The business reported a rise in exports to China to the extent that the port in Aarhus had to be kept open for additional shifts to cope with demand.
“The past five weeks we have been quite crazy,” said Mads Mahler, who is responsible for logistics at Danish Crown. “It is meat for over 100 containers extra, we must have packed, frozen in and loaded every single week, instead of sending it off fresh in trucks. It is quite a big operation, because it actually gets more than 2,000 tons a week, and that corresponds to over a million pork roots of the size you typically buy in the supermarket.”
In response to the additional demand, Danish Crown asked all of its suppliers to make Skærtorsdag, or Maundy Thursday, a working day.
“It's an extra ordinary situation for us,” said Steen Davidsen, director of APM Terminals in Aarhus. “We are open every weekday and can also accept some individual refrigerated containers outside our working hours. It doesn't even matter at all in this case, so we have called employees in to receive containers all day.”
The APM Terminal is currently completing expansions to be able to store another 180 refrigerated containers or reefers, in order to be able to load the containers continuously on the cold stores between the weekly shipments.
Danish Crown’s refrigeration partner Agri Norcold is also expected to have staff working additional hours.
“I cannot remember that we have had so many employees started on a public holiday,” said Agri Norcold CEO Jan Nielsen. “We have to load between 60 and 70 containers, so about 3,000 pallets must be picked up from the cold stores. And when we are going to load to a country like China, we must also have veterinarians from the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration, because they are the ones who are responsible for ensuring that the entire paperwork is in order.”
Danish Crown will also have employees at its slaughterhouses in Horsens, Blans and Ringsted.
“As is the case with our business partners, our employees deliver a phenomenal effort. Since 1 March, we have packed meat to an extent that has hardly been seen before in Danish Crown's history, and our employees just hang in,” Mahler added.