Air shipments continue to be the dominant mode of transportation for U.S. imports of Argentina blueberries, but shipments by boat increased in 2017, according to the USDA.
Even bigger volume of sea shipments is expected this year. Although initial arrivals began in September, October had 49 percent of the total volume and November had 39 percent of the volume in 2017, with the season ending in early December.
Air shipments accounted for 85 percent of all Argentina blueberry volume in 2017, down from 98 percent of volume for air in 2015.
Still, Argentina’s air shipments of blueberries are far above those of its South American competitors.
The ag department reported air shipments of Peruvian blueberries accounted for 6.3 percent of total imports in 2017. For Chile, air shipments accounted for 12 percent of U.S. imports in 2017.
Argentina blueberry exporters will be shipping more fruit to the U.S. by boat through Chile this year, which has a transit time of 17 days.
About 35 percent of Argentina blueberries will be exported to the U.S. by sea containers this year.
The 2017 Season
The USDA reports Argentina blueberry imports to the U.S. in 2017 at the Miami airport, accounted for about 64 percent of the total imports, compared with 76 percent in 2016 and 55 percent in 2015.
Boat shipments of blueberries to Philadelphia/Camden accounted for 13 percent of U.S. imports in 2017, up significantly from 3.4 percent in 2016 and 1.6 percent in 2015.
The Giumarra Cos. of Los Angeles had it’s first Argentina blueberry air arrivals during the first week of September, and will be receiving product into early December.
Giumarra also is increasing its volume of fruit the company receives in bulk and by vessel this season from Argentina.
This reasoning allows the operation to avoid fumigation for both the organic and conventional fruit. Giumarra then will pack the fruit in the U.S. in order to ensure its customers are receiving freshly packed product and in the pack type they require.