The quintessential questions in the post-COVID world in Trade & Logistics, aren’t any different from the ones in a world striving for sustainable production of agricultural produce and the way it is traded:
  • What is in demand?
  • Where can it be produced most efficiently from both an economic and an ecological perspective?
  • What is the most efficient mode to physically trade and ship it?
  • Can local or more nearby production and/or new logistics reduce ecological and economic costs?

  • However, the new world spring 2020 came up with, has put the spotlight on the latter.

    Internalizing ecological Costs and Benefits
    The key question in the Ricardian economy has always been: how to produce, trade and ship a good most efficiently. In a Ricardian ecology the challenge remains the same, albeit while internalizing ecological costs and benefits. Please note that Prof. Peter van Bodegom, Leiden University, stresses the potential for the latter.

    Let's take two examples.

    The production of pig meat in the Netherlands offers an interesting example to discuss. Dutch pig farmers excel in up-cycling human food waste through pigs. However, the animals still need additional overseas feed imports and produce more manure than arable production can put to good use. Is it sensible to shift the production of pig meat from the Netherlands to other places? What other places should that ideally be and what would be the ecological and economic benefits?

    The same question goes for the production of fresh agricultural produce and the rapidly growing demand for fresh products from places far off. What combination of (new technologies in) logistics, especially in the cold chain, can justify the trade and logistics of perishable goods over larger distances?

    Demand triggers logistics
    Obviously demand triggers logistics. From sellers to buyers and logistics to packaging businesses, it is up to the partners in the food chain to deliver products that live up to the highest standards of sustainable delivery or - in case they really take responsibility - to refrain from products they cannot produce responsibly.

    They can only offer the best ecological solutions by collaborating and asking officials to facilitate the product of their integral effort.

    Join the Conversation
    We would like to learn your perspective on the World of Trade & Logistics. What role can logistics have in making the food chain more sustainable? How much stretch (= the range production areas and plants can sensibly serve) can global logistics provide when it is included in ecological costing?

    Please share your ideas on our IFAMA platform to feed the conversation about Trade & Logistics.


    For starters: please join our IFAMA group meeting on ZOOM on August 5, 6 am PDT; 15:00 CEST; ACST 22:30. In that meeting we’ll discuss our goals: getting this going in society and business by turning IFAMA into a societally relevant virtual consultancy. Want to join? Email Bianca van der Ha, editor-in-chief of the IFAMA goes Digital platform, on You'll receive a ZOOM Link upon registration by mail.

    A Case Study: Mainport Rotterdam – logistics hub
    Once the largest in the world, the port of Rotterdam is now the largest in Europe. It is increasingly committed to being a smart port. A port where expertise and innovation are developed in the field of energy transition and digitization of the port.

    Mainport Rotterdam is one of the three logistics hubs of the Netherlands - next to Schiphol Airport and Greenport Venlo. It is the main import hub for Europe, through which 500 million consumers are fed, where 156,000+ tons of food are unloaded, and 900,000+ reefers are handled annually.

    New Business Cases
    Mainport Rotterdam – supported by the city of Rotterdam – is ready to develop cases that produce and deliver food products that meet the highest possible standard of sustainability by that type of collaboration.

    Mainport Rotterdam would like to invite academics and practical experts and individual private companies selling, buying, packaging, and shipping food products to co-create sustainable cases based on collaboration.

    As the modus operandi of companies and the jobs they create are often misunderstood or badly interpreted by NGO’s, politicians, and the media, the city would like them to accept citizens that will judge the choices they make in order to endorse them politically.

    Are businesses producing and delivering as efficiently and ecologically responsibly as they can? Whereas world trade can be justified ecologically, the key question remains: what are the concrete criteria and the solutions available to make trade and logistics the better option?

    The challenges in logistics in the Rotterdam area:
  • Congestions on the road in densely populated areas
  • Alternative modes of transport
  • Reduction of CO2 emissions