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Chilean Fruit Imports are Expected to be Up from a Year Ago

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A significant increase in Chilean blueberry exports are expected this season, while Chilean grape exports could see a small decline. Additionally, with more volume in Chilean cherry exports, this should translate into more fruit from that South American country arriving on U.S. shores.

The Chilean Fresh Fruit Association reports grapes easily account for the largest Chilean fruit export to the U.S., representing nearly 40 percent of all the Chilean fruit shipped here. A drought in Chile is being blamed for an expected slight decrease in export volumes. Official estimates for the 2019-20 season are only 1.6 percent lower than last season.

It is estimated that about 78.5 million boxes will be exported to the U.S. this year, which, which would mean only about 1.3 million boxes less than the previous season. Blueberries, cherries and the stone fruits are expected to make up the difference over the next four to five months.


In 2017-18 there were 6.2 million boxes of Flame Seedless exported to the United States, while last season (2018-19) volume dropped to 2.1 million boxes. Flame Seedless has been an industry standard for decades but is being replaced with newer varieties such as Timco and Allison. Timco volume grew by 61 percent and Allison by 72 percent in the past year.

Chilean grape shipments began in late December and should increase through January and continue into May.

Cherries from Chile have been in the U.S. marketplace for a couple of months with shipments continuing and increasing through January. The vast majority of Chilean cherries are exported to China.

Chilean fruit companies are projecting that they will export about 42 million five kilogram cartons this year, which will represent a 16 percent increase over last season.

North America receives about 60 percent of Chilean blueberry exports. With organic “blues,” North America accounts for 96 percent the Chilean exports. Chilean fresh blueberry exports are expected to grow by about 4 percent during the 2019-20 season led by organics.  

Chilean stone fruits account for less than 10 percent of the country’s fruit exports to the U.S.

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Westfalia Eyes Colombian Avocado Growth with Exports to U.S. in Mind

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Within a few years, the company Westfalia estimates it will be exporting 10,000 to 15,000 metric tons (MT) of fruit from its own orchards, plus an additional 15,000 metric tons from third-party growers.

The company’s growth coincides with growth in the overall Colombian avocado industry. Westfalia predicts total Colombian exports will increase by at least 30 percent a year, hitting 100,000MT within five years.

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The Colombian avocado industry focuses mostly on exports to the European market, but Westfalia believes its operation will increase exports to the U.S. in time, not only because it’s the largest avocado market, but also because of its geographic proximity. Transit times from Columbia to the U.S. are under a week, and are 24 hours less than Mexico when exporting to the U.S. East Coast. The operation also is looking to export avocados to other South American countries and to Canada as Columbia seeks to become a reliable year-round avocado supplier, complementing volumes from Mexico.

Although Westfalia does not foresee Colombia replacing Mexico, it believes Colombia should be a good plan B for the U.S..

“The constant changes within the Mexican industry can be challenging for the trade, especially for retailers and consumers. So I think Colombia could provide more stable conditions with certain volumes for the future.

“I have no doubt in my mind that, in the next few years, the U.S. market will be the most important target market for Colombian avocados.” 

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Nation’s Potatoes Remaining to be Shipped are Down 4% from A Year Ago

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U.S. potatoes remaining in storage to be shipped is down 4 percent from a year ago as of December 1st.

The USDA reports 37 percent of U.S. spuds have been shipped for the 2019-20 season. Processors in the eight major states used 76.3 million cwt of potatoes for the season, up 3 percent from December 2018.

Compared with a year ago, the USDA reported lower volumes of potatoes were in storage in North Dakota, Minnesota and Idaho. Cold weather in Idaho and a combination of wet conditions followed by cold weather reduced output in those growing regions.

The USDA reported that Idaho potatoes remaining in storage stood at 95 million cwt. on December 1, down 6 percent from 101 million cwt. the same time a year ago. In North Dakota, storages held 14 million cwt., down 18 percent from 17 million cwt. on Dec. 1 2018. In Minnesota, holdings were estimated at 12.3 million cwt., off 4 percent from 12.8 million cwt. on hand a year ago.

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Big Jump in U.S. avocado imports from Latin America

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U.S. imports had significant increases in Hass avocados from all Latin American origins through September this year, the USDA reports.


Total imports from the region rose by 20 percent over last year during a nine-month period.

The growth came amid the lowest California avocado shipments in a decade, which created a supply gap for overseas producers.

A lot of the increase was due to Mexico with its rising avocado volume.

But there were also substantial increases in percentage terms from Peru, Chile, the Dominican Republic, and Colombia.

U.S. imports from Peru – the next biggest origin – rose by 24 percent, which is more than triple the amount imported from Peru in 2016, and also comes amid a 15 percent reduction in total Peruvian exports this season.

Chilean exports to the U.S. rose by 61 percent in 2019 through September. This increase came despite the Chilean avocado indsutry also forecasting lower total supplies from a year ago for the 2019-20 season.

Meanwhile, the U.S. imported five-times more Hass avocados from the Dominican Republic.

And U.S. imports from Colombia rose eight-fold from in August 2017 under a restrictive export protocol. This was eased a little earlier last year and an significant increase in avocado shipments to the U.S. is seen over the next few years.

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Exports of Early Season Peruvian Grapes Set Record with Strong U.S. Boost

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A record setting October helped successfully launch Peruvian table grape exports this season, with dramatic volume increases for the U.S.

Data from the country’s Exporters’ Association shows that

Exports in the season’s opening month rose by 15 percent to the U.S., according the Peruvian Exporters Association.

Table grapes accounted 12 percent of Peru’s total agricultural exports during October, second to blueberries, but ahead of asparagus, onions, quinoa, cacao, and bananas.

The Netherlands was the main table grape export market during the month, growing by 3 percent, followed by the U.K. with 6 percent growth.

The U.S. was the third largest market, with an astounding growth thus of 211 percent. The three-fold higher exports over last season came as U.S. grape supplies were significantly lower.

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Fewer Imports of Chilean Mandarins Predicted with Opening of China Market

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Chilean imported mandarins by the U.S. are expected to decline in the years ahead as Chilean exports develop to the newly opened Chinese market.

The USDA reports America is by far the leading market for Chilean mandarin exports, with a 96 percent market share. 

Chilean exporters of mandarins, however, started diversifying its market destinations with the opening of the Chinese market
for citrus products in November 2019. An increase in exports also is predicted China for Chilean mandarins, clementines, oranges, lemons, and grapefruit.

The market opening comes amid rapid growth in the Chilean mandarin planted area, which rose by 13 percent in 2019 to over 19,000 acres. Chilean authorities project that the opening of the Chinese market will further expand the citrus planted area.

The marketing season for Chilean mandarin ranges between May and October each year.

Chilean mandarin exports to the world have increased by 200 percent since 2014. The South American country shipped a record 170,230 metric tons (MT) of the fresh fruit in 2018.

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New Mexico Replaces Georgia as Top Shipper of Pecans

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New Mexico is replacing Georgia as the top producer and shipper of pecans following the devasting affects of Hurricane Michael a year ago, if predictions hold.

Georgia has been the nation’s largest supplier of pecans for years, accounting for about an 88 million pound harvest and representing one-third of U.S. pecan production.

This has change for the 2020 shipping season a year after Hurricane Michael’s 115-mile-per-hour winds ravaged nut tree orchards Pecan growers are still struggling as they harvest this year’s crop.

The University of Georgia Cooperative Extension Service reports in an average year, farmers harvest between 1300-1400 pounds of pecans per acre. However, but this year’s production is down by more than 50 percent.

The service believes growers will be fortunate if they average 500 pound per acre this year. Pecan trees lost a large percentage of limbs.

The USDA’s National Agriculture Statistics Service notes although U.S. national pecan production should increase this year by over 20 percent, with an estimated 281 million pounds, Georgia production will plummet to 76 million pounds, followed by Texas (47 million pounds, up 8 ½ percent), Arizona, and Oklahoma.

At the same time New Mexico is estimated to have an increased production of 6 percent based on a forecasted record high of 97 million pounds for the current harvest. New Mexico first surpassed Georgia last year after the howling hurricane winds decimated some 32,400 acres, downed trees, and dropped production dramatically. 

Pecan trees take nearly a decade to produce and a couple years more to turn a respectable profit. This means with the amount of trees lost mean, may take up to 10 years for Georgia growers to fully recover.

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New Mexico produces pecans on nearly 52,000 acres in the southern part of the state with most product coming from the Mesilla and Hatch Valleys and the Pecos River Valley, although expansion in pecan acreage is being noted further north as raising pecans continues to replace cotton acreage because cotton prices continue to drop.

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Chilean Fruit Promotion Offers Chance to Win Super Bowl Tickets

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A promotional campaign for Chilean fruit called the “Super Fruit Bowl” is lining up with the National Football League’s Super Bowl.

To celebrate the Chilean summer fruit season, the campaign “invites consumers to discover the wide range of fresh fruits available from Chile during the winter months” and offers them a chance to win tickets to the NFL’s big game, according to a news release.

The release said the contest is running on ESPN.com and the ESPN app through Jan. 19, with Chilean fruit ads continuing into February.

“This campaign was such a natural fit for us,” Karen Brux, managing director of the Chilean Fresh Fruit Association. “We’re in the heart of the biggest season for Chilean fruit, with blueberries, cherries, grapes and stone fruit now arriving to North America. With a “super fruit bowl” available to U.S. consumers, this is a great opportunity to attract consumer attention and build awareness for Chilean fruit.” 

The release said digital ads and videos appearing on ESPN.com and the ESPN app will direct consumers to a landing page where they can learn more about Chilean fruit and also enter to win two tickets and VIP passes to the Super Bowl, $1,000 in spending money and a one-night hotel stay. 

The program is part of a larger promotional campaign for Chilean Fresh Fruit that will be running through April, according to the release.

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TripLINK Digital Tool Aims to Put Actionable Intelligence at Your Fingertips

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By Carrier Transicold

HAMBURG, Germany – Carrier Transicold has added to its growing suite of digital solutions to boost container refrigeration operations with the introduction of the TripLINK™ digital tool, which remotely connects customers with vital shipment information and intelligence to improve visibility and efficiency of both reefer and the cargo. The system securely monitors and analyzes refrigeration machinery and cargo health globally 24 hours a day. Carrier Transicold is a part of Carrier, a leading global provider of innovative heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC), refrigeration, fire, security and building automation technologies.

The TripLINK software module is hosted in a secure cloud infrastructure that can be accessed via smart phone, PC or tablet. The TripLINK tool receives information that is wirelessly transmitted from a telematics hardware module sitting inside the refrigerated container unit and connected to the micro controller. 

“The TripLINK tool empowers customers to make more informed decisions for fleet operations based on key operational parameters and its in-built data analytics capabilities, which provides a time and cost saving benefit,” said Willy Yeo, director of marketing, Carrier Transicold. 

Information provided to TripLINK tool users includes key parameters such as set temperature, box temperature, in-range status, reefer operating mode and ambient temperature. The TripLINK tool also provides critical and non-critical alarm codes, their descriptions and specific calls to action. In addition, container status data can be exported into PDF or Excel files for analysis.

An optional feature of the TripLINK digital tool is the TripWise™ system that performs critical run-time diagnostics in the background while the refrigeration unit is in operation, reducing the need for Pre-Trip Inspection (PTI) tests, thus bringing savings to refrigerated container owners through lower terminal operating expenses, higher throughput and decreased idle time. 

The TripLINK digital tool can be factory installed and is also compatible with existing units in service, providing they have the Micro-Link® 3 controller. For more information, visit www.transicold.carrier.com.

About Carrier Transicold

Carrier Transicold helps improve transport and shipping of temperature-controlled cargoes with a complete line of equipment and services for refrigerated transport and cold chain visibility. For more than 45 years, Carrier Transicold has been an industry leader, providing customers around the world with advanced, energy-efficient and environmentally sustainable container refrigeration systems and generator sets, direct-drive and diesel truck units, and trailer refrigeration systems.

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Import Outlook for Central America and the Caribbean

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As the early winter season in the U.S. gets underway, an unusually rainy season is coming to a close in Central America and the Caribbean.


Central American Produce Inc. of Pompano Beach, FL reports despite early season rains produce quality is good.


Central American imports papayas from Guatemala year-round, and the first watermelons, gala melons, cantaloupes and honeydews just got underway in the past week. The company also had praise for the melons from Honduras being imported.

There also have been recent arrivals of cantaloupe, honeydew and butternut squash.

HLB Specialties of Pompano Beach, FL experienced some delays in shipments due to rains in Honduras with rambutan. The firm also is importing rambutan from Guatemala, as well as papayas.

Thomas Produce of Calgary, Alberta has year around imports items from the Caribbean and Central American such as red and green Thai chili peppers.

Ecoripe Tropicals of Miami, FL imports product the year around from Central America. One example is okra, although its heaviest volume is from December to May. The company specializes in air arrivals so the product is extra-fresh, and supplement this with ocean arrivals. It also will have rambutan through January.

Brooks Tropicals of Homestead, FL will import Caribbean Red papaya into early spring. The operation also is importing SlimCado and limes in decent volume.

J&S Tropicals of Miami, FL imports tropical tuber line products from Costa Rica, Honduras and Ecuador. For example there is yucca roots used in stews and soups during the winter as well as malanga blanca,white yams and chayote. The company had 20 containers in a two-week time span; for a specialty item, that is pretty impressive.




 











“If that can perform well, that’s going to be a big deal for us,” he said.

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