Monday, April 23, 2018

World's Largest Shipping Container Carrier Looks to Tackle Food Losses in Supply Chain

Companies Partner Up to Examine Start Up Solutions to Billion Tonne Waste Problem
Shipping News Feature
EUROPE – DENMARK – AP Moller Maersk is using its position as one of the largest shipping groups in the world to look at tackling global food loss throughout the supply chain. Today, one-third of the global food production for human consumption, approximately 1.3 billion tonnes, is lost or wasted and approximately 80% of the food loss occurs even before it reaches stores. In an attempt to address the issue, Maersk, responsible for shipping vast quantities of reefer containers annually, has entered into a partnership with start-up accelerator Rockstart, to support innovative start-ups with pioneering solutions to the worldwide problem.

The programme, FoodTrack by Maersk, kicks-off on June 6 and finishes with a Demo Day on July 6. Applications for the first FoodTrack programme opened on April 17 and will run up to May 13. Together with Rockstart, Maersk will run three rounds of the month-long FoodTrack programme in 2018 and 2019. Ten start-ups will be chosen for each round, focusing on technologies and new business models that reduce food loss in the early stages of the value chain, from harvest to distribution. However, start-ups addressing all relevant points of the food supply system will be considered for the programme.

Rockstart and Maersk, will guide the chosen teams through an intensive programme that pushes the boundaries and gives entrepreneurs the advantage of validating their solutions close to the industry and leveraging the knowledge and expertise of Maersk. In addition to that, one start-up from the programme will receive the Rockstart Fast Track Award, which would allow it to get straight to the final selection stage of one of the Rockstart accelerator programmes.

Solutions of interest include logistics and supply chain technologies, sensing Internet of Things (IoT) and data monitoring, storage and packaging solutions, as well as farm and stock management systems. Mark Durno, AgriFood Program Director at Rockstart, said:

“At Rockstart, we aspire to give start-ups the best access possible to market, capital, community, and expertise. With more and more AgriFood tech start-ups utilising emerging technologies and new business models to address the issue of food loss, we are delighted to support Maersk with their FoodTrack programme, and help start-ups drive positive change with a strong partner.”

The start-ups chosen for the first edition of the FoodTrack programme will spend a month at Maersk‘s office in Copenhagen and receive intensive support and guidance from mentors and the programme team. The programme itself consists of a series of workshops and focused mentoring sessions on problem validation, team development, competitive strategy, and pitching, conducted by mentors from both Maersk and the Rockstart network. Peter Votkjaer Jorgensen, Venture Partner - Growth at A.P. Moller Maersk, commented:

“As a partner and potential investor, we provide more than funds. We want to leverage our world-class infrastructure and operational expertise to help build the next business in this domain.”

When the programme is completed, the FoodTrack start-ups will have a chance to get follow-on funding from Maersk or engage in a partnership.

Photo: Courtesy of Biogen.