Many transportation companies that handle food products in North America have to meet the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's special standard for safe food handling, known as the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) certification.
Challenging as it is to meet these exacting hygiene standards, things could be worse. Logistics companies doing business overseas sometimes face additional hurdles—hurdles that are based not on food science but on cultural norms.
The latest example is Yusen Logistics, which announced in April that its subsidiary TASCO Berhad had earned halal certification from the Malaysian government's Department of Islamic Development Malaysia.
Muslims use the term "halal" to refer to food, drinks, and activities permitted by Islamic scripture. Islamic law also dictates how foods are handled and prepared, and stretches to cover cosmetics and pharmaceuticals.
TASCO Berhad is now halal-compliant both for its transportation operations—covering 25 vehicles located at the company's facilities in Penang, Malacca, Selangor, and Johor—and for its warehousing facility, the 97,000-square-foot Penang Prai Logistics Center.
Yusen plans to leverage its new expertise for profit, continuing to provide logistics services within Malaysia and also creating a one-stop halal logistics service connected to its international network. With the global halal market forecast to reach $2.6 trillion in 2015, the move could pay off big.