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May, 2021

Farm to Kitchen Logistics: World Class Food Safety from Origin to Destination

Cold Chain Solutions by GWC Employ Infrastructure, Technology, Process, and People to deliver near perfect accuracy.

Cold chain logistics is the lifeline of food supplies for every country, facilitating multiple logistical cycles of everyday food products, including but not limited to chilled and frozen products like fruits and vegetables, meats and dairy, condiments, etc. Correlating with the lives of millions in Qatar, cold chain solutions are necessary for safely importing and transporting various food items around the year. The greatest challenge, though, is controlling food waste at all stages of the supply chain and ensuring food security, which speaks volumes about the cold chain’s merits.

A unified company-wide approach to ensure food safety and quality is paramount to GWC’s priorities. We follow best practices in food safety systems to offer the highest level of quality services to our clients, contributing to Qatar’s extensive efforts ensuring sustainable flow of foodstuffs. Over the years, we have supported the global initiatives of the World Health Organization (WHO) in pursuing food safety in favour of public health by upholding quality, health, safety, security, and environment as our biggest priorities when dealing with food storage and supplies. GWC actively participated in the 2020 edition of World Food Safety Day, which was observed under the theme “Food safety, everyone’s business” and we are committed to driving cold chain solutions to a pedestal capable of taking action to help detect, prevent and manage foodborne risks.

GWC works round-the-clock to ensure the continued and timely supply of Qatar’s F&B needs during Ramadan, cultural festivities, and other events, with a focus on minimal food waste. From April 2020 to March 2021, GWC has successfully handled total food transaction volumes of 509,042 CBM, including inbound and outbound consignments, through our distribution centres. Our robust project management process warrants such seamless solutions for the food industry, on the back of our state-of-the-art infrastructure, innovative approach, and proven 3PL expertise.

State-of-the-art Infrastructure: Supporting Food Logistics

We are the first logistics provider in Qatar to get certified for the ISO 22000 for Food Safety Management System. At all our distribution centres and logistics hubs, we ensure full compliance to all inspection criteria relating to container sealing, packaging, cleanliness and hygiene, shelf-life tracking, inventory management, etc. Cold chamber warehouses enable us to store all types of products ranging from -25°C to +25°C. This storage infrastructure allows food to be stored as frozen, chilled, ambient, and dry, keeping it fresh and clean for transportation to end-use destinations. With real-time temperature and humidity monitoring systems, we record and monitor storage temperatures at all times to retain optimum food quality.

Technology at Work: Increasing Operational Efficiencies

Innovation and new-age technology are at the heart of our world-class cold chain infrastructure. Using advanced systems for forwarding, trucking, warehousing, and distribution has enabled GWC to streamline its cold chain operations in line with global industry standards while raising the bar for regional standards given the harsh environments where we operate. Staying ahead of the curve, we identified automation as a critical cog in delivering reliable cold chain solutions and minimizing food waste by streamlining storage and dispatch. GWC’s customized warehouse management system facilitates safe food handling at all stages of the cold chain, thus ensuring control, precision, and accountability. Automated reports through this system communicate product expiry dates to our customers and help realize slow- and fast-moving stocks, a critical input in future demand planning and real time replenishments. GWC also employs 24/7 security management with access controls to the warehouses, CCTV surveillance, amongst other measures, to help us identify any lapses in food handling and address them in real-time.

Testing and Assurance Process: Prioritizing Food Safety and Quality

Our evolved supply chain, driven by benchmark processes, ensures that all consignments receive an inspection by qualified and HACCP certified food handlers and security professionals to test food on several parameters relating to quality, quantity, safety, and security. All food imports to Qatar are required to undergo sampling and inspection by the Port Health and Food Control section; GWC Transport is involved in transporting these food samples from port to the Central Food Laboratory for inspection. In rare cases where the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) requires further testing, GWC provides an add-on service on customer request, placing the shipment on ‘Inspection Hold’ at the time of receipt so that items are not released for delivery. These are released only post retesting by MoPH and customer confirmation about product approval. Concerned importers are informed if their consignments fail to meet inspection criteria, while their products are differentiated from saleable goods and moved to isolated locations on account of non-conformance to food safety and quality standards.

The People Factor: Driving the Cold Chain Lifecycle

At the helm of our cold chain operations, we have highly experienced professionals driving various processes critical for the fulfilment of our service and quality promise. Specialized on-ground teams are involved at each of the specific stages of the supply chain cycle – from freight forwarding, inspection, customs clearance, transportation, warehousing, and distribution (to end-use destination). Equipped with subject matter expertise in the field and state-of the-art-technology; GWC’s trained and qualified food handlers are keen to arrest food waste at various points of transit.

Operating since 2004, GWC has closely worked towards understanding the requirements of Qatar to introduce timely logistics solutions that can bridge identified gaps. Our integrated cold chain solutions are a result of a concentrated thought process that involved addressing challenges faced by importers, suppliers, distributors, and retailers associated with the food industry in Qatar.

Speak to our experts to explore how our cold chain expertise can help you safely move food consignments. Visit https://gwclogistics.com/reach-us

April, 2021

Rely on logistics expertise to deliver lifesaving COVID-19

The global logistics industry is helping governments around the world as they administer COVID-19 vaccinations to billions of people

The vaccines developed to immunise people against COVID-19 are preventing serious illness and saving lives all around the world. Slowly but surely, life is beginning to return to normal.

Thanks to decisive leadership, Qatar has been ahead of the curve when it comes to battling the pandemic. The country was quick to enforce a partial lockdown and introduce a contact tracing application (Ehteraz). Qatar mandated the use of masks in public places and robustly enforced social distancing. Additionally, the government quickly implemented quarantining and testing for all visitors arriving into Qatar thereby minimizing likelihood of the virus being brought into the country.

The challenge for Qatar now, along with every other country in the world, is to vaccinate as many people as possible as quickly as possible. Vaccinating close to 3 million people is a mighty task, and I am proud to shed light on the vital role of logistics in facilitating the movement of the vaccines seamlessly. Qatar has already administered more than 1 ,000,000 vaccinations, as of 7 April 2021. That means more than 25% of the adult population has received at least one dose. With further support from logistics experts, Qatar will achieve its goal of offering a COVID-19 vaccination to every citizen and resident by the end of 2021 and become one of the fastest countries in the world to vaccinate its population.

Simply transporting the various COVID-19 vaccines presents a multitude of challenges. To begin with, they each need to be stored at different temperatures at different times during the supply chain. Qatar has taken delivery of two vaccines so far: Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna. The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine must be stored at -70°C. It can be kept at a temperature between 2°C and 8°C for a period of five days prior to inoculation, but once opened it can only remain at room temperature for just six hours. The Moderna vaccine, on the other hand, must be stored at -20°C. It can be kept at a temperature between 2°C and 8°C for up to 30 days prior to inoculation, it can only remain at room temperature for just twelve hours. Thanks to expertise built up over many years in collaboration with the pharmaceutical industry and purpose-built infrastructure, logistics providers are able to transport the vaccines according to these exact requirements in accordance with stringent guidelines and standards.

The moment Qatar receives a batch of vaccines, they are transported to warehouses before being dispatched to health centers. Vaccines are handled with the utmost care, prior to live operations all parts of the local supply chain underwent thorough testing and simulation exercises to ensure robust processes enabling safe transportation and handling.

Another challenge is ensuring that the vaccines arrive in a country at the correct time. Put simply, a country must have systems and processes in place to administer the vaccine long before millions of vials arrive at customs.

As it stands, there are various ways the logistics industry can further support governments around the world. Proven expertise in transporting pharmaceuticals means we are familiar with relevant supply chains, which include barcode technology to track the source of vaccines and smart IT solutions to manage vaccine consumption, inventory levels and the replenishment model. This type of expertise also helps to avoid counterfeiting and vaccine theft – an issue raised recently by INTERPOL.

According to a recent review of rolling out the vaccine, a key learning of governments is to involve logistics expertise much earlier in the design of their distribution model. Embedding logistics as an integral part of any government COVID-19 taskforce is crucial.

We are all acutely aware that fighting the COVID-19 pandemic is a matter of life and death. Effective policy and the deployment of intelligent logistics and distribution solutions are of critical importance in this fight. The sharing of information and collaboration between players in the supply chain is the fastest way to overcoming this global crisis and moving back to a sense of normality.

The logistics industry is proud to be playing a key role in fighting the pandemic and stands ready to support Qatar as it aims to immunise its population as quickly as possible.

January, 2018

Embrace Doha holds 8-day National Day Festival at Katara

Embrace Doha, a Qatari company specialising in cultural events, held an eight-day National Day Festival aimed at showing support to Qatar amid the current blockade by offering a unique blend of events and activities to visitors at the Cultural Village Foundation – Katara from December 12 to 19, 2017.

The festival, called “Labaih Ya Amir” (Here I am at your service, O Emir) comprised of four sections, with various entrepreneurial youth projects such as cooking in clay ovens; child talent shows and intellectual competitions held on stages in which various schools participated; the cultural tent in which visitors were served tea and coffee; and a corner for Henna and Arabic Calligraphy.

“Last year it was purely cultural, but this year we are including local startups in response to Emir H H Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani’s speech to build the country’s economy through innovation, self-reliance, and independence,” said Amal Al Shammari, CEO of Embrace Doha.

Sponsors and partners of the event included the Katara Cultural Village, Qatar Cool, Health Assistance Medical Services, Elan Group, Qatar Business Incubation Center, GWC, Nando’s, Marhaba, iLoveQatar.net, GoExplore.City and The Peninsula.

Sources: The Peninsula, Al Watan

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