With the USDA forecasting imports into the United States will exceed exports, that is good news for produce haulers. Imported produce continues to grow, especially during the winter months. U.S. ports, particularly in the Southeastern USA are handling more imported fresh perishables than ever.
The USDA is projecting stronger growth for U.S. imports of fresh fruits and vegetables. Fresh fruit imports in FY 2015 will total $10.3 billion, 8.9 percent higher than 2014 and 23 percent above fiscal year 2013. Fresh vegetable imports are forecast at $7.1 billion in 2015, 7 percent above FY 2014 and 8 percent above fiscal year 2013. The top imported fresh commodity in 2014 was Mexican tomatoes at $1.6 billion, 1 percent above 2013. U.S. imports of Mexican avocados surged in value in 2014, rising from $920 million to $1.23 billion.
U.S. imports of fruits and vegetables will continue to outpace exports. U.S. fresh fruit and vegetable exports will reach $7.9 billion in fiscal year 2015. Strong exports of fresh fruits and vegetables will help total U.S. horticultural exports reach record levels. At $7.9 billion, fresh fruit and vegetable exports for fiscal year 2015 (October 2014 through September 2015) are forecast 6.4 percent ahead of fiscal year 2014’s total of $7.42 billion.
The U.S. exported $600 million in fresh berries to Canada in FY 2014, representing the biggest commodity export value to any country. U.S. berry exports to Canada were 2 percent down from 2013, but 5 percent above 2012. U.S. exports of lettuce to Canada topped $400 million, and both grapes and apples tallied more than $200 million in export sales to Canada. The top export to Mexico was apples at $257 million, down about 25 percent compared with 2013.
Imports from distribution centers near South Florida ports – grossing about $2300 to Chicago.