Pizza, pasta, and productivity

Transporting food, especially fresh food, across Europe is a key part of how DACHSER Food Logistics serves the Italian market. Short transit times are in particularly high demand.

Italian cuisine is a way of life.
Italian cuisine is a way of life.

This question may well be unanswerable: Who invented the noodle—the Chinese or the Italians? Back in 2005, it looked like this controversy was going to be settled in China’s favor when a 4,000-year-old noodle pot was unearthed there. But Italy’s pasta purists insist that the noodle was probably invented independently in several different places. Among those they cite to back up their argument is al-Idrisi, who hailed from what is now Spain. He reported encountering a “threadlike Sicilian dish made with flour” on his travels, long before the Venetian explorer Marco Polo visited China.

What no one disputes is that today, pasta—whether in the form of spaghetti, penne, farfalle, tortellini, etc.—is globally synonymous with Italy and the Italian lifestyle. During the coronavirus lockdowns, when many people were working from home and restaurants and cafeterias were closed, the culinary love affair with pasta became even more passionate. Indeed, when lockdowns were at their peak in 2020, food association Filiera Italia recorded a 20 percent rise in pasta exports to Germany alone. Perishable products as well—including cheese, fresh pasta, and sausage products—enjoyed a jump in popularity.         

Food made in Italy is riding high among the country’s European neighbors, but also elsewhere. Statistics show that around one billion people all around the world can’t get enough of it. Over the past ten years, the value of Italy’s food exports has grown by a whopping 80 percent; the biggest consumers are still found in Europe, with Germany and France topping the list. At the same time, Italy is also a key market for its European neighbors. In a nutshell, comprehensive food logistics solutions are in high demand both in and around Italy.

Over a decade in Italy

DACHSER Food Logistics has been a player in the Italian market since 2010 and began a joint venture with Papp Italia in 2012. In 2017, the logistics provider acquired Papp Italia and has traded under the name DACHSER Italy Food Logistics since 2018. The company’s main location and central transit terminal are located in Pradelle near Verona (in the Veneto region). In 2020, DACHSER Italy Food Logistics transported 320,100 shipments with a combined weight of 287,100 metric tons, generating EUR 37.2 million in revenue

“When times are extremely difficult, customers need a flexible logistics provider capable of meeting the highest standards of quality and dependability. Especially when it comes to temperature-controlled transports in heavily fragmented markets like Italy, quality and precision are essential.”

Daily transports connect the refrigerated platform in Veneto with DACHSER’s Erlensee branch near Frankfurt. That Eurohub is the linchpin of the European Food Network, an association of leading European food logistics providers. This in turn connects Italy with 33 other countries. There are also daily transports to several DACHSER Food Logistics locations in southern Germany.          

In addition, the convenient location of the site as a bundling platform in the heart of northern Italy makes providing domestic transports very efficient. Around 80 percent of shipments bound for the large retailers’ central warehouses (used by food retailers, wholesalers, and discounters) can be delivered directly from there. The rest are delivered by a close-knit network of 22 forwarding agents. The refrigerated platform is supplemented by a multiuser warehouse that offers a variety of temperature zones and over 9,000 pallet spaces. Rising demand and further growth have been factored in—the site offers plenty of space to expand its facilities.

Daily transports to Europe’s markets.
Daily transports to Europe’s markets.

Maintaining flexibility in difficult times

“During the pandemic, we’ve experienced some uncommonly large increases in transport volume that once again put service quality and customer service center stage,” says Alfred Miller, Managing Director DACHSER Food Logistics. “When times are extremely difficult, customers need a flexible logistics provider capable of meeting the highest standards of quality and dependability. Especially when it comes to temperature-controlled transports in heavily fragmented markets like Italy, quality and precision are essential.”

In addition to the headquarters in Pradelle and the branch in Taranto (Apulia), in April 2021 a new location was established in Massalengo near Milan (Lombardy). Much of the country’s dairy and cured meat production takes place there and the region is responsible for a significant proportion of Italy’s food exports.

“The opening of the new location near Milan was an important step for DACHSER Food Logistics in Italy. It strengthens our market presence and brings us even closer to potential customers,” says Roberto Specos, Country Manager of DACHSER Italy Food Logistics. The region’s many food companies produce goods not only for the domestic market, but also for export to other European countries. “We can offer them a comprehensive portfolio of useful services encompassing national distribution, imports and exports, and warehousing at our headquarters near Verona,” Specos says.

Another key stage in the development of the country organization was the direct hire of more than 100 logistics operatives for the warehouse and transit terminal. As is common in Italy, they were working at the headquarters in Pradelle through a “cooperativa,” but have now been employed directly by DACHSER since 2020 and have open-ended contracts. “We rely on our own people for the core production processes, which ensures the required process reliability and quality assurance,” Miller says. “Top performance calls for a strong team and shared values. This also lets us cope with future challenges and helps us to keep growing in Italy.”

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