Imported citrus from Morocco is now arriving by boat on the East Coast, while imported melons are about to take center stage as the domestic season comes to a close.
The season’s first breakbulk shipment of fresh Moroccan citrus to arrive in the United States took place November 7th at the port of Wilmington, DE.
The M.V. Belgie Reefer, a specialized refrigerated vessel delivered the citrus to port of Wilmington customer Fresh Fruit Maroc.
The Belgie Reefer was carrying over 574,800 boxes of fresh clementines. Wilmington is a major port of entry and distribution center for the seasonal importation of fresh Moroccan citrus, including Nour and Nadorcott clementine varieties.
During this season which runs through March, the port expects to receive about 12 shiploads of fruit from the Moroccan Atlantic port of Agadir. The arrival of the Belgie Reefer marks the 19th consecutive year the port has been receiving express, breakbulk shipments for Fresh Fruit Maroc.
Cargo is stored in the port’s 800,000-square-foot on-dock refrigerated warehouse complex, one of North America’s largest facilities, before distribution to markets throughout the United States and Canada. The port of Wilmington will handle over 10.7 million boxes of Moroccan citrus in the 2018-19 season.
Domestic melon shipments are winding down and now U.S. importers are looking to the offshore season. Much of the winter melon imports come from production areas in Mexico as well as Guatemala. Offshore fruit is expected to arrive on the West Coast in early December, a little behind the first East Coast arrivals.
Vision Produce Company of Los Angeles starts its Central American season from Guatemala in early December on the West Coast and will continue through April. The company is expecting steady supplies.
Both California and northern Mexico have experienced some adverse growing conditions, which reduced shipments and is increasing demand for imported melons as the new season gets underway.