Report 01/18

Black Gold from the Sea

Copex transports live lobsters from canada to northern europe

The Dutch Rhenus subsidiary Copex is well-known for its many years of expertise in the business of transporting live animals. However, it has also been handling the transport, storage and customs clearance for a genuinely luxury product for its customer Crusta since April: live lobsters. They are caught off the Canadian peninsula of Nova Scotia and are transported to Amsterdam by air freight.

The lobsters’ journey starts at Woods Harbour, at the southern tip of Nova Scotia. They are transferred from the ship, on which they were caught in the Atlantic Ocean, to the warehouse facility, where the black glistening crustaceans are packed in special transport boxes that are suitable for air freight - and with enough ice and air supply. Then they make their way to Halifax, almost 300 kilometres away, by truck in consignments weighing between 2,000 and 5,000 kilograms. All the necessary paperwork, including the health and origin certificates and the catch certification, which is mandatory for the EU and proves that the lobsters have been caught legally, is also prepared. As soon as everything has been completed, the Canadian lobsters start their journey to the Netherlands, which takes almost nine hours.


Copex, the all-round provider
Meanwhile, the Copex employees at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol receive a message about the flight data and the documentation for the incoming delivery. “From this time on, we monitor the transport status continually via the airline and the handling company and send our customer the relevant updates,” says Brian Jansen, Managing Director of Copex, explaining the procedure. Copex also registers the goods for inspection by the Dutch Office of Consumer Protection and Nutrition (Nederlandse Voedsel- en Warenautoriteit or NVWA) 24 hours before their arrival at Schiphol and it prepares the inspection using the appropriate declaration system. As soon as the lobsters have landed, Copex organises the transport from the handling area to one of the NVWA’s inspection sites at Schiphol.

Copex – the special logistics expert
After being founded in Rotterdam in 1921, Copex specialised in transporting sensitive and high-value freight. While Copex initially made a name for itself by transporting bulbs, it soon acquired expertise in shipping animals, perishable or fragile goods, valuable items, confidential documents and a great deal more. Copex has been part of the Rhenus Group since 2007 and has continued to grow since then. Copex provides packaging services as well as air, sea and road transport operations.

“The top quality of the lobsters is extremely important for our customer. That’s why we look after everything on its behalf,” says Monique Berkhout, Customer Service Representative at Copex. “This also includes the customs declaration procedure.” As soon as the NVWA has approved the consignment, Copex sends the relevant import customs declaration via its customs system. Once the customs service has cleared the lobsters too, the logistics specialist coordinates the pick-up by the customer or even organises the delivery by temperature-controlled transport.


Welcome to the lobster spa
In order to maintain the lobsters’ freshness and enable them to be transported in as pleasant a manner as possible, the lobsters are taken directly to Crusta’s storage site after their arrival at the airport; they spend at least 24 hours there becoming acclimatised in an extremely modern tank facility. The “Crusta Ocean” consists of a salt water tank holding 500,000 litres and it simulates the crustaceans’ natural living conditions through the movement of the water, light effects and the correct temperature. The lobsters are only prepared for their onward journey to restaurants and delicatessen shops in Germany and Scandinavia after this familiarisation process.

“Lobsters are a truly luxury product. They’re not called the “black gold from the sea” for nothing. In addition to our remarkable system for the high-quality storage of our crustaceans, we rely on our partner Copex; it handles the safe, fast and smooth transport operations and the important quality and customs checks for us,” says Dianne Pasterkamp, Office Manager at Crusta.

Species: Homarus americanus
Size: available in all sizes, ranging from 400 grams to 2,700 grams
Record: the largest lobster that Crusta ever registered weighed 4.5 kilograms!
Export destinations: Germany, Scandinavia


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