Lost in Transportation

By PSU EcoMerge Capstone - 4:32 PM

For this blog, I thought I would talk about food lost in transportation. People have made many technological breakthroughs in transportation ever since the industrial revolution.  But, moving items around the world is still hard.  We need to deal with weather, trade legality, in some cases piracy. etc. to get items from one place to another.  Depending on the cargo, there may be many more issues which need to be accounted for.
When food is the cargo, time is a definite factor (especially perishables).  Every food product has a shelf life.  This means the delivery services transporting the cargo have to take these time restrictions into consideration.  If food is not received by the customer before it expires, food is no longer edible and can't be sold.  
Most of the time, there is always a portion of the food produced which does not make it to the customer.  There are many different factors which may contribute to this food loss. For example, in Africa and South Asia, a good percentage of food is lost in transportation.  This is due to the weather conditions, plant diseases, parasites, and/or lack of proper packaging.  These kind of issues can go unnoticed until the cargo reaches port.
Food can also be lost during transportation, simply because a buyer can't be found in time.  When food travels, it must have a port of harbor.  At this port of harbor, there must be an organization willing to buy the shipment.  Even if contracts are inplace, there are situations where a cargo's buyer will not accept the shipment. This can happen because shipments are not properly documented, organizations have met their quota, and/or the product did not meet the safety guidelines for that country. When a buyer can’t be found, the food can be taken to a food bank.  But, if the food bank is at capacity, the food will have no place to go.  This means eventually, it must be discarded.
In opinion, "food lost in transportation" is just another reason to buy local.  Transporting food around the globe may be easier than it has ever been, but losses still occur.  The less food needs to travel, the easier it is to deliver (in general) and distributers can be less worried about shipments going bad due to travel distance.  Farmers can also time there harvest closer to when the food is at it's peak. This can help food be fresher for the customer and decrease overall food loss.

  • Share:

You Might Also Like