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Comeback is Expected for Southern Hemisphere Citrus

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Strong supplies of Southern Hemisphere citrus is expected by fresh
fruit importer-exporter Salix Fruits of Philadelphia. It recently launched summer citrus program, marking the start of the lemon, mandarin and orange season in the Southern Hemisphere, according to a news release.

“This year, we anticipate a recovery in citrus volumes from nearly all origins,” Alejandro Moralejo, CEO of Salix Fruits, said in the release. “After last year’s climatic challenges, such as the El Niño phenomenon in Peru, we are prepared for a significant increase in our supply to all our destinations, including the U.S., Canada, India, Europe, the Middle East, Asia and Russia.”

Salix says the season began in March-April with early mandarins, which will continue until October.

“Lemons will be available from March to September, while oranges, starting with navels and continuing with valencia types, will be available from May to October. Grapefruits will be available from May to August, and Tahiti limes will be available all year round from Colombia and Peru,” Moralejo said.

With offices in different countries, Salix Fruits says it’s able to source products from throughout the Southern Hemisphere based on its customers’ preferences.

“From Argentina, lemons are our main product for all markets,” said Moralejo. “For the U.S., we source other citrus fruits like oranges and mandarins from Chile, Peru and Uruguay. Also, South Africa is one of our main citrus origins for all the destinations.”

Ocean freight rates have returned to pre-pandemic levels and supply volumes have increased this season, the release said.

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Georgia Peach Shipments Showing Major Rebound from a Year Ago

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Georgia peach shipments are making a major rebound from last year’s devastating season. Loadings got underway in early May and have just moved into good volume.

Industry optimism is based on a full Winter of productive dormancy and a long, cool Spring of perfect weather. Combine these growing conditions with well-rested fruit-bearing trees in their prime and you’ve got a sweet recipe for the best summer of succulent Georgia peaches in multiple decades. These conditions are also key in providing premium sizing and vibrant color to the fruit. Georgia Peach Council growers will be picking over 50 varieties of beautifully blushed peaches across 10,000 acres of manicured orchards. Good volume should continue into mid August.

Duke Lane, president of the Georgia Peach Council, as well as Will McGehee, marketing director of the Georgia Peach Council have expressed optimism on large crop with good quality.

About Georgia Peach Council:

The Georgia Peach Council is the proud supporter of Georgia’s commercial peach farms, including Lane Southern Orchards, Pearson Farm, Dickey Farms, and Fitzgerald Fruit Farms. Today, over 50 varieties of peaches are grown statewide. Each year, Georgia produces over 130 million pounds of peaches, between mid-May and mid-August. For more information about Georgia peach background, health information, recipe ideas and more, visit

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The Most Dangerous Lane

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By Iyer Amruthur ALC San Antonio

Cargo theft in the transportation industry is a long-standing, but rapidly growing issue. One of the most frequent occurrences of cargo theft is during the trade between the U.S. and Mexico. Statistics show up to 49 truckers are assaulted in some fashion in Mexico each day. Other harrowing data shows that at least 50 drivers were killed in 2023 alone.

Starting on February 5, 2024, thousands of drivers from 15 of the largest carrier organizations set out on strike. The goal of the organizers was to seek more patrols from Mexico’s National Guard on roads with a high incidence of theft, more stringent penalties against cargo thieves, and increased support for the families of truckers affected. They ultimately sought to secure common roads and travel for all law-abiding parties, while cracking down on illegal activity.

Another strike penned for August by truck drivers belonging to the Mexican Alliance of Carrier Organizations (Asociación Mexicana de Organizaciones de Transportistas A.C. – AMOTAC) and others was postponed through promises the federal authorities made to increase roadway security measures. This included agreements reached by AMOTAC and authorities, including Mexico’s National Guard, to hold monthly meetings with trucking officials to create enhanced safety measures to combat cargo theft. 

However, despite the effort, crime continues to rise. Cargo theft cases increased 4% year over year in 2023 to 9,181 incidents, including 7,862 cases that involved violence. Members of AMOTAC and other trucking organizations held demonstrations on the Mexico-Queretaro federal highway (one of the largest U.S.-Mexico highways for commercial transport) to protest road insecurities.

With tech developments and the continued pressure from multiple parties to secure transit between the U.S. and Mexico, we all hope to see progress and attempts to reduce crime, keep our drivers safe, and get product from point A to point B.


Iyer Amruthur is a national sales manager in the ALC San Antonio office and has been with the company for three years. He attended The University of Georgia where he obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing, with a minor in Communications.

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California Strawberry Shipments Hitting a Peak for the Next Several Weeks

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California hit a volume record for the week ending April 27th shipping over 9.8 million trays of strawberries. The last time California hit even close to that number was back in 2018 at 9.7 million trays in late May, according to Bobalu Berry Farms of Oxnard in a news release.

The week ending May 11th there were still over 9.3 million despite a little rain hitting northern districts. Bobalu expects to see peak numbers for the next several weeks as the northern districts increase their weekly volume. This is all good news for providing a great opportunity for promotions nationwide as “Strawberry Month” reigns during the month of May. June volume will be similar and the company expects see another peak in strawberries from California during this coming month.

Oxnard continues to see optimum weather keeping our fruit size and volume steady. We also benefit from our on-site processing facility keeping our fields clean and diverting lesser quality fruit to the freezer when needed. We will continue to ship from Oxnard during the month of May and focus on highest quality and maintain our three-day harvest rotation.

The fields still look great, the plants are very healthy, and the fruit has excellent flavor with these mild daytime and night time temperatures.

We have enough acreage in Oxnard allowing us to maintain our volume levels there as we wait for our Santa Maria fields to transition into peak by early to mid June. Our Santa Maria program is primarily on the westside of town so this region follows the same harvest trend as the Watsonville/Salinas region. The plants in Santa Maria are setting up to provide some excellent fruit.

Once these ranches in Santa Maria hit peak volume numbers, they will carry us well into the fall before our fall crop kicks in.

A bountiful harvest of California strawberries has arrived for California Giant Berry Farms of Watsonville, CA as the company shares news of giant volumes of its cornerstone product. The berry purveyor’s high yields and volumes of excellent quality fruit ensures peak promotable volumes of California strawberries throughout the coming months. 

“Our season started off strong, with healthy plants from the beginning,” said Nick Chappell, director of sales at California Giant Berry Farms. “Despite some fruit culling due to rain early in our season, our plants have otherwise seen optimal growing conditions — which translates into the high-quality, sizeable, and flavorful fruit California Giant is known for.”  

Out of the Santa Maria region, California Giant is reporting sizeable, high-quality conventional and organic fruit. The region is currently peaking and will continue to produce abundant harvests throughout the month. The Watsonville and Salinas growing region is seeing week-over-week increases in volumes, with estimates projecting substantial harvested volumes now and spanning to late-June. The region’s ranches are reporting excellent quality and flavor, alongside sizable fruit.   

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Mexican Exports Kick Off 2024 with Substantial Increase over Previous Year

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Nearly a 9 percent in the first two months of 2024 occurred for Mexican agricultural exports, boosting the country to a record-high agricultural trade surplus, according to Mexico News Daily, using figures from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (SADER).

Agricultural and agro-industrial exports were worth $9.06 billion in January and February, an increase of 8.85 percent compared to the first two months of 2023.

Agricultural imports increased by 2.3 percent to reach $7.57 billion in the first two months of 2024.

Mexico thus recorded an agricultural trade surplus of $1.49 billion in January and February, a record for the period. The surplus increased 61 percent compared to the first two months of 2023, SADER said.

Mexican-grown tomatoes were in high demand abroad. They brought in revenue of $630 million in the first two months of the year, making the fruit Mexico’s second highest-earning agricultural export (behind beer), according to SADER.

Rounding out Mexico’s top 5 agricultural exports in January and February were tequila and mezcal ($621 million); avocados ($594 million); and fresh strawberries and raspberries ($531 million).

The majority of Mexico’s agricultural and agro-industrial exports go to the U.S., but Mexican products also reach many other countries around the world, including markets in Asia and Europe.

The agricultural products that recorded the next highest export growth were orange juice (62.4 percent); guavas, mangos and mangosteens (48.6 percent): grapes and raisins (38 percent); and cattle (35.9 percent).

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Bee Sweet Gearing Up for California Grapefruit Shipments

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As the spring season gains momentum in California’s Central Valley, Bee Sweet Citrus is highlighting star ruby grapefruit as a key variety in the company’s seasonal citrus lineup.

“Grapefruit harvest in the desert is wrapping up, and we’ve recently begun harvest in the Central Valley,” Bee Sweet Citrus Director of Harvesting and Grower Relations Randy Stucky said in a news release. “While the crop estimate is down from last season, the quality of the fruit has been excellent — with good external blush and internal color.”

Star ruby grapefruit is known for its deep red color and sweet, tangy flavor. The Fowler, Calif.-based company says that with few to no seeds, this variety is less acidic than other grapefruit varieties and complements healthy breakfast and snack recipes.

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Another Volume Increase, More Shipments of Mexican Avocados, Reports USDA

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Avocado shipments from Mexico in 2024 for avocados is forecast to be up 5% over 2023, according to a new USDA report.

The Mexican avocado annual report, issued in early April, pegged the country’s avocado production in 2024 at 2.77 million metric tons, up from 23.65 million metric tons in 2023 on strong export demand.

Exports will continue to grow in 2024.

he U.S. is the top market for Mexican avocados, accounting for 81% of total export shipments. The U.S. is followed by Canada, Japan and Spain.

Mexican avocado output has grown dramatically in the last decade, fueled by global demand for avocados. The USDA said production grew nearly 75% between 2014 and 2023, reaching 2.65 million metric tons and making Mexico the No. 1 avocado producer globally.

Mexico’s avocado exports totaled 1.4 million metric tons in 2023, up 17% compared to 2022 exports of 1.2 million metric tons.

“The past five years have seen a significant increase in avocado production, especially in the Valley Region of Jalisco, as producers diversify their crop mix to include avocados, or completely eliminate corn, wheat, and pasture area in favor of avocado orchards,” the report said.

With planted area growing 46% between 2014 and 2023, the government of Mexico estimates Mexican avocado planted area (i.e. area with mature, productive trees) at nearly 636,500 acres in 2023, up 2% from 2022.

Mexico is the No. 1 avocado supplier to the U.S., the report said, accounting for 89% of U.S. avocado imports, followed by Peru (6%) and the Dominican Republic (4%).

Mexico’s 2023 avocado exports comprised 96% fresh product, 3% guacamole and 1% pulp for further processing. The December to February timeframe accounts for 33% of exports, with the Super Bowl being one of the biggest demand drivers for Mexico’s avocado exports to the U.S.

Avocados ranked fourth in value among Mexico’s agricultural exports in 2023, after beer, tequila and berries.

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Maersk Resumes Container Line Service Through Panama Canal

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AP Moller-Maersk said it will resume its north-south service through the Panama Canal after its suspension in January due to low water levels and reduced transits.

The OC1 service, resuming May 10, runs between the U.S. East Coast, specifically Philadelphia and Charleston ports, Australia and New Zealand.

When the service was paused in January, as a result of drought conditions, Maersk decided to split it into an Atlantic and Pacific loop combined with a land bridge in Panama with a rail connection.

This set-up will be dropped and the service will revert to its single former rotation, operating with 11 ships of between 3,100 TEU and 3,800 TEU, according to Alphaliner.

On March 11, the Panama Canal Authority announced they would increase daily transits that month from 24 to 27 ships, in response to the current and projected level of Lake Gatun, which feeds the canal. 

The authority said the measure allows most vessels wishing to transit the canal to request a reservation.

According to Clarksons Research, the average wait time at a defined Panama Canal anchorage in the first quarter of this year was 23 hours, up from the 16-hour average in 2022, but still down from the 36-hour average in December last year.

Transit restrictions have not been as severe as originally planned, with liner solutions mitigating some of the impacts, such as using the land bridge utilizing the rail connection across Panama.

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Sunkist is Increasing Shipments of Lemons and Limes this Season

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Sunkist Growers of Valencia, CA is one of the state’s largest lemon shippers and is expanding its volume by adding multiple organic lemon growers this season to meet consumer and customer demand for year-round supply.

The company also has increased its lime volume by expanding it list of growers. 

Noting increasing lemon and lime demand compared with pre-COVID levels, foodservice demand continues to regain its footing following the pandemic.

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AI and Logistics

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By Josh Rivera, ALC St. Louis

Everyday, we hear more and more about how AI is being implemented in all sorts of industries across the globe. There is a need to automate certain processes in all aspects of business to increase efficiency, especially in the logistics industry. Though we are in the early stages of adopting AI and learning where it can provide the most benefit, we are already seeing some of this technology in warehouse automation and robotics and the early stages of driverless vehicles. AI can assist in data collection and analytics to provide real-time information. 

In Bart De Muynck’ Forbes article The True Role of AI in Logistics, he states, “AI is being used to improve data quality, generate data through Generative AI when real data is not available and provide valuable insights through predictions (like an ETA or dwell times) or forecasts (available capacity of assets or at ports). By implementing real-time visibility, companies can share information, updates, and forecasts with suppliers, customers, and partners.” We know AI can offer much but, just like everything else, it’s not perfect. Transportation is and will remain a human central function, but paired with AI technology can propel the industry forward. The key is for companies to stop looking in the past, and use this information to help predict and adjust for the future.  

Even in the early stages, AI is demonstrating its value in the logistics industry. As time progresses, its capabilities will only improve. It’s only a matter of time before we witness its widespread adoption. AI’s limitless potential is a compelling prospect for every industry, including logistics, in managing and optimizing their supply chains.


Josh Rivera studied at Western Illinois University where he received a BA in Marketing. Josh has been working in the ALC St. Louis office for six years as a transportation broker. Out of the office, he is a musician who enjoys playing the drums and ukulele. He has two dogs, Bella and Louie, who love to play and keep him busy.

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