Fish company reels in DHL for live distribution

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Express delivery and logistics company DHL has developed a regional ground distribution for 5-D Tropical, Florida's largest producer and importer of tropical fish.

5-D Tropical imports fish from Asia, Africa and South America for retailers primarily throughout the southeastern United States. The company, which also raises fish at its facility, has been looking to grow market share in its home region. Prior to DHL, 5-D Tropical was unable to find a carrier that could help it deliver live fish safely via next- day ground service.

"DHL's regional ground footprint now opens new business opportunities for us and allows us to be much more competitive with other pet shop and supply businesses in the region," said Jason Diaz, vice president of 5-D Tropical, Plant City, FL.

Plantation, FL-based DHL, which was also named as the exclusive provider of live tropical fish deliveries across the United States, developed the solution for regional ground distribution for 5-D Tropical through its hub induction program, a contract service that enables drop shipping at a DHL hub.

5-D Tropical will now induct shipments of live fish directly to one of two DHL sort hubs in the region. DHL then handles the live cargo, sorting through its ground delivery network and local service centers, to effect final delivery within 24 hours. The new service enables 5-D Tropical to offer one-day ground service to over 90 percent of customer locations in the region.

The big improvement for the company is the regional distribution capability for next-day ground service that it didn't have before its relationship with DHL. It was usually too expensive to send fish to those areas by air. Fish could die if longer transport was required, so 5-D Tropical usually couldn't fill such regional orders.

For ground or air transport, 5-D Tropical fish are packaged in durable plastic bags injected with oxygen to sustain life for up to 40 hours. Sealed in plastic enclosed in Styrofoam, the shipping containers protect the fish against normal temperature variants, with special heat packs or cold packs to withstand extreme temperatures.

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