Edition January 2024


The year is still young, but the political (and therefore of course the economic) situation remains heated. Negative headlines seem to be racing across Germany and the world. The big challenge here is to see and discuss the problems without being overwhelmed by the negative voices. Examples? Unfortunately, there are plenty of them: starting with the increased interest burden and storage costs - this combination is hitting many growers and producers hard because their capital requirements are increasing as a result. But I'm also thinking of my colleagues in Paul M. Müller's logistics department, who have been hit hard by the increase in tolls in Germany and the Problems in the Red Sea Having to recalculate costs more often - always looking for the best solution for our customers. Price increases due to freight and energy, fluctuating exchange rates, Increase in taxes for food in restaurants to 19 percentshortage of skilled workers... A list that could probably go on and on. No matter which partners we talk to, many are at their limit. This is causing problems for the industry. The credo of the hour for us is therefore: stay agile, keep adapting to the current situation and maintain courage and confidence. We also maintain our enthusiasm, diligence and enjoyment of our work.

Because where there is shadow, there is also light - on a large and small scale. And a particularly nice ray of hope at Paul M. Müller is the new addition to the team: Miguel Anderson Bucho-Martinez has been part of our logistics department since September 2023. He told us in an interview what he particularly likes about his job. We will also be presenting a great project in more detail in every Food News in future. We call this section "The good news". This issue starts with Community Kitchen Munich. And then there are three exciting trade fairs that we have firmly anchored in our calendar. You can find out the exact dates of Intergastra in Stuttgart, BioFach in Nuremberg and Internorga in Hamburg in our trade fair calendarThe year is still young and therefore full of possibilities. We're looking forward to everything that's coming - are you?

Yours sincerely, Thomas Schneidawind


Too hot, too dry

Artichoke plants like it warm, but not too hot. An average of 15 degrees Celsius is ideal, but up to 22 degrees Celsius is no problem. Just before the closed inflorescences are harvested, the plant can even tolerate temperatures as low as 5 degrees Celsius. In any case, one thing is particularly important for them: plenty of rain! Due to these circumstances, artichokes in Spain are harvested in winter - at the end of December. Normally... Due to the high temperatures and lack of rainfall last summer, many plants dried out after planting and had to be replanted. These delays are now making themselves felt. The harvest started late (in January) and is smaller than usual - although the quality is still high. As a result, prices for artichokes from Spain have risen.

The forecasts for Peru are similar: extreme weather events intensified by El Nino will continue to cause massive disruption to the harvest there. Added to this are higher freight costs due to the tense container ship situation on the world's oceans.

The news from our partners in Egypt is initially more positive in terms of yield: the harvest there started as normal in January and is going well so far - with high-quality buds. If the forecasts come true and the yield on the 8,000 hectares of cultivation area is actually 35,000 tons, this would be at the same level as in 2023. However, prices will also increase here, as inflation in Egypt has been rising unabated since mid-2022.

It is currently uncertain how the global demand for artichokes will develop due to the price increases. If necessary, it may be worth considering a change of caliber from 30/40 to 25/30 or from quartered to sliced. With our broad product portfolio in this article group, you can rely on the best quality standards - as with all others, of course.


Freight costs and FAD ban play a role

The beginning of the year is usually a good time to buy tuna. In terms of raw materials, this is also true in 2024, as raw material prices for skipjack and yellowfin tuna have fallen slightly. However, increased freight costs due to the Problems with the Suez Canal (and the resulting bypasses) have led to significant price increases and are currently making goods from the Far East (fishing area 71) completely unattractive. The extent to which tuna from fishing zone 34 near Ghana and tuna from the East Pacific near Ecuador (fishing zone 87) represent an alternative will become clear in the coming weeks. This is because the three-month "FAD ban" (Fish Aggregation Devices - FAD) began in the former in January and will reduce the catch volume accordingly. It remains to be seen to what extent this will also affect the prices of goods from the East Pacific.


small, precious and hardly available

The anchovy situation remains tense. Catches around Peru - but also elsewhere - are low. This is due to warmer water temperatures, which cause the fish to dive. It is uncertain whether the fish stocks there will recover and reproduce undisturbed. So far, this is at least a vague hope. In the meantime, prices for the delicacy have exploded due to the severely limited supply and the continued small size of the fish - and the market is still virtually empty. Who Anchovies If you want to buy the latest products, you not only have to expect high prices, but possibly even unpredictable waiting times. We will of course do our best to find new supply channels and will keep you up to date in our Food News when new goods arrive.


Hope for 2024

Last year, the forecasts for pineapples from Thailand were not good. This has now been confirmed by concrete figures: At 682,330 tons, the total harvest volume in 2023 was around 45 percent lower than in 2022. The main reason for this was the unusually high and prolonged temperature records of up to 46 degrees - there was often talk of a "monster heat wave" in Asia. In addition to this weather phenomenon - which was influenced by El Nino, among other things - reduced plantation areas also led to a decline in yields. The Thai Food Processors Association (TFPA) currently estimates the pineapple harvest volume for 2024 at 786,300 tons. This would still be 15 percent higher than the previous year 2023.

In mid-January, prices per kilogram of raw produce in Thailand were between 10.20 and 11.80 Thai baht. In the east of the country, prices tend to be in the upper range, as the harvest volume and supply are lower there. As the prices for canned pineapple are also rising due to higher freight costs (see our article on the Suez Canal), customer demand for pineapple products remains low. Only the upcoming Chinese New Year and Ramadan could increase freight volumes to China and the Middle East.

What happens now? Experts estimate that the summer harvest will also be delayed due to the late rains in recent months. It is currently difficult to predict how the size and quality of the fruit will develop. We will keep you up to date.

Johann Dettendorfer Spedition Ferntrans GmbH & Co. KG

"We want to grow - especially in the intermodal segment. We see this as an area in which we can make sustainable progress in the future. In the long term, we won't be able to handle all of our transportation on the road as we have in the past. Autonomous driving is exciting and could be a focus in the future."

- Johannes Dettendorfer
One has to delve deep into the history books to find out more about the company history of Johann Dettendorfer Spedition Ferntrans GmbH & Co. KG. The first entry in the trade register was in 1825, and a transport document from 1166 shows that wine was delivered to Baumburg Abbey. Today, Johannes Dettendorfer is the ninth generation to work in the family business. In this interview, he talks about the partnership with Paul M. Müller, the bottleneck at the Brenner Pass and his views on electric trucks.

PMM: 245 tractor units, 443 trailers, 636 employees: How do you manage to maintain such personal contacts as with Paul M. Müller despite your size?

J. Dettendorfer: Customer relationships are important to us, we focus on talking to our customers personally - also to recognize the market.

PMM: What characterizes the partnership between Paul M. Müller and you?

J. Dettendorfer: It is honest, transparent and reliable. When we are notified of loads, they are 100 percent ready for loading and we can take them on. Paul M. Müller has also become a stable administrative partner for us.

PMM: What values are important to you when working together?

J. Dettendorfer: In principle, it is very important to us that customers work with us in a solution-oriented manner and that we create solutions together. The fact that trucks are sometimes late because they are stuck in a traffic jam or that a truck cannot be unloaded - for whatever reason - is always an issue. It is then important to look for and find solutions. That is the hallmark of a good partnership.

PMM: How do you manage to remain as flexible as you currently are?

J. Dettendorfer: We create very agile workflows in-house and maintain short communication channels. This allows us to remain adaptable.

PMM: How are you future-proofing your company?

J. Dettendorfer: On the one hand, we rely on a forwarding and logistics division that are strong together. On the other hand, we rely on our own fleet, our own vehicles and our own assets with which we can supply our customers. With reliable partners such as Paul M. Müller and a logistics world that is very large and continues to grow, I am positive. Just one example: e-commerce with Amazon. This will continue to find its way into many areas; we are only at the beginning here.

PMM: What happens if the burner fails?

J. Dettendorfer: Then the full extent of the bottleneck becomes clear. We have to focus on routes that do not rely on the Brenner route and the Europe Bridge. We are focusing on intermodal transport and on the shift from road to rail. We have launched several projects here and are already using rail over the Brenner Pass. At the moment, however, I cannot foresee how traffic will shift, how the volume flows will develop and what the scenarios will actually look like.

PMM: So rail is an issue for you?

J. Dettendorfer: Rail is a major building block for us that we rely on. We were already operating diverted, combined transport in the 1990s and we have been focusing on this hobbyhorse for years and trying to get our customers excited about it. You can't cover the entire volume on the road, you have to keep a second route open.

PMM: Do you feel that sustainability is being demanded more and more in the industry?

J. Dettendorfer: Definitely. Sustainability is a huge aspect; we are very interested in planning our transportation and routes sustainably. We use bio-diesel in our own fleet and have also entered the e-fuel segment, and the topic of HVO (hydrogenated vegetable oils) is also on our agenda.

PMM: Nice anecdote in passing: you have a company band...

J. Dettendorfer: That's right. My grandfather founded the company band and it is still very active today. The company band plays once a month in the Hofbräuhaus, and there are 50 to 60 events a year in total - mostly at weekends. This helps our employees to balance out the stressful forwarding business.

Personal details:

Johannes Dettendorfer, born in 1995, works in the acquisition department of Johann Dettendorfer Spedition Ferntrans GmbH & Co. KG. He completed his training at DB Schenker as a forwarding agent and graduated from DAV Bremen with a degree in logistics, materials and supply chain management.


73 percent adapt recipes

Since the VAT on food was raised again from 7% to 19% at the beginning of the year, the mood in the restaurant trade has been depressed. Dr. Thomas Geppert, Regional Managing Director of the Bavarian Hotel and Restaurant Association DEHOGA Bayern e.V., reports: "In addition to price increases, which according to survey results over 90 percent of all businesses had planned, 73 percent intend to change their offerings, for example with regard to recipes and the basic ingredients used." In concrete terms, this means adjusting portion sizes and using pork instead of veal, for example.

In addition, there are further measures: "69% will cut or cancel planned investments, 31% will further reduce opening hours, 26% plan to lay off employees and 7% expect to close their business." DEHOGA Bayern e.V. (just like its national umbrella organization) wants to continue to fight for the 7 percent. "In order to achieve fair competitive conditions for stand-up and takeaway food, snack bars and hot counters compared to food retailers, the VAT rate must be permanently reduced. Food should always be treated equally in terms of tax, regardless of where it is bought and how it is eaten."

Fruit of the month:

Miguel Anderson Bucho-Martinez

Nothing runs (or drives) without our logistics! Miguel Anderson Bucho-Martinez has been part of the team since September 2023 and, together with Iris Wittur and Isabella di Pinto, ensures that our goods get from A to B reliably. In this interview, he talks about how this works and the challenges involved.

How would you complete this sentence: In logistics...

... it never gets boring. There are always challenges for which we are looking for suitable solutions and ways forward. So logistics is something new every day. That's what makes our job so exciting and cool. I like it!

What are your specific tasks in the team?

As a team of three, we work closely with each other and with all other departments at PMM. We are also in contact with our partners and customers. For example, we keep an eye on prices, calculate freight costs and monitor orders to ensure that everything is delivered on time. And most importantly, we always respond proactively in the event of problems.

What problems could these be?

There's a lot going on at the moment: protests and road blockades by farmers and hauliers naturally have a direct impact on delivery times. If a driver is not driving or a truck is not where it is needed, everything is delayed. But the CO2-tax on shipping and the attacks in the Red Sea affect us in logistics. For example, if freighters avoid the Suez Canal and choose a route around South Africa, this not only takes longer, but is also more expensive. We keep a close eye on all of this in our calculations and pass on information to our colleagues in Purchasing and Sales.

A great collaboration - thank you for being there!

Organic certification:

Successfully passed again

We are finally able to announce some good news from our quality assurance department: Back in the fall, all processes and documents from suppliers to customers were audited by an external auditor.

The focus was on our organic range of various supplier brands - for example maple syrup, jackfruit and various tomato products. The renewed certificate for the organic EU seal is now hanging in our office.

The good news:

Community Kitchen Munich

Inflation, supply bottlenecks, capricious weather: far too often, our everyday lives are characterized by bad news. This makes it all the more important to look on the bright side and keep an eye on lighthouse projects. We are now doing this with our new section: "The good news". In this Food News, we present Community Kitchen Munich. Founder Günes Seyfarth and her team rescue food that would otherwise end up in the bin. After checking whether it is still edible, she prepares delicious meals - for her own restaurant, but also for events, daycare centers, schools and companies. Günes Seyfarth's motivation: to raise awareness and share knowledge about food waste in order to protect the climate. Exciting fact: 168,465 kg of edible food is thrown away every day in households in Munich alone. You can find more information here." Do you also know of great projects or would you like to share positive news with us that should be included in our next Food News? Feel free to write to us at <a schneidawind@paulmmueller.com and tell us about it.

Suez Canal:

impact on global logistics

"Shipments are currently almost impossible to plan," knows Eve-Florence Gölz, who works for us in purchasing and sales. As in 2021, we are looking in particular at the Suez Canal. While shipping traffic came to a standstill back then due to a shipping accident, the reasons are now armed conflicts in the Red Sea. Yemeni Houthi rebels attacked freighters there with rockets as early as mid-December. Since then, numerous shipping companies have chosen to detour their ships several thousand kilometers via the southern tip of Africa. This not only costs significantly more time, but also money. There is talk in the industry of transport costs being up to five times higher. There is also a lack of ships elsewhere, which delays shipments. And the upcoming Chinese New Year on February 10 will further increase delays.

Especially in such challenging times, we are particularly grateful for all our reliable partners, with whom we maintain open communication and are always well informed - even if delivery difficulties can hardly be avoided due to these external conditions.

Panama Canal:

still little water

The Panama Canal is causing concerns for global shipping logistics due to a lack of water. The reason: the rainy season started late in 2023 - with less rainfall. Back in November 2023, the Panama Canal Authority reported the driest October since records began 73 years ago. Due to the low water level, fewer ships were and are able to pass through the canal and there were waiting times lasting for days, especially at the end of last year. In January, the number of transits was increased again from 20 to 24 ships per day. Normally, however, the canal can handle 34 to 36 ships a day. It remains to be seen when this will be the case again.

Although we consider the sources we use to be reliable, we accept no liability for the completeness and accuracy of the information provided here.

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