Posts Tagged “Chilean fruit exports”

Chilean Blueberry, Grape Exports Dip Due to Logistical Hurdles and Soaring Costs

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Chilean exports of blueberries and table grapes both experienced year-on-year declines in the first quarter of 2022 amid severe logistical issues and higher costs.

Blueberry exports between January and March fell by 5 percent in volume to 89,478 tons and 9 percent in value to $429 million FOB, national association Fedefruta reports.

Meanwhile, table grapes dropped by 2 percent in volume to 253,300 tons and 16 percent in value to $397 million FOB.

In preseason forecasts, blueberry exports for the 2021-22 season had been pegged on par with last season, while table grapes made been expecting a big increase of around a quarter.

Despite the declines for the second and third most exported fruits over the period, growth in the leading category – cherries – was enough to lift overall fruit exports by 4 percent in volume to 933,000 tons and 7 percent in value to $2.7 billion.

“In a season in which we did not have weather problems, this harvest was impacted by the logistical bottleneck in the national ports, and in the delay of journeys and the increase in freight and input costs,” comments the president of Fedefruta, Jorge Valenzuela.

“Without a doubt, we have never had this problem at this level, due to freight costs that have tripled. There is fruit that is not being harvested because it is more expensive to ship than to leave it on the tree.

He added that because of the delay in logistics, about 4,000 containers of Chilean cherries did not arrive on time to the markets in China.

“Before the New Year we had a very good campaign, but the problems were seen after that holiday. We have a perishable product must arrive at the right times, and this season it was very difficult to comply. A lot of fruit was at sea for a long time,” he said.

Regarding blueberries, “I would not like to talk about percentages, but many loads of blueberries have been damaged. We have received information that blueberries have been the fruit most complicated by this logistical crisis. The loss of condition is naturally reflected in no sales and falling prices”.

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Chilean Growers Lack Shipping Alternatives in Peak of Grape Season

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Shipments of Chilean table grapes and other fruits do not have sufficient coverage from shipping lines to reach the United States market at the height of its growing season.

According to a statement from the Chilean fruit growers association Fedefruta, a lack of cargo space for fresh fruit in the Valparaiso port is generating the problem.

Fedefruta president Jorge Valenzuela said that growers are asking that “for these two weeks they give us space with cold storage that can operate with greater frequency”. The timeframe is particularly tight since “we are looking at the last shipments before the marketing order takes effect in the United States”.

The scenario is affecting table grapes to the greatest extent, as they are subject to market controls in April, and also when the industry is harvesting at its highest level. 

“We are talking about a very perishable product, and this dictates the timeframe for when it is harvested, packed and transported. We thought that the fruit would have shipping priority in these weeks of the year:, Valenzuela added.

He also called on the port operators, TPS and TPV, to make greater commitments in future seasons to offer conditions that allow the industry to return to the full shipping capacity required to export this crop.

While table grapes have the biggest impact, stone fruit and the last of blueberry shipments from the central growing regions are also impacted. Valenzuela said that the weekly shipping frequency is about half of what it used to be, which “is having an important affect on most table grape growers that depend on these weeks to get their product to the North American market”.

The statement clarified that this issue is independent from delays in arriving to the market, which have also led to problems in meeting commitments with the supply chain to the north. 

He also said that there must be an understanding that fruit must ship in a certain timeframe, despite that the ports are under high pressure to receive imported goods and products which are exported year round.

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Chilean Fruit Export Volume Increases in 2021

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Chilean fresh fruit export volume totaled 2.62 million tons, equivalent to $5.05 billion FOB, during the calendar year 2021, according to
The Chilean office of Agricultural Studies and Policies (Odepa) and reported by Portal Portuario.

Exports registered an increase in volume of 2 percent while its value dropped by 1.9 percent compared to the same period the previous year.

The main commodity exported were cherries, registering a volume of 336,000 tons equivalent to $1.589 billion FOB, reflecting an increase of 49 percent in volume and 1 percent in value compared to the same period the previous year. The main destination was China with 89 percent of the total value of cherry shipments.

Tables grapes are next in line, registering 525,000 tons equivalent to $927 million FOB, registering a decrease of 13 percent in volume and a drop of 10 percent in value compared to the same time period the previous year. The main destinations were the U.S. with 47 percent and China with 15 percent.

Apples came in third, with 643,700 tons equivalent to $617.2 million FOB registering a decrease of 2.5 percent in volume and 5 percent in value when compared to the same time period the previous year. The main buyers were Colombia with 12 percent, the U.S. 11 percent, the Netherlands 8.3 percent, and India 7.8 percent.

Blueberries came in fourth with sales of 113,000 tons equivalent to $573 million FOB. They mainly shipped to the U.S. with 48 percent, the Netherlands 19 percent, and the UKL 9 percent.

These four commodities along with kiwifruit and avocados account for 83 percent of the total value of fresh fruit exported during the analyzed period.

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Chile Adds New Port for Fruit Exports to U.S. West Coast

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The Chilean fruit industry and authorities have marked the first shipment from the port of Talcahuano (San Vicente Port) en route to Los Angeles, California, according to PortalPortuario. This adds another option for the country’s fruit production to reach northern markets for fruit harvested in both Central and Northern Chile. The first shipment took place the week of February 7th and included 9,210 pallets of fresh fruit, including blueberries, grapes, pears and stone fruit. 

The development is part of a strategy from the port concessionaire San Vicente Terminal Internacional (SVTI) and the port operator Puertos de Talcahuano to diversify the sectors served by the facility. 

“This first shipment of this year’s refrigerated fruit confirms the multipurpose work of our concessionarie SVTI, and at the same time demonstrate that the San Vicente Port is an attractive option for agricultural exporters not just in the central and southern regions of Chile, but also from the north”, said Guacolda Vargas, development and sustainability manager of Puertos de Talcahuano. 

This first logistical run included the participation of around 300 refrigerated trucks that moved goods from the regions of Coquimbo, Valparaíso, O’Higgins, Maule and others. Authorities from Chile’s agricultural and livestock service SAG and fruit exporters association ASOEX were also on hand. 

Chile’s fruit industry depends largely on the ports of San Antonio and Valparaiso in the center of the country, both of which have suffered in the past from logistical bottlenecks and labor issues. 

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Freight Rate Increases Affecting Shipments of Chilean Fruit

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Chilean fruit exporters are experiencing lower profit margins due to the increased cost of ocean freight, according to the Association of Fruit Exporters of Chile (ASOEX) and the Agricultural Society of Biobio (Socabio).

ASOEX reports rates are increasing considerably in relation to the freight paid the previous two years.

The exporters association notes a U.S. study shows 25 percent of the price consumers are paying corresponds to the freight issue.

This hike has a direct impact on fruit producers and exporters throughout Chile due to freight increases and is one of the fundamental concerns of the industry is specific commodities, such as cherries, table grapes, peaches, nectarines, and kiwis, cannot directly absorb the increase in the cost of the freight.

Socabio reports the cost of freight has risen 30 to 40 percent, which affects the profitability of the exported crops, although it depends on the crop; in the case of fresh fruit, it becomes more expensive to export because it is important to export the crop quickly.

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Updates on South Africa and Chilean Stone Fruit Imports

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It is mid season for South African and Chilean stone fruit exports as both locations are seeing minor delays, but are overall pleased with how the season is moving along.

After three rough years, South Africa is having a normal crop.
Hortgro, the organization that represents South Africa’s stone fruit growers, reported updated numbers in volumes with increases across the board. Plums are estimated to be up by 27% for the season, returning to a normal crop season while peaches and nectarines are also expected to be up by eight and 10 percent, respectively.

Icon Fruit reports more optimism compared to this time last year. Apricot export volumes are exceeding initial export estimates and are currently up 90% compared to last season. If current trends continue there could be 12 million cartons of plums.

This volume increase is due to a winter with good rains and cooler spring temperatures during the flowering period. The sizes of the stone fruit are bigger, which also helps increase the number of cartons that are exported.

Chilean Exports

Chile exporters have had some frustrations due to a slow start of the season and are just beginning to see normal sizes and volumes catching up to predicted numbers.

Verfrut North American expects good exports throughout January and February.

The company reports older varieties of plums with small sizes will not be sent to the U.S. because Americans prefer new varieties and larger sizes.

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Imported Chilean Fruit Dropped by 10 Percent in 2019

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Chilean fruit exports to the United State plunged by 10 percent in 2019.

With a value of $929 million, the USDA reports Chilean fruit exported to the U.S. has consistently exceeded a billion dollars, so the decrease marks the first time it has been lower than a billion in five years.

Chilean orange exports to the U.S. is the primary citrus item shipped with value of $159 million, accounting for a 23 percent decline for 2019. However, this may be a larger trend of less imports into the U.S. in general as, for example, the second citrus exporter to the country, South Africa, saw its citrus exports fall 37 percent in the same year.

As for table grapes, there are three main time frames for U.S. imports. From April 1 through June, Chile was in second place for table grape origin for the country with $192.8 million in total value. Chilean grape exports to the U.S. had an increase of 1 percent compared to the previous year during this time.

However, it is significant to note other periods for grapes experienced a dip of 43 percent in the second period. Peru also surpassed Chile in table grape imports during that time.

But in the last trimester of U.S. table grape imports, Chile was the first country of origin for the U.S. even though export figures decreased by 5 percent during the same period. In the other important category for Chile, cherries declined by 12 percent in export value, making about the same amount as in 2017 with $27.8 million in 2019.

While Chilean citrus, table grapes and cherries saw declines in 2019, apples noted a rise in exports. With a value of $75.8 million, Chilean apple exports to the U.S. increased by 27 percent.

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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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Dip is Predicted in Chilean Winter Fruit Imports

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A modest decline in Chilean fruit exports for the 2019-20 season is forecast by the USDA primarily because of a drought and fewer plantings.

In its annual fruit report release recently Chilean table grape exports in 2019-20 will decline 3 percent, while apple exports will be off 7 percent and pear exports down 10 percent..

Grape Exports

Chile’s table grape planted area for exporting in 2019-20 is projected unchanged at about 118,000 acres. The USDA reports table grape production will drop due to droughts throughout the country and will have a pronounced effect in the central Chile regions of Valparaiso, Metropolitana, and O’Higgins. On the other hand, the northern regions of Atacama and Coquimbo have enough water reserves.

The USDA said traditional table grape varieties, including crimson seedless and thompson seedless, are declining in volume. Newer varieties, such as arra-15, timco, and sweet celebration continue to increase in production. Chile’s 2019-20 grape output is estimated at 805,000 metric tons, down 3 percent from a year ago. 

Exports of table grapes will fall again in 2019-20 after an off year in 2018-19. Last season, Chile’s table grape exports decreased by 10.5 percent in volume compared with 2017-18, totaling 654,479 metric tons. Table grape exports to the U.S. and China fell by 10 percent while exports to South Korea grew by 27.7% last season. Even with the decline last year, the U.S. took 45 percent of Chile’s total exports in 201-8-19, with 295,149 metric tons shipped to the U.S.

Competition from Peru early in the season has pulled Chilean grape prices down and created a greater emphasis for late-season exportst.

The USDA projects Chilean grape exports to China will grow as exporters focus their promotion funds and marketing efforts in reaching that market.  Chile’s total grape exports for 2019-20 are projected at 640,000 metric tons, down from 660,000 metric tons in 2018-19.

Apple Exports

Chile’s apple acreage this season is projected at near 80,000 acres, 6 percent less than 2018-19. Increased competition from Peru and low prices for traditional varieties contributed to the acreage decline.

Last season, Chile’s total fresh apple exports decreased by 10 percent in volume and 8.4 percdent in value compared with the 2017-18 season, with totals of 618,324 metric tons in volume and $557 million in value.

2018-19 exports of Chilean apples were diversified to customers in North America, Latin America, Europe and the Far East, but the U.S. was rated as the top buyer of Chilean apples.

For the upcoming season, apple exports to China, Taiwan, India, and Vietnam are expected to increase. Total Chilean apple exports for 2019-20 are projected at 656,500 metric tons, off 7 percent from 705,000 metric tons last season.

Pear Exports

Chilean pear acreage now is estimated at nearly 18,000 acres, about 11.5 percent fewer compared with 2018-19. Last season, Chile’s pear exports increased by 1.4 percent in volume over the previous year reaching 123,914 metric tons.

Top Chilean export markets for pears include Russia, Colombia, the Netherlands and Italyt.

Chilean pears also were exported to China starting in April with the opening of that market. For 2019-20, the USDA projects total Chilean pear exports at 117,000 metric tons, 10 percent lower compared with 130,000 metric tons in 2018-19.

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