We market and distribute our products to retail stores, foodservice operators, wholesalers and distributors in over 100 countries around the world. As a result, we conduct complex logistics operations on a global basis, transporting our products from the countries in which they are grown to the many markets in which they are sold worldwide. Maintaining fruit at the appropriate temperature is an important factor in preventing premature ripening and optimizing product quality and freshness. Consistent with our reputation for high-quality fresh produce, we must preserve our fresh fruit in a continuous temperature-controlled environment, beginning with the harvesting of the fruit in the field through its distribution to our end markets.
We have a fully integrated logistics network, which includes land and sea transportation through a broad range of refrigerated environments in vessels, port facilities, containers, trucks and warehouses. Our objective is to maximize utilization of our logistics network to lower our average per-box logistics cost, while remaining sufficiently flexible to redeploy capacity or shipments to meet fluctuations in demand in our key markets. We believe that our control of the logistics process is a competitive advantage because we are able to continuously monitor and maintain the quality of our produce and ensure timely and regular distribution to customers on a year-round basis. Because logistics costs are also our largest expense other than our cost of products, we devote substantial resources to managing the scheduling and availability of various means of reliable transportation.