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Port of Oakland Volume Jumped 11.4% in 1st Half of 2021

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Port of Oakland first half 2021 total cargo volume increased 11.4 percent over 2020 and forecasters envision no letup.

The Port reported recently it handled the equivalent of 1.3 million 20-foot containers in the past six months. If the pace holds, the Port’s year-end volume would surpass 2.6 million containers for the first time ever.

“We’ve never seen this level of activity and based on the outlook we’re preparing for more,” said Port of Oakland Maritime Director Bryan Brandes. “Our challenge is serving customers who expect us to handle their cargo efficiently.”

The Port said a year-long boom in containerized U.S. imports is driving record business. It said the trend should continue based on three factors:

  • Record freight rates being charged by container shipping lines indicating high demand for vessel space;
  • Rising U.S. inflation that signals continued strong consumer spending on goods manufactured overseas; and
  • The upcoming August-November peak season when retailers and distributors stock up for holiday merchandising.

According to the Port, containerized import volume in Oakland has increased year-over-year for five consecutive months. Oakland reported that June 2021 imports were up 15 percent compared to the same period last year. Exports edged up 0.8 percent, the Port said.

Ports nationwide have reported difficulty keeping up with the unprecedented cargo surge. On average, vessels are loading and unloading 66 percent more cargo in Oakland than they did last year. One consequence has been cargo delivery delays. Oakland said it expects delays to ease by late summer with the addition of more dockworkers. 

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Stemilt is Now Shipping New Season Pears from Washington State

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By Stemilt Growers

The dog days of summer are fading in the distance, and that signals the start of Stemilt’s new pear crop and the arrival of summer varieties.

The company is in full harvest mode on its Rushing Rivers® conventional and organic Bartlett and Starkrimson pears and packing fruit fresh to order now to spur the back-to-school rush and first promotions of the season at retail.

Stemilt’s summer and winter pear varieties are grown in the Wenatchee and Entiat River Valleys, where growing conditions are perfect for pears. Great airflow, a mountain climate that protects pears, and volcanic soils all combine to make these locales a pear farmer’s dream come true.

According to Stemilt marketing director Brianna Shales, early indicators point to a high-quality pear crop with a range of sizes for promotion and World Famous flavors.

“It’s hard to believe we are already at that intersection between the summer and fall seasons for produce, but that’s what the start of pear harvest always signals for me,” said Shales. “Starkrimson and Bartlett pears are the first to come off the tree for Stemilt and are ready to promote at retail during the transition to fall sets and fall flavors.”

Starkrimson is trending towards normal fruit size and opportunities to promote bulk and bags at retail. Stemilt has two pouch bag offerings for this bright red fruit, including the always-popular back-to-school pack Lil Snappers®. The 3lb. pouch bag of kid-size fruit is a great feature alongside first of the season bulk ads that feature red and green pears. Stemilt also has a larger 5lb. pouch bag pack in the Rushing Rivers® pear brand for its summer varieties.

“Starkrimson is a fantastic eating red pear and available for the early part of the pear season,” said Shales. “This year’s fruit is super juicy with high sugars and true dessert eating quality.”

Bartlett is the category leader at the front half of the pear season, and Stemilt is actively harvesting and packing both conventional and organic fruits now.

“Organic pears are a challenge to grow, but we’re a believer and long-time leader in them,” said Shales. “This year, we have increased volume on organic Bartlett as new acreage has come into organic production. Starting the season off with an organic Bartlett feature is a great way to build organic and pear sales.”
On the conventional Bartlett side, Stemilt will have a similar size crop as last year and is harvesting fruit to help with season extension into February. Stemilt will have good supplies of bulk and bag sizes, but fewer jumbo-sized Bartletts this year.

In September, Stemilt started harvesting winter pear varieties, including Bosc and Concorde. D’Anjou pears harvest next and start shipping in October following a cold treatment and ripening process that ensures ready-to-eat fruit.

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Southern California Port Congestion Logjam tops 50 Ships as Wait Time Increases

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The U.S. port congestion is worsening, with the number of container ships waiting to enter the largest U.S. gateway for transpacific trade swelling to another pandemic record, Bloomberg reports.

The situation is adding delays and costs during peak season for companies to rebuild inventories.

Fifty-five vessels were anchored or idling further offshore waiting to offload at the twin ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, California, as of September 13th, up from 40 two weeks ago, according to officials who monitor marine traffic in San Pedro Bay.

The average wait rose to 8.5 days compared with 7.6 in late August, according to L.A. port data.

L.A. officials have exhausted their designated anchorage space for overflow traffic and had a record 17 ships in so-called drift zones — areas used in times of extreme volume where they wait for room in shallower water to drop anchor safely.

The ships in queue have a combined capacity to carry nearly 375,000 20-foot containers, according to data compiled by the Marine Exchange of Southern California. That’s about the same amount of inbound boxes that the Los Angeles port handled in a month on average before the pandemic.

And experts don’t expect a slowdown in cargo as peak season nears.

There is a “60% increase in the inbound outbound ratio at the ports of US West Coast, surpassing the pre-covid levels, indicating that there is excessive stress on the ports, and therefore indicating further congestion is expected in the coming months as we approach the holiday season in the later part of the year,” Dr. Johannes Schlingmeier, co-founder and CEO of Container xChange, said in a press release.

Cargo volumes have been growing for several months. The Port of Long Beach has broken cargo monthly records in 12 of the last 13 month.

Through July, the port processed 5.5 million TEUs, a 32% increase over the same period last year, according to the Port of Long Beach. The Port of Los Angeles has processed 6.3 million TEUs in the 2021 calendar year.

Companies across the supply chain are taking action to mitigate the port congestion. Shippers are booking in advance even if it means paying more. Carriers are doubling orders for container ships, and 3PLs likes C.H. Robinson are applying drayage surcharges at ports in Long Beach and Los Angeles.

Customers are already shifting cargo to ports along the East Coast, Gulf or Pacific Northwest. The Southern California ports play a dominant role due to their capacity, but customers at Seko Logistics have been looking at charters to transport goods.

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Allen Lund Company Renews with U.S. SmartWay Transport Partnership

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Allen Lund Company has announced that it has submitted and received approval for their current data submission to the SmartWay Transport Partnership, an innovative collaboration between U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the industry.

The SmartWay Transport Partnership provides a framework to assess the environmental and energy efficiency of goods movement supply chains. 

Allen Lund Company will continue to contribute to the Partnership’s savings of 312 million barrels of oil, $41.8 billion on fuel costs and 133 metric tons of CO2, 2.6 million tons of NOx, and 109 million tons of PM… This is the equivalent of the annual electricity use in 20 million homes. By joining SmartWay Transport Partnership, Allen Lund Company demonstrates its strong environmental leadership and corporate responsibility.

Executive VP, Kenny Lund commented, “Allen Lund Company has been a proud participant in SmartWay for many years. We will continue to help the transportation industry to deliver goods in the most efficient way possible. Our experienced employees and cutting-edge technology allow carriers and shippers to run more loaded miles with less waiting and supply chain disruption.”

Developed jointly in early 2003 by EPA and Charter Partners represented by industry stakeholders, environmental groups, American Trucking Associations, and Business for Social Responsibility, this innovative program celebrated its 10-year anniversary in 2014. Partners rely upon SmartWay tools and approaches to track and reduce emissions and fuel use from goods movement. The Partnership currently has over 3,000 Partners including shipper, logistics companies, truck, rail, barge, and multimodal carriers.

For information about the SmartWay Transport Partnership visit 

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California Grape Shippers Look to Strong Finish; But Some Quality Issues May Exist

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Good, consistent shipments of California table grapes are predicted well into December, although there are some concerns quality issues may arise.

While Pandol Bros. Inc. of Delano, CA doesn’t see any big gaps in supply for the rest of the California grape season, there is some angst regarding labor shortages at both the grower and retail level, which could have some negative consequences on movement.

At the farm level, farmers with too much of one variety maturing at the same time could be hard-pressed to pick the fruit in top condition if they don’t have sufficient labor.

From the retail end, Pandol reports some retail stores have a shortage of labor at the produce department level. If retailers don’t rotate grapes in the right way, then repeat purchases could suffer.

A retail clerk may stock the grape display in the morning, but if that display isn’t stocked again before the rush house, impulse purchases may be at risk.

Still, Pandol sees the outlook for strong California grape shipments with only slight variations from projected volume likely.

Columbine Vineyards, Delano, CA reports California grapes got off to a great early season start, but in mid season there were too many green grapes based on an accelerated harvest due to weather, and at the same time there were not enough reds. 

Looking ahead, Columbine Vineyards sees good volume with the red seedless varieties, and continued good volume with green grapes.

While the crop has good volume, the company is concerned about export logistics, materials cost, labor costs and water scarcity.

Exports may be down this year because of troublesome logistics at ports.

About 30% of California grapes typically go to export markets, and strong demand for air and vessel capacity has made exports more difficult.

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California Giant’s Strong Peruvian Blueberry Season Makes for Supplies Year-Round

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By California Giant Berry Farms

WATSONVILLE, CA – After a bountiful domestic season, California Giant Berry Farms is anticipating a high-quality, on-time start to the import season thanks to its Peruvian-grown blueberries.

This strong harvest in Peru – coupled with a 100% increase in volume – means retailers will be able to market fresh blueberries from California Giant Berry Farms branded year-round.

The Peruvian harvest begins this month on time “and in some cases a bit earlier,” Nadar Musleh, Executive Director of International Business Development, California Giant Berry Farms, explained. “We project U.S. arrivals to begin in early September. Production will continue through December in Peru, then we’ll continue with production in Chile through March – meaning retailers will be able to offer their shoppers a consistent supply of our high-quality California Giant blueberries year-round.”

“Blueberries in general are having a very good season in Peru with a 25-30% increase over last year’s volumes, and California Giant in particular is outpacing this production increase by doubling our volume over last year,” said Musleh.

Through expanded acreage and maturing fields at its three state-of-the-art production facilities in Peru, California Giant will have more varieties to offer customers this year – including Ventura, Biloxi, Kestrel and Bianca – which allows for supplies to reach even more areas in the U.S.

In addition, by increasing both organic and conventional production, “we also will be able to offer organic product to U.S. customers every week this fall and winter without interruption,” Musleh added.

California Giant Berry Farms started small. Cousins Pat Riordan and Bill Moncovich teamed up with best friend Frank Saveria to sell strawberries from a simple trailer in Watsonville, CA. Nearly 40 years later, California Giant has grown into a global family of people passionate about delivering the best strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries in the most sustainable way. Quality, consistency and community inspire the mission and values of: Community, Quality, Philanthropy, Fairness, and Mutual Respect is what continues to sustain us. Because the bigger the smile, the better.


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Global Avocado Production May Triple from 2010 to 2030

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Avocado production may triple its growth by 2030 compared to levels in 2010 by reaching 12 metric tons (MT), according to an FAO report.

The OECD-FAO Agricultural Outlook 2021-2030 reports while avocados have the lowest production level among the major tropical fruits, it has experienced the fastest growth in production in recent years.

This fruit is expected to remain the fastest-growing commodity of the major tropical fruits during the reporting period.

Ample global demand and lucrative export unit prices continue to be the main drivers of this growth, stimulating substantial investments in area expansion in both major and emerging production zones.

Production and Consumption

Avocado production has so far been concentrated in a small number of regions and countries, with the top 10 producing areas currently accounting for almost 80 percent of world production.

Despite the above, the report said around 74 percent of avocado production is expected to remain in Latin America and the Caribbean, given the favorable growth conditions in the region.

In response to the rapid growth in global demand, avocados are expected to become the most traded tropical fruit by 2030, reaching 3.9MT of exports and surpassing both pineapples and mangoes in terms of quantity.

Given the high average unit prices of avocado, the total value of world avocado exports would reach an estimated $8.3 billion in constant value terms from 2014 to 2016, placing the avocado as one of the most valuable fruits.

Production in Mexico, the world’s largest producer and exporter, is expected to grow 5.2 percent annually over the next 10 years due to continued growth in demand in the U.S.

As such, and despite growing competition from emerging exporters, Mexico is expected to further increase its market share to 63 percent in 2030.

The report also notes the U.S. and the EU are expected to remain the top importers, accounting for 40 percent and 31 percent of world imports in 2030, respectively.

However, imports are also increasing rapidly in many other areas such as China and some Middle Eastern countries, and, as measured by the Herfindahl-Hirschman index of all importers, the concentration of imports is gradually decreasing.

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Massachusetts Expects to Ship an Average Crop of Cranberries This Season

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By Cape Cod Cranberry Growers’ Association

Cape Cod Cranberry Growers’ Association (CCCGA) leadership attended a recent Cranberry Marketing Committee (CMC) meeting where the committee announced its 2021 cranberry crop forecast for the United States.

Massachusetts is the founder of cranberry cultivation, initiated on Cape Cod in 1816, and currently stands as the second-largest cranberry growing region in the country. The Commonwealth produces approximately 23% of the annual crop in the United States. 

For Massachusetts, CMC is forecasting a crop of 1.9 million barrels (each barrel equals 100 pounds), up 5% from the Commonwealth’s 2020 harvest. Overall, CMC is anticipating the national crop to yield about 8.1 million barrels, also an increase of 5% over last season.

“Similar to last year, our bogs are tracking to deliver a solid crop yield for Massachusetts growers, what I would consider an average crop for our region based on past performance”, shared CCCGA Executive Director Brian Wick.

For more information about Massachusetts cranberries and their health benefits, visit Cape Cod Cranberry Growers’ Association online at or follow the Association on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.


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Bar Mixologists Have Until Oct. 1 to Create Pomegrante Cocktail: 5 Will Win $10K

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By The Wonderful Company

LOS ANGELES – POM Wonderful® is excited to launch a social media cocktail contest dedicated to supporting local bars that were impacted by pandemic closures. The competition will put bartenders’ mixology skills to the test as they create cocktails using POM Wonderful 100% Pomegranate Juice. Five winners will each designate a deserving bar to receive a $10,000 cash prize and year’s supply of POM Juice.

Mixologists across the country are encouraged to highlight the sweet-yet-tart taste of POM Juice and enter the #POMCocktailContest. Entrants will be tasked with developing a signature POM-inspired cocktail and sharing a photo of their creation on Instagram along with the recipe, tagging @POMWonderful and nominating a local bar. Entries will be judged on presentation, creativity, diversity of ingredients, and the extent to which POM Juice is featured.

On October 1, 10 finalists will be chosen, and their cocktails will be featured on the @POMWonderful Instagram page. Consumers will have the opportunity to vote for their favorite POM cocktail by “liking” the photo to determine the semi-finalists. Five winners will be selected on October 11. The winners’ nominated bars will receive a $10,000 cash prize to help them recover from pandemic hardships, along with a year’s supply of POM Juice to incorporate into cocktails.

“The bar community played an important role in the beginnings of POM Wonderful 100% Pomegranate Juice, bringing to life the iconic POMtini and pomegranate margarita. With so many bars impacted by COVID-19 closures, we wanted to rally behind those who have supported us,” said Adam Cooper, senior vice president of marketing, The Wonderful Company. “Through a friendly competition and unique POM cocktails, we hope to bring some hope, excitement and flavor to the bars and bartenders that have had a challenging year.”

As a cocktail ingredient, POM Juice adds a unique burst of flavor and antioxidant goodness, perfect for those looking for a better-for-you mixer. To learn more about the contest and for official rules, please visit For cocktail inspiration and information about POM Wonderful, please visit, on Facebook at /POMWonderful, and Instagram at @POMWonderful.


About POM Wonderful

POM Wonderful is the largest grower and producer of fresh pomegranates and pomegranate juice in the United States as well as the worldwide leader in fresh California pomegranates and pomegranate-based products including our 100% pomegranate juices, healthy juice blends, and teas. We grow, handpick and juice our own pomegranates to ensure the highest quality. POM Wonderful is part of The Wonderful Company, a privately held $5 billion company, which also has other No. 1 brands such as Wonderful® Pistachios, FIJI® Water, Wonderful® Halos®, JUSTIN® Wine, and Teleflora®. To learn more about The Wonderful Company, visit, or follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. 

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Organic Garlic Sales Continue to Increase

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Over 3 million pounds of organic garlic, and sales in excess of $24 million occured in 2019.

IRI reports income plays a role in organic garlic purchases. Shoppers earning less than $50,000 annually were half as likely to select organic garlic exclusively in 2020 as those earning $50,000-$100,000, according to Organic Fresh Trends 2021.

African American consumers, Asian shoppers and those in the “all other” ethnic group were among the most likely overall to buy organic garlic at least some of the time. Hispanic shoppers were among the least likely to buy organic garlic overall, whether it be periodically or exclusively.

Older consumers were less likely to select organic garlic than those younger than 40. In fact, shoppers age 18-39 were among the most likely groups overall to buy organic garlic at least some of the time, while those over age 60 (and Hispanic shoppers) were the least likely groups overall to choose organic. 

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