Japan Willing to Support Philippines in Cold Chain Logistics Standards and Certification

On September 13, 2021, Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism held an online webinar entitled “Cold Chain Logistics Workshop between the Philippines and Japan”.

In the webinar, it discussed the opportunity for the Philippines to adopt recently developed cold chain logistics standards developed by ASEAN (the Association of Southeast Asian Nations) and Japan.

In November 2018, Japan and ASEAN created the “ASEAN-Japan Guidelines on Cold Chain Logistics”, an overall guideline on the proper handling of temperature sensitive food parcels and operation of refrigerated vehicles.

The guidelines are related to ISO standard ISO 23412:2020. The Japan Standard Association in turn developed its own associated standard JSA-S1004 in June 2020.

“JSA-S1004 specifies the requirements for low temperature storage and transport services in [Business to Business] cold chain logistics services,” the presentation states.

These requirements include such items as:

  • Cargo check upon acceptance and loading (for warehouse and vehicle operators)
  • Temperature monitoring (for warehouse and vehicle operators)
  • Safety measures (for warehouse and vehicle operators)
  • Safe driving training (for vehicle operators)

Japan Willing to Support Philippines

In its presentation, Japan said that “as a next step, ASEAN member states are encouraged to develop their national standards for cold chain logistics services” and that “Japan is willing to support the Philippines on this matter”.

In addition, Japan encouraged the Philippines and other ASEAN members to develop complementary certification audit guidelines “as a reference so that certification bodies in each country can conduct appropriate and fair certification audits”.

Finally, Japan stressed the benefits that standardization presents for all stakeholders of the cold chain industry.

For logistics service providers, it improves the quality of their services and increases their reliability to customers.

For shippers and manufacturers, standardization increases their market access and enables them to outsource logistics at lower cost but with the same quality.

For consumers, it ensures more reliable services and for the government, it contributes to efforts on sustainable development goals (SDGs) and food safety.

Standards Key to Enable Adoption of New Technologies

The use of climate-friendly and energy efficient refrigeration equipment in the food cold chain can deliver economic, environmental, and social benefits through reduced food loss and waste, and may contribute to a “green economic recovery”.

This is especially true with the new breed of refrigeration systems that use natural refrigerants, which can catalyze the industry’s transition.

However, effective industry standards, guidelines and certification need to be in place in order to guide this growth and development.

Standards are often viewed as an additional burden to the industry. But on the contrary, it also helps ease concerns and issues regarding the adoption and use of technology.

In this sense, it is a short cut, rather than an impediment, that could fast-track the adoption of new technologies and innovations.

Policy Alignment Needed to Support Low-Carbon Technologies in the Philippines’ Food Cold Chain

The Philippines today is beginning to see unprecedented growth in the adoption of low-carbon technologies for the food cold chain industry.

This is being driven by an acceleration of new ideas and innovation aimed at addressing the climate crisis.

The government should take advantage of this momentum and match it by coming up with policy reforms, targets and updated standards, following this industry’s growth pace.

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