• QA 003
    Why is West African coffee for the US often transhipped in Europe and not routed direct ?
    Coffee from Cote d'Ivoire reportedly often transits Antwerp en route to New York and at times may also be stored there before onward shipment.
    Asked by:
    A commerce student in Cote d'Ivoire

    The use of transhipment is mostly linked to the frequency of direct services between West African ports and the US.  If direct services are few or irregularly spaced then it may well be quicker (and possibly even cheaper) to make use of the more frequent services to Europe, in this case Antwerp, where coffee is then easily and quickly transferred to one of the many vessels that ply between Antwerp and New York. The growth in such transhipment services is also linked to the now almost universal use of containers that permit fast and secure transfer of cargo.

    Trade houses sometimes store coffee in transit ports as Antwerp, for example when they are not yet decided on where and to whom to deliver it.  From Antwerp they can easily redirect coffee to any roaster, in Europe itself or elsewhere. Intermediate storage is also an important part of the just-in-time delivery chain where trade houses undertake to deliver coffee on a specific date (and even time) to a roaster. Antwerp is today Europe's leading coffee distribution and storage centre, for example holding stocks of around 5.5 million bags green coffee as of July 2004.

    For more on shipping matters generally go to 05, Logistics (Link below).

    For press articles on fast moving shipping developments go to www.cargosystems.net.

    Look also at the websites of leading shipping companies such as P&O Nedlloyd - www.ponl.com and Maersk Shipping Line - www.maersk.com where useful information can be found.

    Posted 26 November 2004

    Related chapter(s):
    Related Q & A: