Winemaking is a challenging skill, fine-tuned over centuries to create the exquisite, full-bodied wines we enjoy today.

We view logistics the same way. Sure, logistics may not have the culture of wine — there aren’t many odes to ocean tankers or novellas about customs clearance — yet, like vinification, logistics is a fine art.

They both take a long time to perfect. Knowledge and experience are everything. And by tinkering with the minutiae, you have the power to create something truly great. At Maersk, we’ve been building our logistics knowledge for 119 years. So, these days, every year is a good vintage.

Barrels of wine stored in cellar

Following the Romans

We know that humans have been concerned with the logistics of wine for thousands of years. While we don’t know whether it was transported or traded when grapes were first fermented 8,000 years ago in Georgia, we do have evidence that the Romans travelled vast distances with large quantities of wine. The wrecks of some ships had a capacity for up to 9,500 gallons of wine in purpose-built wine containers.

Fast-forward to the present, and today’s ocean freighters have the capacity to transport up to 163,200,000 bottles of wine per shipment. And while the Romans had an empire to run, distracting them from wine logistics, we don’t; we have state-of-the-art digital tools giving us visibility and data from every part of the supply chain, making logistics safer, more reliable, more agile and more sustainable.

Man loading containers full of grapes

Navigating vineyard challenges

The challenges with wine logistics start at the vineyard. In Europe, for instance, most vineyards have similar ‘terroir’: they’re often located in remote rural areas on top of hillsides. If the hills are too steep, or if there are road restrictions due to narrow or uneven tracks, then standard trucks can’t access the vineyard.

That presents winemakers with a problem: they require specialist logistics solutions just to get their product off-site. At Maersk, we understand these nuances and plan our services accordingly, using pick-ups and consolidation activities to overcome road restrictions and lower transport costs.

Truck with Maersk logo

Maintaining flavour across borders

How the wine is stored is also a key decision for vintners as it can alter the taste of the product. So, what wine travels in is critical. At Maersk, we handle bottles, flexitanks and ISO-tanks, from vineyard to customer, shipping at cellar temperature to maintain quality all the way.

Our reefer solution, Captain Peter, provides real-time data on what’s going on inside our containers, covering everything from temperature and humidity to O2/CO2 levels. Any anomalies are communicated quickly, and issues are addressed, giving customers an extra layer of quality assurance.

At the border, it’s important to have an efficient customs clearance process to minimise the risk of product spoilage.

In this regard, Maersk has deep customs expertise thanks to the integration of KGH Customs into our business. That means we know how to leverage commodity codes for different markets to ensure the compliant and efficient movement of wines across borders.

Store manager and sales woman cataloguing wine in a store

Building next generation logistics for beer, wine and spirits, also means providing our customers, being them suppliers, importers, distributors or retailers, a solid and tailored solution to keep their promises to business partners and to final consumers in a more than ever challenging environment. In other words means: to allow each of us to enjoy our favorite wine when we like, having bought it at the right shelve price.

Carmelo Ippolito
Industry specialist - Wines and spirits

Delivering on the sustainability agenda

Another priority today is sustainability, and here Maersk can help winemakers and FMCG companies identify and analyse supply chain carbon emissions. Maersk Emissions Dashboard is a digital solution that connects data points for relevant and regular emissions reporting and insights.

Captain Peter and Maersk Emissions Dashboard are part of our portfolio of 4PL logistics solutions and services delivering a new level of transparency, visibility and control to wine supply chains. It’s easier to make smart inventory decisions, cross borders smoothly, mitigate the challenges of Brexit and integrate direct-to-consumer e-commerce into operations if required.

Maersk offers multi-modal transport options, including ocean, air, rail and truck. We provide warehousing and distribution, centralised customs solutions, e-commerce and 4PL services. All these solutions and services together make Maersk a one-stop shop for end-to-end wine logistics, building resilience and reducing costs.

Talk to Maersk about transporting wine

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