Maersk and ITEM International - Reducing Carbon Footprint while Enhancing Efficiency

Source: 9/25/2023, Location: Europe

Meet the family: Market leader and family business ITEM International focuses on decarbonisation helped by Maersk’s ECO Delivery offering.

The background

ITEM International is an industry leader in the wholesale of home decoration products, furniture and gifts. Founded in Barcelona in 1986 by Manuel Pérez Barragán, the business has gained significant market share in Europe, is the market leader in its home country of Spain. Now, his sons have joined the management of the company.

The family business has strong values and the alignment of these values and shared decarbonisation ambitions led to the company choosing to partner with Maersk in 2021 to improve its supply chain efficiencies, visibility, and carbon footprint.

With customer numbers of over 11,000, ambitions to decarbonise their logistics and prioritise their workforce, the needs of ITEM International are wide-ranging as it continues its journey as a market leader taking positive steps for the environment and its people.

The challenge

ITEM International has a 70,000m2 warehouse in Barcelona which houses their range of high-quality stock. They are supplied with products from across the globe, including China and India, and are distributing goods to customers across Europe - namely France, Portugal and Italy, among others.

In 2021, the world was suffering from the COVID-19 pandemic and the shipping industry was experiencing huge shortages in container availability, with prices simultaneously increasing every day.

With a global supply chain, the complexities in the logistics operations are wide spanning – and vastly increased during a global pandemic. ITEM International were looking to simplify their processes, better manage stock levels, and increase visibility across the supply chain.

The business has growing ambitions to reach new markets so were keen to partner with a responsive and flexible operator who could support their immediate needs and look ahead to future possibilities based on emerging demand and opportunities.

These future possibilities include looking at the opportunities to reduce their carbon footprint through innovative product offerings.

"With a growing business operating across different parts of the globe, we needed a partner who would enhance our growth strategy while supporting our values and decarbonisation aims."
Ezequiel Pérez
COO, Purchasing and Supply Chain Director at ITEM International

The solution

To improve efficiencies and visibility, Maersk is working with ITEM International from port of origin to delivery, managing their full supply chain and reducing administrative and operational complexities.

Maersk’s operation covers ocean and inland, managing and executing all aspects of the transportation process, including providing a container freight station (CFS) solution at the port of origin.

The CFS provision combined with the Less than Container Load (LCL) offering has had a significant positive impact on the business’ ability to remain agile in response to consumer needs, without putting additional stress on their warehousing and storage.

The full service offering from Maersk means that ITEM International can be assured of a door-to-door service which takes care of their goods through every part of their journey – from ports in Asia to Barcelona.

With operational efficiencies improved through a multi-pronged approach, attention turned to ITEM International’s carbon footprint. The company is dedicated to taking positive steps to do what they can to look after their people, and the planet we inhabit, so the consideration of the environmental impact of their logistics was very important to the brothers leading the business.

This mirrored focus from Maersk contributed to ITEM International choosing them as deliver partners. Maersk’s ECO Delivery offering substitutes normal fuel with biofuel and produces around 90% less CO2. There is a cost increase when choosing this type of fuel, but ITEM International were fully briefed on the details and were happy to pay a little more and work together to help the world.

Maersk is on a mission to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2040, and values-driven businesses like ITEM International are crucial partners in helping us to achieve these aims and deliver a hugely positive impact for people and planet.

Finally, ITEM International are testing future solutions which would reduce average distance travelled for goods and improve storage efficiencies. This is in its study phase, and results will be reviewed to ensure ITEM International’s needs are always met with the most effective and suitable solutions.

The result

Since partnering with Maersk in 2021, ITEM International have experienced improved efficiencies in stock control to flexibly respond to consumer demand and maintain crucial financial management.

Importantly for ITEM International, their goods are now moved across the globe with a 90% reduction in CO2 emissions which supports a significant step in their efforts to decarbonise.

The family business is making changes across its operations, including on site with the installation of solar panels and the setup of a new recycling system in the warehouse.

The combination of LCL and CFS tactics facilitates dynamic responses to market demand without overburdening their storage warehouses. With one provider covering the full journey of their products, ITEM International’s administrative burden is reduced, and they can track the movement of their goods with ease.

With improvements gained and new solutions currently being tested for increased market share, Maersk will continue to support ITEM International with innovative products as it expands its positive impact and grows a sustainable, future-proofed business.

"Maersk’s ECO Delivery product is helping us to realise our decarbonisation goals, while simultaneously simplifying our logistics chain and providing us with visibility on the global movement of our goods."
Ezequiel Pérez
COO, Purchasing and Supply Chain Director at ITEM International

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