DUBAI : Throughout history food has always been a powerful convener – bringing people together over a meal is as old as time itself. In the modern world, trade has been fundamental in introducing people to new and wonderful cuisines and products from far away origins.
From Halloumi to honey, across Europe and Russia, DP World is moving some of the world’s most loved foods, connecting producers to prosperity, and forks to delicious bites.
Food is for more than nourishment, it is an essential expression of the people, land and culture that make it. Nothing can be a better expression of the people of a nation than the traditional foods that have been made using ingredients that naturally grow on that land and perfected over centuries by the people that lived there.
Keeping these traditions alive is important for preserving culture. One of the ways that these traditional crafts can be preserved is through trading with nations around the world – boosting the profitability of making these products by increasing the size of the market.
Cypriot Halloumi, a semi-hard cheese with a hallmark squeaky texture that dates to the Medieval Byzantine period between 400-1200 AD, is a prime example of how trade has preserved a traditional product.
Made of a specific combination of goat and sheep milk, Halloumi has a high melting point which means that it can easily be fried, grilled or barbequed – and can be a mouth-watering vegetarian centre point of a dish.
This year, the European Union awarded the product the prized ‘Protected Designation of Origin’ (PDO) status – meaning that a cheese of its kind can only be called ‘Halloumi’ if it is produced in a particular way and only in Cyprus. It protects Halloumi against imitation and misuse of the name across the European Union. Halloumi is also a registered trademark in the United States.
The cheese has quickly grown into a favourite around the world, with the global market for it growing to €224m in 2019 – up by 43% compared to only two years earlier. Dairy makes up approximately a quarter of Cypriot exports, with Halloumi being the single largest dairy product. In fact, the squeaky cheese is Cyprus’ second most valuable export after pharmaceuticals.
DP World Limassol is one of the country’s major handlers of Halloumi shipments, which is also known as Hellim in Turkish and Χαλλούμι (Halloumi) in Greek.
These trading and shipping facilities provide an essential service that makes sure the global consumers can take a bite of the most famous cheese in Cyprus.
And elsewhere in Europe, a food product used across cultures, honey, is being produced in droves in Ukraine. As one of Europe’s largest producers of the sugary-sweet product, the honey industry is an important employer in Ukraine.
Honey is an incredibly versatile ingredient used in products around the world. And with a heritage of beekeeping in Ukraine, the high volume of honey export keeps this traditional industry booming – while also keeping diners around the world satisfied.
Due to the transhipment of honey, DP World TIS Pivdennyi is an important channel connecting the second largest honey producer in the world, Ukraine, with buyers around the globe.
Not only does DP World handle outward shipment, but it also is supporting global food industries to bring their products to Europe – and delicious bites to happy mouths.
For example, 95% of all citrus fruit trade between South Africa and the UK is handled at DP World London Gateway.
Citrus is the largest fruit export of South Africa, and the country is the largest citrus exporter in all of the Southern Hemisphere with 143.3m cartons of it shipped last year – a 13% increase on 2019. The UK buys 9.5% of all citrus exports from South Africa, the country’s second largest market after the Netherlands and ahead of China.
With the different seasons in the UK and South Africa because of one being the Northern Hemisphere and the other the Southern Hemisphere, a flow of lemons, limes and oranges comes to Britain even in the dreary colder months.
This is important to Europeans in the winter as they celebrate festive traditions. Whether for leaving a clementine in a Christmas stocking, or adding candied orange peel to the figgy pudding, the movement and trade of these products is keeping traditions alive – all while also benefitting the citrus groves and growers of South Africa.
And across the English Channel, DP World-owned Unifeeder controls the distribution of bananas from Central America to Norway, Sweden and Finland via our location in Vlissingen in the Netherlands. Unifeeder processes approximately 6000 containers full of bananas each year.
As with any perishable product, freshness and keeping it cold are paramount and there is little room for delay in the shipping process.
In order to ensure that perishable goods are kept in their best condition, our cold chain terminals across Europe have developed efficient solutions to ensure goods are kept at their freshest.
Having a regularly scheduled shipment is key. For example, at Vlissengen, having a planned day for banana delivery is of vital importance for maximising shelf life at grocers.
At DP World Antwerp there are special ‘green lanes’ that prioritise perishable products. These lanes allow for a speedy pick up from local truck drivers to make sure fresh products stay that way. And at DP World London Gateway, state-of-the-art border control facilities help to speed up processing time – and port-centric cold-chain warehousing helps to make the transportation of perishables more efficient, locking in freshness.
Making sure that the right processes, infrastructure and trading lines are in place so that this exchange of food can take place is a high-stakes task. Moving our favourite products between their origin and destination is an important tool of cultural exchange and economic prosperity. Getting it right and facilitating its flow is of essential importance to livelihoods and appetites around the globe.