New year, new developments. We’ve been working in the last year to improve our logistical and storage services — not only with 2 warehouses in the US, but also looking at options across Europe. As you may have heard, there is this Brexit thing which may or may not be happening, and we have to be ready.
I am happy to announce that we will be using Seabridge in Belgium (map) as a new warehouse in Europe. Most of our 2019 coffees will land there.
It is an efficient, climate and humidity controlled, solar powered, rail-linked (to the port of Antwerp) coffee warehouse near Bruges. We are their first specialty customer and have worked to develop good, fast, accurate systems for handling specialty coffee.
As everybody in coffee knows, there is no such thing as a perfect warehouse. But there are a couple things we are looking to achieve with any specialty coffee warehouse we use:
- Committed partner — Seabridge reached out to us, and is committed to get into specialty and do it in a smart way from the beginning.
- Climate impact — lighter environmental footprint, renewable energy from solar power, rail link for incoming containers.
- Coffee storage quality — humidity and temperature control for coffee has been shown to be a big factor in coffee ageing, and we think this is an obvious step forward. Humidity is kept between 50 and 60%, and temperature at 19°C (+/- 2°C)
- Freight — should be faster, cheaper, and more reliable in Europe. Almost everyone will see between 5 and 20% decrease in freight price, and the lead time should be a lot shorter.
- Flexibility — we will keep our warehouses in UK and Norway (and US and other locations) in order to serve all markets better.
At this point you are either a) bored or b) wondering “how does this practically affect me” or c) both. Here is the low down:
What happens to my existing coffee reservations?
- Nothing! We can continue to hold coffee in Vollers UK, and in some cases land new containers in the UK if it makes sense.
- If you want to have all your coffees consolidated at one warehouse, we can help make that happen.
- For many people it may not make a big difference as you will draw down some coffees from UK and then in the future from BE.
- If any concern or confusion, let us know and we will actively make a plan for your coffee positions for the next 6-12 months.
How will this affect my coffee costs?
- Handling — it will cost us a little more for handling and storage, but we think it will be very worthwhile. Both the quality (storage conditions) and timeliness (packing and freight) should be improved. As always, the price you pay to Nordic include the full cost of getting the coffee sourced, milled, packed, shipped, unloaded, palletized, wrapped, and strapped for pickup or shipment, and that will not change.
- Freight — many customers will have faster and more reliable freight by truck. Most will have cheaper freight rates by 10-25%
- Services — documents, phytosanitary inspection, labeling, and other special services will remain the same, and hopefully become more efficient over time.
- VAT — coffee will still be customs cleared into the EU, so there will be no change on that. We will start to charge Belgian customers VAT on our invoices, but you get that back 🙂
Special section for UK customers:
I haven’t forgotten about you! It’s true that this can potentially impact you, as the coffee will be slightly farther away from your roastery. Two main points:
- Freight rates from Belgium to UK are reasonable. If you are taking down 10+ bags at a time, you may want to just save the hassle and take pallets directly from Belgium. A pallet will cost roughly $180 to London and $160 to most of the rest of the UK. 2+ pallets will be less on a per-kg basis.
- If you’d rather keep your coffee at Vollers UK, let us know. We will consolidate shipments from time to time (we call them “branch transfers,” we do this already for our Norwegian customers) with 10+ pallets to keep prices down. So you can have your stocks at Vollers UK and take down as usual. Should cost roughly 10p/kg
Other practical details:
- First arrivals to Seabridge will be in January – Brazil, Burundi, Tanzania, Colombia
- We will have two offer lists, and mention the location of coffees on all sales orders
- Warehouse location will be clearly marked on all our sample bags and on Hub
- In January, we will reach out to each client with a specific plan – those who need coffees moved can be accommodated
Please reach out to me if you have any questions, comments, or concerns. We are going into the new harvest in Africa and Centrals, so if you are looking to prebook bigger volumes, let us know. We can, within reason, land coffees at more or less any warehouse in the world.