Halo, the recently-opened, multi-temperature produce handling and distribution facility at DP World London Gateway, has been confirmed as the location for the Logistics Tour on the final day of The London Produce Show and Conference 2019. On Friday June 7, attendees will have the unique opportunity to witness how this innovative facility from SH Pratt Group – one of country’s largest importers of bananas – is disrupting the UK fresh produce supply chain.
Hosted by Gavin Knight, Managing Director of Halo, together with Wayne Milne, the company’s Operations Director, the tour will take in a large part of the 110,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility to demonstrate how Halo is adding value to perishable and chilled products docking across the quay at DP World London Gateway, the UK’s fastest-growing port, by reducing costs, food miles, time to market and increasing freshness.
“This tour is a great opportunity to see how Halo is disrupting the supply chain; it will give people the chance to see for themselves what is a very impressive new business,” points out Ben Thomas, Director of All Things Management, Halo’s PR company, which is coordinating the tour.
“Halo is based in a unique location at DP World London Gateway, which in itself is very impressive. From entering the Halo building and understanding exactly what happens there, whilst being able to hear and see the ships at the port in the background, makes for a very compelling experience.
“Tours of Halo don’t happen that often and, when they do, they are often restrictive. This is a great opportunity to see it with your own eyes. Attendees will get to see the majority of the building.”
Departing The Grosvenor Hotel at 7am on Friday June 7, on arrival at Halo the tour will meet at reception for refreshments, after which groups of six to eight people will be taken around the facility individually.
“On the ground floor, they’ll visit the production facility to watch produce going round and being packed on multiple lines, which will be really interesting to see,” Thomas explains.
“June will be the height of the imported citrus season but there are peppers and table grapes all year round too. Halo is always busy! Attendees will also go into the fridges, the fruit ripening rooms and the dispatch area.
“The tour will continue upstairs, which houses the management and finance teams, and links with the quality control department and training room. This is where the team takes samples of produce, stores it at a certain temperature and reports back to the customer regarding the shelf-life in terms of whether any improvement can be made, with the evidence to support that. That will be interesting to visualise too!”
The tour will wind up where it started with further refreshments and time to ask any questions before departing on the return journey. Attendees are advised to dress warmly and comfortably, and should note that no photographs are allowed on site due to customer confidentiality agreements.
Ultimately, Thomas says the tour will be an educational experience that should appeal to representatives from all factions of the fresh produce industry, considering the range of services provided by Halo.
“It will give attendees of The London Produce Show a better understanding of the Halo offering, and how Halo is disputing the supply chain for the benefit of all, whether that’s end consumers, retailers, importers or growers,” he explains.
Launched in October 2018, Halo represents the “value added division” of the SH Pratt Group, which has specialised in fruit ripening and distribution since 1960. At the moment, the operation is said to be unique, especially in the UK. Indeed, Halo has been shortlisted as a finalist in the ‘Innovation of the Year’ category at the upcoming FPC Fresh Awards, which will be announced on June 6, 2019.
“There are three key points as far as Halo is concerned,” notes Thomas. “Firstly, Halo is more cost effective for retailers and importers to utilise because it’s located just 100m away from the vessels as they come in to the port. So it saves time and money on transportation.
“Secondly, the end user (the consumer that eats that piece of fruit or veg) will receive a product between 24 and 48 hours of its arrival in the UK because Halo reduces the travel time.
“Thirdly, Halo is better for the environment because it reduces road miles. In a typical scenario, produce will be taken off a ship and onto a lorry that may travel 100-250 miles to a fulfilment facility where it’s ripened, processed and packed. And from there, that product will then go to a food distribution centre. With Halo, that time and those motorway miles are eradicated.”
With this in mind, Halo is predicted to save 1.5 million kilogrammes of CO2 (carbon dioxide) this year, and, according to Managing Director Knight, the facility is on target to achieve that goal. “That’s a pretty impressive statement for a business that only opened its doors at the end of last year,” Thomas comments.
So far, business is doing well at Halo. “It’s good, it’s busy, and we continue to get busier,” adds Thomas.