Archive For The “Trucking Reports” Category

Mushroom Shipments Set a Record

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By American Mushroom Institute

Avondale, PA — Mushroom growers are entering 2020 with record shipments volumes, increasing retail prices and solid demand for fresh mushrooms, according to the American Mushroom Institute.

The September shipment report from the Mushroom Council™ shows domestic mushroom production set a new all-time high. This was the fourth consecutive new monthly high and reflects steady sales growth throughout the summer months. Both June and August volume exceeded 80 million pounds for the first time ever, indicating that mushroom sales are strong year-round. Combined shipments (domestic plus imports) also hit new record highs.

Mark Lang, MBA, Ph.D., University of Tampa, analyzed the recent data trends for the Council. “As mushrooms become a staple item for many Americans and more people start consuming them, demand has risen steadily for the past decade,” said Lang.

About American Mushroom Institute

The American Mushroom Institute (AMI), headquartered in Avondale, Pennsylvania, is a national voluntary trade association representing the growers, processors and marketers of cultivated mushrooms in the US and industry suppliers worldwide. Members of AMI produce 90 percent of all cultivated mushrooms nationwide, which include Agaricus, Crimini, Portabella and specialty mushrooms. For more information, visit www.americanmushroom.org.

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Wilmington Port Announces Improvements to Increase Imports

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Improvements are coming to the Port of Wilmington, DE, which is a key facility for U.S. fruit imports.

In an agreement with the Diamond State Port Corp. last September, GT USA Wilmington was granted exclusive rights to operate and develop the Port of Wilmington for 50 years. 

The beginning of that era has already seen improvements to the port and more are coming.

GT USA’s concession includes the full management and development of the port’s existing container volumes of 350,000 TEUs (20-foot equivalent units) per year, which is forecast to more than double in the years to come as a consequence of this deal, according to a news release.

The Port of Wilmington, which began operations in 1923, is the top North American port for imports of fresh fruit into the U.S.

Over the next nine years, Gulftainer plans to invest $580 million in the port, including approximately $410 million for a new 1.2 million TEU container facility at DuPont’s former Edgemoor site, which was acquired by the Diamond State Port Corp. in 2016. 

Earlier this year, GT USA Wilmington took delivery of three 45-ton reach stackers from KoneCranes Inc.

The delivery is part of a larger order, which includes nine 41-ton Rubber Tired Gantry (RTG) cranes, and is part of the $500 million-plus investment into the Port of Wilmington and a new container terminal development at Edgemoor.

Improvements coming

Dave Harriss, vice president of commercial operations GT USA Wilmington, the U.S. arm of ports and logistics company Gulftainer, said there is $170 million earmarked for the Port of Wilmington terminal. 

“We’ve probably spent about $49 million so far on new equipment and a lot of infrastructure changes,” he said.  

The port has reinforced its piers, changed the traffic flows and created a terminal operating system that tracks cargo flows for both containers and breakbulk, he said.

“I suspect we will have close to $140 million spent by the end of 2020 because we’re adding an additional two warehouses and taking our refrigerated square feet up over a million square feet and our dry capacity up to 300,000 square feet,” he said.

The Port of Wilmington is located on just more than 300 acres, he said, and GT USA Wilmington is changing the operating structure and will allow the company to squeeze more capacity out of those 300 acres. 

For example, a master gate system will replace individual fences around tenant facilities, allowing greater consolidation of operating areas. Dole and Chiquita are legacy customers for the port and both have renewed long-term commitments.

GT USA Wilmington is taking the port’s container footprint from 300,000 TEUs up to 600,000 TEUs by going to a stacked configuration instead of a grounded configuration, he said.

In the past year, the port has experienced an increase from 350,000 TEUs to 408,000 TEUs, he said.

Breakbulk is still a vital part of the port’s fruit business, though container volume is bigger business. About two breakbulk ships come to the port each week, Harriss said.

Looking ahead, he said GT USA Wilmington will continue to invest in the legacy port facilities at the Port of Wilmington, with coming changes more pronounced and visual. Improvements accomplished so far include reinforcing the piers, laying in fiber optics and installing new wi-fi systems.

“Now the big visual changes are going to take place after the winter season,” he said. 

“You’re going to see the gantry cranes coming in and the look and feel of the place is going to change,” he said, noting the new gate complex and a new refrigerated warehouse.

Groundbreaking also will occur at the Edgemoor site. That terminal facility will be strictly oriented to handling containers and is expected to handle about 1.2 million TEUs.

“We think it will be open for business in 2023,” he said.

The Port of Wilmington will remain a mixed use facility while Edgemoor will be geared to handle big container ship operators, and will have a 240,000-square-foot-high cube refrigerator space.

Fruit trends

Considering trends in fruit imports, Harriss thinks that the South American trade will continue to edge up its share of containerized business versus breakbulk, but that there will always be a need for breakbulk shipments.

In terms of suppliers, he pointed to rising volumes from Peru.

“I think that Peru is going to come out swinging this year and volumes from Peru are going to be robust,” he said. 

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14% More Apples Remain to be Shipped than Last Season

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As of the New Year there were 14 percent more apples in the U.S. remaining to be shipped than last season.

The U.S. Apple Association of Falls Church, VA reports U.S. fresh market apples remaining in storages as of January 1st totaled 103.97 million (42-pound) bushels.

The U.S. Apple report notes the total number of apples in storage (fresh and for processing) on January 1 was 144.1 million bushels, 15 percent greater than a year ago and 3 percent above the 5-year average for that date.

Fresh apple variety holdings with percentage change from a year ago were:

  • Cosmic Crisp: 175,238 bushels (first year);
  • Red delicious: 22.35 million bushels, down 9 percent
  • Gala: 22.2 million bushels, up 22 percent;
  • Fuji: 12.7 million bushels, up 7 percent;
  • Granny smith: 12.6 million bushels, up 35 percent;
  • Honeycrisp: 10.32 million bushels, up 31 percent;
  • Golden delicious: 6.7 million bushels, up 60 percent;
  • Cripps pink/Pink Lady: 5.32 million bushels, up 14 percent.

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First Chilean Fruit Shipment of Season Arrives on West Coast

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By Chilean Fresh Fruit Association

After a 12-day journey from Chile, the first West Coast break bulk vessel of the season, Ice River, arrived to the Port of Los Angeles on, January 9. The ship unloaded 4,500 pallets of fresh grapes, cherries, peaches, nectarines, plums and blueberries that will be hitting retail shelves this week.

The entire SSA Marine operations team, including Kevin Nielsen, Terminal Manager and Lacey Patalano, Office Administration, were excited to receive the Ice River vessel, and look forward to receiving weekly Chilean fresh fruit vessels now thru April. Steve Hattendorf, Western Region Merchandiser for the Chilean Fresh Fruit Association (CFFA), greeted the first West Coast vessel of the 2019-2020 Chilean winter fruit season and toured the 14 acre facility in San Pedro, California.

Winter has definitely arrived, but shoppers can get a taste of summer throughout the winter months, courtesy of Chile. Cherries, blueberries, grapes and stone fruit (peaches, plums and nectarines) are now in-market, with merchandising support available to retailers through the U.S. and Canada. Says Karen Brux, Managing Director of the CFFA, “Demos, digital coupons, kids cooking classes, and social media contests are just some of the programs we’re currently running with retailers big and small. We’re also further supporting retail sales through our consumer campaign, which includes extensive social media promotions, as well as our new “Super Fruit Bowl” campaign that’s currently running with ESPN.” Consumers can go to www.chileanfreshfruitbowl.com for a chance to win 2 tickets to the big game on February 2!

The Chilean season is just starting to ramp up. Through January 6, Chile had exported the following volumes to the U.S.

  • Cherries 4,386 tons
  • Blueberries 30,194 tons
  • Grapes: 17,067 tons
  • Nectarines: 5,114 tons
  • Peaches: 5,419 tons
  • Plums: 2,276 tons

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Acreage Increases May Lead to More Strawberry Shipments

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The New Year is expected to bring big time California strawberry shipments during the spring and early summer peak season.

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The California Strawberry Commission of Watsonville reports the primary reason is due to an anticipated small increase in acreage. Fall plantings, which will produce fruit during the traditional winter, spring and summer months, were reported at 26,928 acres for 2020, up from 25,868 last year.


Assuming the weather cooperates, 2020 California strawberry shipments could hit record levels from Easter (April 12) to Independence Day (July 4), according to the commission.

Summer plantings for fall production will continue its upward trend of recent years, reaching 7,185 acres this year, up from 7,089 in 2019.

During the past five years, greater yielding strawberry varieties have allowed growers to reach record production while acreages have declined.

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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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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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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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