One of the last things Southern hemisphere winter fruit needs is further delays when normal transit times to the U.S. are up to three weeks.
Long Beach and Los Angeles ports are facing log jams of container vessels, as perishable produce is spending more time on the water than normal.
Bengard Marketing of Los Angeles notes there has been lingering problems for months creating a perfect storm, resulting in fruit quality suffering. For example, fruit normally having a three week transit period via container from Chile is now experiencing five to six weeks on the water.
Sensitive fruits such as peaches, apricots and cherries are being affected the most from unpredictable arrival schedules. As volumes increase, there could be even more congestion after getting the product to storage, because it may be subject to repacking to get rid of poor quality fruit or even facing delays due to survey claims.
Concerning Peru, all grapes are subjected to a cold treatment upon arrival, which means adding a few days on top of the same delay faced by all other containers. Some shipments from Peru are being redirected to Port Hueneme, where there are fewer restrictions and less timing of discharge is much better as they don’t have as much congestion as L.A.
Many exporters are converting to bulk vessels that have their own terminal, along with operations that are not as impacted as the container vessel terminals are. While bulk vessel shipments are more predictable, the frequency of arrivals is much less than shipping via container vessels.