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Mexican Melon Shipments Increase by 11 Percent

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Mexican melon volumes are growing. Figures from the Mexican Information Service of Agrofood and Fishing (SIAP) indicate that fruit production grew by 11.2% in 2023, compared to the 580,000 tons recorded in 2022. 

Michoacan is the main producing state in the country, accounting for 144,600 tons. 

The U.S. is the main market for Mexican melons with a market value of 25,6 million dollars in 2022. In addition to domestic consumption, Mexican producers export the fruit to Japan, Hong Kong, Cuba, Colombia, Belize, Canada, and the United Arab Emirates. 

Two varieties are marketed in Mexico: Cantaloupe and Valenciano. The latter is larger than the Chinese melon and has a smooth, pale green rind, deep green flesh, and a sweet flavor. 

Mexico ranked as the world’s 12th largest producer, accounting for 1.9% of the international volume.

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International Logistics in the Red Sea

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By Scott Fontes ALC Orlando

International logistics plays a crucial role in facilitating global trade and commerce by connecting businesses across continents. The Red Sea, a key maritime route, is currently experiencing significant disruptions that have led to impacts on international logistics. The ongoing geopolitical tensions in the region, coupled with environmental challenges, are reshaping the landscape of maritime transportation. Shipping times and costs have increased, adding significant delays and costs. Oil and gas prices have jumped following news of attacks, and shipping insurance premiums have nearly doubled for some carriers. Even if attacks stopped today, the effects will take a significant time to resolve.

The Red Sea has become a focal point for tensions and conflicts, influencing the safety and efficiency of shipping lanes. By January 2024, only 200,000 standard containers were passing through the waterway per day, compared with around 450,000 in December 2022. Strategic chokepoints, such as the Bab-el-Mandeb and the Suez Canal, are vital passages for vessels navigating between the Mediterranean and the Indian Ocean. Political instability in the surrounding areas can lead to heightened security concerns, affecting the smooth flow of goods. According to the AP, “The governments of Australia, Bahrain, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Netherlands, New Zealand, and South Korea joined the U.S. and U.K. in issuing a statement saying that while the aim is to de-escalate tensions and restore stability in the Red Sea, the allies won’t hesitate to defend lives and protect commerce in the critical waterway.” Instead of sailing through the Red Sea, ships traveling between Asia and Europe are now being re-routed around Africa and the Cape of Good Hope. Stakeholders in international logistics are closely monitoring these developments to assess potential disruptions to supply chains.

Furthermore, environmental factors like extreme temperatures, strong currents, occasional coral reefs, and weather events pose challenges to maritime operations in the Red Sea. Rising sea levels and changing weather patterns can impact navigation, port infrastructure, and overall logistics efficiency. Companies engaged in international trade must adapt to these environmental shifts, incorporating resilience measures into their logistical strategies.

As the Red Sea continues to play a pivotal role in global trade routes, a comprehensive understanding of both geopolitical and environmental dynamics is essential for the sustainable functioning of international logistics networks. By embracing innovation and responsible practices, we can ensure that the Red Sea remains a vital and sustainable lifeline for international trade in the years to come.

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Scott Fontes began working for the Allen Lund Company in 2023 as an international logistics specialist in the Orlando office. Scott joined the company with years of experience in transportation, most recently as a logistics manager for an OTR transportation company.

scott.fontes@allenlund.com

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Mexico Continues Growth of Watermelon Shipments in 2023

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Mexican watermelon shipments hit 1.199 million tons at the end of November 2023, exceeding the annual totals for 2021 and 2022.

If this upward trend continues, it could be among the top 10 producing countries, according to Mexico’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

The U.S. is the largest importer, showing the quality reputation obtained in terms of quality, health and safety, coupled with the effort and commitment of the producers, the ministry said.

Data from the Agri-Food and Fisheries Information Service (SIAP) indicate that the volume of the penultimate month of last year represents an increase of 0.4 and 1.8 percent compared to the 1.194 million tons and 1.177 million tons reported in 2021 and 2022, respectively.

Sonora was the largest producing state – of the 27 that cultivate the fruit – contributing 373,084 tons from January to November 2023.

Chihuahua follows, with 143,229 tons; then Jalisco, 102,795 tons; Veracruz, 94,096 tons; and Campeche, with 80,058 tons, the latter entity went from ninth position in 2022, with 36,985 tons, to fifth place.

On the other hand, the ministry indicated that the participation of watermelon amounts to 4.7 percent in national production and annual per capita consumption in the country is 3.5 kilograms.

The above because – according to specialists – watermelon is one of the healthiest fruits as it has water that makes it ideal against dehydration and is very refreshing in hot weather, it has vitamins A, B and C and helps strengthen the immune system.

The federal agency pointed out that, in addition, the greater volume of watermelon has allowed volumes exceeding 700,000 tons per year to be allocated abroad, where the United States is the largest importer, with an amount of $153 million in 2022.

Japan, Canada, Belize, Cuba, Colombia, and the UAE are also among the destination countries for Mexican watermelon, a fruit that belongs to the cucurbit family and is characterized by its red pulp and sweet flavor, he explained.

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Increase in Chilean Stone Fruit Exports Forecast this Season

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The Frutas de Chile Stone Fruit Committee has released a new estimate for this season, including Nectarines, Japanese Plums, European Plums, and Peaches. Forty-four companies, representing 84% of Chile’s global stone fruit exports last season, contributed to the estimate.

The stone fruit industry projects total overall exports of 35,330,388 boxes, a 15% increase over last season.  Estimates for specific categories are as follows:

Nectarines

  • 11.5 million 8 kg boxes; 13% growth from last season.
  • Strong growth in white-flesh nectarines; projected increase of 26%, representing 60% of total nectarine volume.
  • Yellow-flesh nectarine volume expected to decline by two percent, reaching 40% of total nectarine volume.

Japanese Plums

  • 13 million 7 kg equivalent boxes; 16% growth from last season.
  • Red plums are expected to grow by seven percent and black plums by fifteen percent.

European Plums – Sugar Plums – D’Agen (exported primarily to Asia):

  • 8 million 9 kg boxes; 23% growth from last season.

Peaches

  • 2.8 million 8 kg boxes, a decrease of one percent compared to last season.

The Stone Fruit Committee just launched a retail-focused marketing campaign in the U.S., working with retailers nationwide to drive sales of nectarines and plums.  Comments Karen Brux, North America Managing Director of Frutas de Chile, “There are significant opportunities for retailers to build winter stone fruit sales.  We’re developing in-store radio ads, demo programs, digital coupons, online videos, and other tactics to showcase nectarines and plums’ great flavor and nutrition.” Promotions are ongoing and will continue into April.

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33 Percent More Apples Remain to be Shipped Compared to a Year Ago

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In its January report, trade association US Apple of Falls Church, VA unveiled its latest figures showing a 33% year-on-year rise in fresh apple remaining to be shipped and following a consistent upward trend during the past two months.

With volumes standing strong at 112.2 million 42-pound bushels, this shows a 23% rise compared to the January five-year average.

The entity represents the U.S. 26,000 apple growers, nearly 40 state and regional apple associations, and more than 3,700 apple-related companies.

Processing apple holdings totaled 44 million bushels, also showing an increase with volumes 20% higher year-on-year.

By volume, Gala is the largest fresh apple variety in storage this January, with 17.9 million bushels. Honeycrisp comes in second, at 15.5 million bushels.

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Idaho Potato Commission: 10 Healthy Reasons to Eat More Potatoes

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The Idaho Potato Commission’s latest marketing outreach promotes the nutritional benefits of eating potatoes, which are a great source of vitamin C, potassium, vitamin B6 and dietary fiber, according to a news release.

“Idaho potatoes are one of the most nutrient-dense foods in the produce aisle. Not to mention they’re versatile and affordable, making them the ideal staple for busy families focused on eating healthy,” Jamey Higham, president and CEO of the Idaho Potato Commission, said in the release.

According to the commission, here are the top 10 reasons to eat more potatoes:

  1. Idaho potatoes are the first vegetable to participate in the American Diabetes Association’s Better Choices For Life program. 
  2. Potatoes’ versatility makes it a perfect vegetable to pair with many dishes.
  3. When cooked and cooled, potatoes develop resistant starch, a type of fiber that acts similarly to soluble fiber, promoting gut health and metabolic benefits. 
  4. Thanks to a potato’s fiber content, it is a satisfying and filling food choice. Including potatoes in meals help consumers feel fuller for longer periods.
  5. Potatoes are a good source of complex carbohydrates, providing a sustained energy source without causing rapid spikes and crashes in blood sugar levels.
  6. The American Heart Association certified potatoes as a heart-healthy food. 
  7. Potatoes are rich in antioxidants and beneficial compounds such as flavonoids, carotenoids and phenolic acids.
  8. Another way to increase potato consumption is through different cooking methods, such as steaming, roasting, baking or grilling.
  9. Potato skins offer a significant amount of vitamins and minerals, including potassium, vitamin C, and B vitamins.
  10. One potato has more potassium than a banana, which helps regulate blood pressure, nerve function and muscle contractions.

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33 Percent More U.S. Apples Remain to be Shipped Compared to Last Season

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33 percent more apples remain in U.S. storages for shipping as of February 1st, compared to the same time last year, according to the U.S. Apple Association (USApple).

The total volume of apples remaining to be shipped was 137 million bushels This is 23% more than the five-year average, according to the report.

Fresh apple holdings, at 98 million bushels, were 36% more than reported on Feb. 1, 2023, USApple said. Processing apples, totaling 39 million bushels, were 26% higher than this time a year ago.

Washington state has the most fruit with 109,266,667 bushels of fresh and processing apples, up from the five-year average of 89,059,710 bushels. USApple reported Washington shipped 3.2 million
bushels of apples from fresh storage and 12. 3 million bushels of apples in controlled atmosphere storage between the January and February report.

The total number of apples in storage was 137 million bushels, which is 23% more than the five-year average Feb. 1, according to the report.

Fresh apple holdings, at 98 million bushels, were 36% more than reported on Feb. 1, 2023, USApple said. Processing apples, totaling 39 million bushels, were 26% higher than this time a year ago.

Washington leads the February report with 109.3 million bushels of fresh and processing apples, up from the five-year average of 89 million bushels, according to the report. USApple said the state moved 3.2 million bushels of apples in fresh storage and 12.3 million bushels of apples in controlled atmosphere storage between the January and February report.

New York’s fresh and processing holdings stood at 10.1 million bushels, which is up from the five-year average of 8.4 million bushels. USApple said the state moved 529,872 bushels in regular storage and 299,999 in controlled atmosphere storage.

Michigan’s February fresh and processing holdings stood at 8.6 million bushels, which is up from the five-year average of 5,9 million. The state moved 518,000 bushels in regular storage and 962,800 bushels in controlled atmosphere storage.

For apple varieties, Honeycrisp fresh and processing holdings continue to lead USApple’s February report figures with 20.3 million bushels. The five-year average figure for Honeycrisp holdings is 12.8 million bushels.

Red delicious was in second with 20.3 million bushels of fresh and processing apples. The five-year average holdings for red delicious is 19.8 million bushels. Gala followed in third with 18.5 million bushels of fresh and processing apples, slightly lower than the five-year average for the variety of 19.1 million bushels.

Cosmic Crisp stood at 8 million bushels of fresh and processed apples, the report said.

bushels of apples in fresh storage and 12,290,295 bushels of apples in controlled atmosphere storage between the January and February report.

New York’s fresh and processing holdings stood at 10,135,297 bushels, which is up from the five-year average of 8,364,468 bushels. USApple said the state moved 529,872 bushels in regular storage and 299,999 in controlled atmosphere storage.

Michigan’s February fresh and processing holdings stood at 8,595,000 bushels, which is up from the five-year average of 5,963,000 bushels. The state moved 518,000 bushels in regular storage and 962,800 bushels in controlled atmosphere storage.

For apple varieties, Honeycrisp fresh and processing holdings continue to lead USApple’s February report figures with 20,299,677 bushels. The five-year average figure for Honeycrisp holdings is 12,783,800 bushels.

Red delicious was in second with 20,356,741 bushels of fresh and processing apples. The five-year average holdings for red delicious is 19,880,729 bushels. Gala followed in third with 18,476,610 bushels of fresh and processing apples, slightly lower than the five-year average for the variety of 19,071,917 bushels.

Cosmic Crisp stood at 8,052,381 bushels of fresh and processed apples.

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8 Percent Jump in Mexican Blueberry Shipments is Seen

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An 8 percent increase from 2023 is forecast for Mexican blueberry shipments, according to a new USDA report.

The U.S. is the top export market for Mexican blueberries, accounting for about 97% market share. 

Mexico’s 2024 blueberry production is pegged at 81,000 metric tons, an increase because of sufficient water access and growing export demand, according to the report.

With more than 71,000 metric tons exported in 2022, Mexico ships more than 95 percent of their blueberries to the U.S. market.

The rate of production growth for Mexican blueberries is projected to be slower in 2024 than it was in 2023 due to competition from Peru, according to the USDA.

In 2023, Mexican blueberry production reached an estimated 74,800 metric tons, a 12 percent increase over the previous year due to production innovations and strong export demand.

Mexico’s blueberry industry has seen rapid growth in the past decade, with rising prices encouraging growers to expand production or switch from other crops to blueberries.

Mexican blueberry volume grew more than 80 percent between 2017 and 2022, with Mexico currently the world’s fifth-largest blueberry producer.

Mexico’s harvest use to start in early October, peaking between late April and early May. In contrast, for the 2024 harvest, producers have taken steps to delay the start of the harvest to early February in response to competition from Peru, which offers a similar product at lower prices during the October to January period, according to the USDA.

Producers are actively switching away from the biloxi blueberry variety to take advantage of the ongoing development of improved varieties that provide higher yields and better taste. 23 percent of the blueberry area is currently planted with the biloxi variety and 74 percent is planted with proprietary varieties.

The vast majority of Mexican blueberries are exported. Mexican blueberry exports totaled 71,509 metric tons in 2022, down about 2 percent compared to 2021.

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Chilean Table Grape Exports for New Season are off to a Good Start

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Peru officially became the leading table grape exporter in the world in 2023, taking the top spot once held by Chile and commanding 16% of the global trade for this commodity. Now, holding the second place, the Chilean industry is betting on varietal change to make a comeback.

The Chilean Table Grape Committee posted its first 2024 estimate in late October, projecting over 60 million 180-pound boxes to be harvested this upcoming season. With harvest underway in most producing regions, projections remain optimistic.

Uvanova reports the central producing regions are significantly early, particularly in shorter vegetative cycle cultivars such as the white Superior and Thomson varieties.

Uvanova is Chile’s research commission for table grape development, looking to identify challenges and bring solutions to the industry.

Uvanova is estimating volumes of 62 million boxes, Cruz warns that yields could be later and lower than expected due to higher temperatures.

As for exports, Uvanova sees a possible increase.

During the second week of the season, three million boxes were shipped. This compares to 1.9 million boxes a year ago. In terms of percentage exported to date, Chile has exported about the 60 million boxes or 5 to 8% of the total.

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Strawberry Shipments Plummeted by Weather

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Heavy rains in California plummeted strawberry shipments in early February. Additionally, volume out of other growing regions also are down significantly.A

Markon Cooperative of Salinas, CA ships strawberries from the Oxnard, CA, area and reports loadings canceled for a few days as the area received more than five inches of rain in early February.

California strawberry shipments are typically lower this time of year, but other regions such as Florida and Mexico also are far behind usual volumes.

Agtools Inc. of Irvine, CA in its February 7 weekly volume report showed an increase of 163,000 pounds from Mexico, for a total of 16.6 million pounds year-to-date, but Florida production was down 2.5 million pounds (7 million year-to-date) and California was down 2.6 million pounds (286,800 pounds year-to-date).

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