Archive For The “Trucking Reports” Category

Chilean Blueberry Exports will have 50% of Volume Coming to U.S.

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With the Chilean blueberry season just starting, the industry is expecting to continue diversifying its markets and offer a higher proportion of newer and improved varieties.

The U.S. continues to be the main destination market, with 50 percent of exports.

The Chilean Blueberry Committee is reporting stable export volumes for the 2020-21 season. Chile in recent years has been diversifying its export markets with the biggest growths occurring in Asia and Europe.

During the past season shipments to Asia increased by 20 percent and to Europe by 8 percent. On the other hand, shipments to the U.S. – Chile’s leading blueberry market – decreased in the last two seasons, 1 percent last season and 9 percent the one before that.

For this 2020-21 season, the Blueberry Committee projects exports of approximately 154,000 metric tons (MT) of fresh and frozen blueberries. The estimate for fresh blueberries is a little over 111,000 MT – very similar to the volumes of the last two seasons, representing a 2 percent increase over last season.

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Big Increase in Walnut Shipments are Forecast

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California walnut shipments for 2020 is estimated at 780,000 short tons, an increase of 19 percent over the prior year. The primary reasons for the increases is due to increases in new acreage, more densely planted orchards, and heavier yielding varieties.

“This year’s expected record crop comes on the heels of strong retail sales, with shoppers’ growing interest in consuming foods with both great taste and functional benefits. In fact, the industry has stepped up to meet consumer demand with exciting new product launches in recent years.  And this season, the California Walnut Board’s unprecedented investment in domestic retail promotion will set the stage for continued success,” said Jack Mariani, CWB market development committee chairperson.

Walnut production has doubled in the last 15 years, with new acreage reaching 380,000 with an additional 75,000 acres set to come into production over the next five years. 


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Slight Rise in Mexican Avocados Predicted for 20-21 Season

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A modest 3 percent increase over last season is being forecast by the USDA for Mexican avocados.

Mexico is the leading producer and exporter of avocados globally, with nearly 964,000 metric tons valued at over $2.4 billion exported to the United States in 2019-20, a historical record for both quantity and value.

Mexican avocado production is predicted to rise by 3 percent over last season in the 2020-21 season to 2.41m metric tons (MT). The predicted increase for the crop year running from July through June is due to continued expansion in planted area and optimal weather conditions without hail or frost during the growing season.

Planted and harvested areas are expected to increase to 243,640 hectares (ha) and 232,495 ha, respectively, with a national yield of 10.36 MT/ha. Avocado production in 2019-20 reached 2.32m MT, 6 percent greater compared to 2018-19 on the increased planted area.

The peak harvest period is from October to February, with an average supply from March to May. The the low volume season is from June to September.

Production in the state of Michoacán, the only state with U.S. market access, was seven percent higher compared to the previous marketing year, and production and exports are expected to grow even further in 2020-21. Despite Covid-19 pandemic challenges to agricultural harvests and supply chains, avocado demand in the United States remained strong and is forecast to increase.


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Despite Fewer Prunes this Season, Sufficient Shipments are Seen

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The California prune harvest has wrapped up, with early forecasts of a short crop at 45,000 metric tons, a 37 percent drop from the previous season.

Combined with “carry-in” from last season however handlers should have sufficient supplies for the season, according to the California Prune Board, Roseville, CA.

Growers worked through COVID-19 disruptions and wildfires during harvest, but the “optimum range of sizes” sets up excellent opportunities to market the crop this season, according to a news release from the board.

“While the pandemic has fueled consumers’ focus on healthy foods, the California prune industry regularly promotes the nutritional profile and invests in nutrition research that elevates the health benefits of prunes,” Donn Zea, executive director of the board. “We are grateful that so many consumers have chosen California prunes during this time. We plan on doing everything we can to earn and keep their trust.”

The industry is focused on maintaining a balance of supply and demand through the season.

During the 2019 season, which ended July 31, California prune exports rose 17 percent, and domestic shipments were 12 percent higher than the previous season, according to the board.

The California Prune Board represents about 800 growers, who produce about 40 percent of the world’s supply on 40,000 acres.

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Washington Apple Shipments Estimate is Lowered by 5 to 10 Percent

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By the Washington Apple Commission

WENATCHEE, WASHINGTON – In early August, the first estimate for Washington apple shipments predicted a crop volume of 134 million boxes (40 lb.), on par with the previous season of 133 million boxes. Since the time of the initial estimate, extreme windstorms, wildfires on the West Coast, and more accurate reporting of crop load on the trees as harvest progressed, suggest a lighter total crop volume for the 2020-21 apple harvest.

Expectations are for a 5-10 percent reduction in crop volume as a result of the adverse weather events. This would place the revised estimate at between 32.3 million and 31.6 million boxes to be shipped.

Over Labor Day weekend, a strong windstorm resulted in apples being knocked off the tree and some growers sustaining damage to their trellis systems. Fueled by the wind event, wildfires burning in Washington and other West Coast states have produced intense smoky conditions, delaying harvest a few days as some areas have had to halt operations.

Washington apple growers and orchard crews started picking Galas in late August and have since moved on to Honeycrisp. Harvest in Washington typically begins mid-August and lasts into November. Red Delicious, Fuji and Cosmic Crisp® will be harvested in October and the season will wrap up with Granny Smith and Cripps Pink in November.

Demand for Washington apples has been high in response to elevated health-conscious and bulk-purchase behavior by consumers. Volume of apples shipped during this time period is slightly lower than last season, but overall movement is good.

Washington is the leading producer of apples, representing 65 percent of all U.S. fresh apple production. The state exports one-third of its fresh crop to over 60 markets worldwide, accounting for 95 percent of all U.S. apple exports.

The Washington Apple Commission is a non-profit, promotional organization dedicated to marketing and advertising fresh Washington apples internationally.  

Washington apple shipments to Chicago – grossing about $5200.

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Peruvian Sweet Onion Imports Arriving in Good Volume

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While good volume of Peruvian imported sweet onions from Peru is now occurring, volume will be off a little from last season.

Bland Farms LLC of Glennville, GA reports the Peruvian crop overall is pretty good, although the coronavirus pandemic has led to labor shortages, with drivers hauling back to ports and restrictions on the number of workers allowed at port facilities. 

A short Vidalia onion crop this year led Bland Farms to import its first Peruvian onions August 1, about two weeks earlier than usual.

Potandon Produce of Idaho Falls, ID ships Peruvian onions under the Green Giant Fresh label, started importing onions in mid August.

Keystone Fruit Marketing Co. of Greencastle, PA also got an early start with its Mayan Sweets, imported from Peru.

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South American Mango Imports are Now Arriving

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Imported Brazilian mangoes are increasing as mango shipments from Mexico are winding down. Imports from Ecuador and Peru will start arriving soon.

Ciruli Bros. LLC of Rio Rico, AZ is in its third season and is now handling mangoes year-round.

On average, over the past five years, the U.S. received nearly 32 million 4-kilogram (8.8-pound) boxes of mangoes from South America annually, according to the USDA.

Brazil has shipped about 8.2 million boxes to the U.S. annually, Ecuador about 12 million boxes and Peru about 11.6 million boxes.

South America accounts for about 28 percent of total U.S. volume.

Brazil, which ships from August to December, exports primarily the tommy atkins variety and a few kent and ataulfo (or honey) varieties; Ecuador ships tommy atkins and some kents and ataulfos from October to January; and Peru exports kents and a few ataulfos from November to March. 

Ciruli Bros. reports quality of the mangoes varies by country. Much of the quality is determined by the transit times by boat which may take a couple of weeks.

Product from Ecuador can reach the U.S. in six or seven days, while the trip from Peru takes 11 days, and the voyage from Brazil can take 14 or 15 days. Freska Produce International LLC of Oxnard, CA, was kicking off its mango program from Brazil in late August with shipments to the East Coast.

CarbAmericas Inc. of Fort Lauderdale, FL. has been importing offshore mangoes for more over 25 years.

The company received its first fruit of the season from Brazil in late August.

Central American Produce Inc. of Pompano Beach, Fla. started its mango program from Brazil in early September.

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Cranberry Shipments Expected to Increase this Season

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There will be over 1 million more barrels of North American cranberries this year, according to the Cranberry Marketing Committee. One barrel unit weighs 100 pounds.

Hableman Bros. Co. of Tomah, WI reports North America’s three major cranberry-producing regions are Massachusetts, Quebec and Wisconsin. The Badger state is easily the largest shipper of fresh cranberries as well as cranberries destined for processing. Only about 3 percent of the total crop goes to the fresh market.

Habelman Bros. Co. is one of the world’s largest fresh market cranberry producers and in 2020, the grower’s harvest is expected to began the third week of September. Harvest should run through October, with packing and shipping continuing through mid-December.

Traditionally, about 55 percent of the fresh cranberry crop is packed and sold in November. Twenty-five percent is packaged and sold in December. The balance is sold in the front end of the season — September and October. Some of that early volume is shipped to Canada, where Thanksgiving is celebrated six weeks before Thanksgiving in the United States. This year the Canadian Thanksgiving is October 12.

Habelman is a fourth-generation company, which was founded in 1907.

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A Look at Central American Banana Exports

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Banana exports from Ecuador were boosted 9 percent during the first four months of 2020 despite the challenges stemming from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Between January and April 2020 the country managed to increase volumes to 139 million boxes, according to the country’s banana industry body AEBE. That came despite some logistical issues in the country and in the destination markets. The uptick in shipments was driven by strong year to year growth in January and February, with more moderate growth in March and April.

The AEBE reports spot market prices were unsustainably low, currently sitting at almost half of the minimum amount that exporters must pay growers by law. As of June 15, a box of bananas was fetching around $3.50 on the spot market, while the pricing floor for payments to growers is currently $6.30.

In the first four months of the year Ecuador sent 29 percent of its bananas to the European Union, 21 percent to Russia, 15 percent to the Middle East, 9 percent to the U.S., and 7 percent to the Far East. Other major Latin America banana exporters – Costa Rica, Colombia, and Guatemala – also managed to notch increases during the start of 2020.

In the first quarter, Costa Rica saw a 9 percent rise to 33 million boxes and Colombia boosted volumes by 19 percent to 29.6 million boxes. The figures mark a recovery in production levels in both countries after they were hit by adverse weather last year.

Guatemala’s banana exports rose by 10 percent in the quarter to 30.8 million boxes. Costa Rica, Colombia, and Guatemala sent 53 percent, 75 percent and 8 percent of their shipments to the U.S market respectively, with the former two also sending 15 percent and 13 percent to the European Union.

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Michigan Apple Shipments Underway with Normal Volume

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Michigan apple shipments are pegged at 21.9 million boxes this season, which is down less than 3 percent from a year ago.

North Bay Produce Inc. of Traverse City, MI is shipping its main varieties such as gala, Honeycrisp, mcintosh and golden delicious.

Michigan Fresh Marketing LLC of Comstock Park, MI grows a number of variety and kicked off the season several weeks ago with it early variety apples, ginger gold and paula red.

The company also has an early Honeycrisp, called a Premier, that started August 22nd; SweeTango, and Wildfire, stared a few days later.

Gala kicked off the company’s traditional varieties on September 7, with mcintosh, Smitten; Honeycrisp, empire, jonathan and jonagold, and golden delicious over the next three weeks.

Red delicious, fuji, idared, braeburn and topaz get underway this month, while and Evercrisp and Pink Lady, start in November.

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