DHL FoodLogistics, a business unit of DHL Freight, takes over the import of its nut products to Germany for the Turkish customer Tadım. Customs clearance has pitfalls.
“Sunflower seeds are Tadım’s biggest seller. I love Turkish snacks,” says Christian Forschner, Branch Manager at DHL Food-Logistics in the southern-German city of Munich. “I often have a bowl of roasted and salted seeds on my desk.” Having managed the account for Turkish nut producer Tadım for the past three years, he is more than happy with their partnership so far. “Tadım is a growth customer,” he says.
Nuts for the ethnic market
Most of the customs business performed by DHL FoodLogistics in Munich involves the import of products for what’s known as the ethnic market. These are imported goods that are mainly sold in Turkish, Asian or Indian stores. What’s special about Tadım is that it imports raw materials – sunflower seeds, pistachios, pumpkin seeds, almonds, peanuts, maize kernels and hazelnuts – from Turkey and uses them to produce snack products in its factory in Emsdetten, Germany. Roasting, packaging and order picking are all done in Germany. Customers located across Europe are supplied from there.
Strict import controls
For the 42-year-old Christian Forschner and his team of 13 employees, the challenge begins with customs.
- Food imports are subject to strict safety regulations. For example, pistachio nuts can be contaminated by the mold poison aflatoxin and can be life-threatening for humans. In nut samples taken prior to customs clearance, aflatoxin levels must not exceed the official thresholds. Otherwise the goods must be either returned or destroyed.
- Sampling may take up to three weeks. This can be a problem for the customer if the raw material is not delivered to the factory on time.
- Logisticians must act more flexibly than before. For example, climate change is shifting harvest cycles and thus transportation planning.
Logisticians must be more flexible than previously. Climate change, for example, is shifting harvest cycles and transport planning.Christian Forschner, branch manager of DHL FoodLogistics Munich, likes to nibble Turkish sunflower seeds.
Long-term customer retention
They also have to listen to customers, understand their needs and find solutions. “Of course, there are limits to what we can do. It’s all about coming up with ideas and identifying opportunities that we can feasibly pursue.” The approach works well. Imports are increasing:
- The ethnic markets in Germany and the entire EU are growing.
- DHL FoodLogistics Munich handled 134 shipments for Tadım in 2017, 269 shipments in 2018 and shipment volumes for 2019 are promising.
Tadım products are IFS certified (International Featured Standards). As one of the most widely used food safety certificates in the world, IFS sets strict hygiene standards and guarantees compliance with specifications agreed with the customer as well as those prescribed by law. Many business partners require IFS certification as a prerequisite for placing orders.
Cultural exchange by commodity
Nut producer Tadım has also acquired kosher certification in line with its increasing exports to Israel. “It’s wonderful to see cultures coming together and to know we’re a part of it all,” says Forschner with a smile.