airport