Team: Programs | Commitment: Consultant | Location: Pakistan

International Postharvest and Cold Chain Specialist – Shipping

CNFA-AMD Project

US-Pakistan Partnership for Agricultural Market Development



Project Name

CNFA-AMD/ Project Number AID-391-C-15-00003

Consultancy Assignment

Support to HVOSV Exporters for exporting mixed vegetables by Refrigerated Sea Container

Consultant Title

International Postharvest and Cold Chain Specialist with experience in shipping vegetables via sea freight shipment using reefer containers

Reports to

Chief Technical Advisor – AMD

Place of Performance

Lahore, Pakistan with likely travel to production areas and Karachi to visit packers and exporters.


21 working days (including travel days)


Project Description:

US-Pakistan Partnership for Agricultural Market Development (AMD) activity in Pakistan is a USAID funded activity implemented by CNFA with the goal of supporting the development of Pakistan’s commercial agriculture, particularly through improving the ability of Pakistan’s agriculture and livestock sectors to meet both international and domestic demand and requirements in targeted product lines in Citrus, Mango, High value/off season vegetable and livestock. AMD envisions transforming the four targeted product lines into efficient, private sector led value chains that deliver competitive products to domestic and export markets. AMD’s targeted training, matching grants, and technical assistance will leverage private sector investment and encourage innovation. Together these approaches will support upgrading, streamline supply chains, optimize profit margins, increase participation of women entrepreneurs, and ultimately make Pakistani mango, citrus, meat and HV/OSV more profitable and more competitive.


Objectives of Technical Assistance:

The technical assistance (TA) provided by AMD will be delivered through an international consultant and will include the preparation and oversight of trial shipments of mixed vegetables (excluding onion and potatoes) via refrigerated sea containers to international markets identified by AMD’s team and export partners. The international STTA will provide onsite technical guidance and supervision in the preparation of vegetables for a trial shipment under managed atmosphere conditions. The consultant will recommend grading, packing, loading and shipping of mixed vegetables for the trial shipments to ensure compatibility and will develop the SOPs for selected vegetables for technical personnel to manage, operate, and dispatch future sea shipments of mixed vegetables under managed atmosphere conditions. Capacity building of processor and exporters will also be the part of consultancy which include but not limited to technical support and knowledge sharing on handling and post-harvest handling of selected vegetables, ethylene production, ethylene compatibility and sensitivity, international labeling and packaging and cools chain requirement of selected vegetables requirements. The SOP’s will include guidelines from harvesting to post-harvest handling and extending the shelf life of products in reefer containers or under cold chain.

Assignment Scope:

All of the products exported from Pakistan are neither processed in the cool chain system nor transported to distant market in their optimum storage environment and hence they only possess a shelf life of few hours to few days depending on the perishability of crops. They reach to the destination in poor quality due to its inability to retain the product, the exporters are forced to sell the produce at the throw away prices. The produce which is processed satisfactory using cool chain facilities can be retained for 2-3 weeks without any problem.  The introduction of cold chain system in the export of vegetables in reefer container will not only ensure maintaining quality, enhance shelf life but will turn out economically as well. It is anticipated that transportation cost shall be reduced several folds resulting in to direct benefit to exporters.

The exporters of fresh produce around the world are mainly dependent on-air freight, because of the quickest and more reliable transportation methods for fresh produce. Capacity to transport and cost accrued while transporting fresh produce are the major bottleneck, in transporting fresh fruits and vegetables via air freight. The introduction of shipments via refrigerated sea containers holds the potential to significantly impact vegetable exports from Pakistan. AMD aims to strengthen the HVOSV product line by supporting the private sector investors to maximize their profit margin using inexpensive sea freight shipment for less perishable vegetables of summer crop. Through this intervention, summer vegetables with the same storage requirement and ethylene productivity/sensitivity will be shipped via refrigerated marine containers to middle east. Technical support will be provided by AMD technical team. Sea freight shipment of mix vegetables would be the first of its kind and selected exporters and processors will be briefed technically on handling and post-harvest handling of vegetables for export market. The 20 feet consignment through reefer container will be shipped on trial basis and will be evaluated for quality.

The successful introduction of this technology has the potential to initiate a new era of vegetable exports from Pakistan. Assistance will be required in following areas;

·         Product pre-harvest handling for sea shipment; including field handling and transport to pack house for selected vegetables

·         Maturity indices and methods of field heat removal.

·         Cleaning, sorting, grading, and waxing requirements for each identified product

·         Cold chain requirements as well as transportation and humidity requirements

·         Ethylene sensitivity/compatibility and product competitiveness

·         Packaging requirements of different products including labelling and export requirement.

·         Important post-harvest diseases/insects, their management and SPS measures.

·         Loading and preparation of reefer container

The STTA’s tasks will include but not be limited to:



§  Coordinate with AMD program team for development of engagement plans and strategies;

§  Work with AMD VC Manager (HV/OSV) to specify the transportation requirements of certain fresh produce particularly summer vegetables.

§  Coordinate with AMD staff and vegetables exporters for Identification of key importers, especially engage in importing and marketing of vegetables in UAE;

§  Develop an in-term and final report with recommendations on the sea freight shipment of mix vegetables;

§  Any other tasks assigned by the COP and CTA relating to the evaluation of fresh vegetables via sea shipment at importing country.


·         Develop a detailed work plan to execute the assignment within 2 days of assignment commencements

·         Submit a written report identifying appropriate mixes of vegetables that can be exported together in a refrigerated sea container keeping in view their temperature requirements and ethylene sensitivity as well as suitable international destinations with sizeable profit margins.

·         On-site Technical Assistance and preparing vegetables for export market including supervision on handling and post-harvest handling of vegetables and packaging requirement for each vegetable.

·         Develop the SOP’s for exporting the identified products in refrigerated sea containers including postharvest handling, recommended packaging, temperature requirements and loading.

·         Capacity building sessions of traders, processor and exporters on handling and post-harvest handling and cold chain management of selected summer vegetables in Sindh and Punjab.

·         Submit final report on technical assistance with power point presentation using AMD templates within 3 business days on completion of assignment.

·         Identify potential market in Middle East for Pakistani vegetables and develop timeline for export of vegetables from Pakistan.

·         Any other task assigned by CTA or AMD technical team.


level of effort (LOE) for the assignment:

23 Working days; including 2-days of travel, 2 days at AMD office at the beginning for background review, 14 working days in Pakistan including local travel days, and 4 days for report writing and presentation and 1 travel day back to home country.






Week 1

International travel 1 day


Background reading Workplan development 2 days


Field visit and discussion with exporter, processor and traders and preparation for sea freight shipment in Sindh/Punjab 2 days


Week 2

 Capacity building of processor, traders and exporters in Sindh and Punjab 3 days


Onsite preparation of sea freight shipment of vegetables 2 days


SOP’s for preparing vegetables for export 2 days

Week 3

 SOP’s for preparing vegetables for export 2 days

Meeting with stakeholders to present finding and share the SOP’s 1 day


 Report writing and presentation 2 days



Week 4

 Report writing and presentation 2 days

Deliver presentation to AMD staff 1 day


Submission of final report 1 day


 Travel back to home country 1 day



Timing of the Assignment:


The consultant will commence working on this assignment on or about last week of April or early May, 2018, while the sea container is expected to arrive to destination at UAE on or about mid May 2018.




The consultants should have:

§  An advanced degree in the field of Agriculture, Post-harvest Technology, Agriculture marketing, Business Management and/or Food Engineering;

§  5-10 years’ experience of having worked with commercial agriculture traders or exporters as well as other players in the HV/OSV;

§  Sound knowledge of cold chain and Good Agriculture Practices (GAP) in processing agricultural products and maintaining quality standards;

§  Prior experience of working as a consultant with USAID or donor funded projects in Pakistan with Good Agriculture Practices, SPS, Post-harvest handling of fresh produce, pre-cooling, cold storage and international marketing;

§  Excellent computer skills, in particular: Microsoft Word, Excel and Power Point;

§  Demonstrable interpersonal and communication skills;

§  Documented excellent writing skills in English;

§  Oral fluency in English;