Reports

Economic analysis of fresh fish transportation

Published:

13/07/2016

Authors:

Ásgeir Jónsson, Björn Margeirsson, Sigurjón Arason, Ögmundur Knútsson, Magnea G. Karlsdóttir

Supported by:

AVS Fisheries Research Fund (R 034‐14)

contact

Sigurjón Arason

Chief Engineer

sigurjon.arason@matis.is

Economic analysis of fresh fish transportation

The aim of the project Optimization of fresh fish transport is to improve the handling of fresh fish products in container transport and thereby increase their shelf life and the possibility of further transport by sea from Iceland. In work component 4, the development of fresh fish transport from Iceland is analyzed according to the mode of transport and the main market areas for fresh fillets and pieces. An economic analysis of the use of pots and foam boxes is carried out with regard to packaging and transport costs. Exports of fresh whitefish fillets and pieces have increased rapidly over the past decade. Year after year, the amount of fresh fillets and chunks imported from Iceland by sea increases. A product that was almost exclusively transported by air a decade ago is now almost equally transported by ship. The results show that the amount of fresh fillets and pieces transported by ship from Iceland almost increased sixfold from 2004 to 2014. In 2013 and 2014, about 90% of the fresh fillets and pieces transported by ship were transported to two markets; Britain and France. The results of a cost analysis show that it is considerably cheaper to pack a product in a pot than a foam box. Transport costs are also lower in most cases when comparing pots with foam boxes. It is more than half as low when comparing the cost of transporting a container of pots on the one hand and 3 kg of foam boxes on the other. However, there are some limiting factors in the use of pots. All things being equal, pots are not likely to replace a foam box except in part due to practical aspects of product distribution. In some cases, however, transport in pots could be very suitable.

The aim of the project Optimization of fresh fish transport is to improve handling of sea transported fresh fish products, thereby improving their quality and increasing the possibility of sea transport from Iceland. The aim of work package no. 4 is to analyze main markets and the development of fresh fish transport from Iceland. Also compare cost of traditional packaging in expanded polystyrene (EPS) boxes to pack the product in tubs containing slurry ice. Export of fresh white fish fillets and loins from Iceland has increased rapidly over the last decade. More and more fillets and loins are transported with ships. What used to be an exclusive air freight business is now almost equal (air vs. sea). The results show that the volume of fillets and loins transported with ships from Iceland nearly six folded from 2004 to 2014. In 2013 and 2014 almost 90% of the export went to two markets; Britain and France. Results show that cost of packing product in tubs is significantly lower than using EPS boxes. Transportation cost was also lower in most cases when using tubs than EPS, as much as half of the cost when compared to the smallest EPS box (3 kg) in a full container. Some factors limit the practicality of using tubs rather than EPS. It is unlikely that tubs will replace boxes unless introducing matching distribution options. In some cases using tubs can be both practical and very cost efficient.

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