Posts Tagged “Chilean fruit”

Chilean Fruit Import Season in a Transitional Stage

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These cabover tractors pulling reefer trailers were photographed in 1992 at a Chilean port during a visit to that country by Bill Martin.

This is a transitional season for Chilean fruit as items such as peaches and nectarines are wrapping up, while others such as kiwifruit will soon be ramping up.

However, for the time being Chilean table grapes remain the focus of fruit imports from this South American country. Strong volumes of Chilean table grapes will continue arriving at American ports through April. Over 26 million cases of Chilean grapes were shipped to the United States through March 17th.

There have been heavy arrivals, although overall volume is now starting to slowly decrease. There are the more traditional varieties such as Crimsons, Flames and Thompson Seedless. However, there is increasing volumes of proprietary and newer varieties like Timco, Sweet Celebration and Jack’s Salute.

While peach and nectarine volumes are in a seasonal decline, there were still strong volumes of plums shipped in mid-March from Chilean ports, resulting in good volumes arriving at U.S. ports well into April.

While Chilean kiwifruit have been exported to the U.S. for many years, volume is now to the point where the Chilean Kiwifruit Committee plans marketing campaign for the first time in the United States.

Chilean kiwi exports begin in April with good volume occurring at U.S. ports by late May.

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First Chilean Ship Arrives at NJ Terminal

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Gloucester Marine Terminal LLC based in Gloucester City, NJ received its first arrival of fresh Chilean fruit three weeks ago when the M/V Baltic Jasmine unloaded nearly 2,500 tons of Chilean grapes, plums, nectarines and other products.

Weekly service for Chilean winter fruit will continue through April.

“Having the first vessel is a responsibility that we take seriously,” Peter Inskeep, of the Gloucester Marine Terminal, said in a press release. “We have placed a huge emphasis on the culture of food safety, and once again our terminal has been awarded the highest SQF Level II certification. This means that the delicious products that pass through our hands from Chile, Peru, Brazil, Spain, Morocco, Central America and South Africa are guaranteed safe handling.”

The M/V Baltic Jasmine is part of the fleet owned and managed by Baltic Shipping, a long-time customer of the Gloucester Terminal.

“The 2018/2019 fruit season promises to be a good one, and this means increased consumer access to lots of fresh and healthy products from our partners around the world,” Eric Holt, with Holt Logistics Corp., said in the release.

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New Forecast Lowers Volume for Chilean Cherry, Blueberry and Grape Imports

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01152018Volume with imports of Chilean fruit are becoming a little more in focus as forecast evaluations from a big hail storm last November are being summarized.

Export volume of Chilean cherries for the 2018-19 season are projected to be 10.5 percent lower than last season and off 7.1 percent from the initial estimate this year.  Cherry exports are estimated at 33.44 million boxes, down from 37.38 million boxes a year ago.  Peak export shipments of Chile cherries are expected the last week of December and the first week of January, with the season wrapping up by late February.

Most Chilean cherries are exported to China, but the U.S. also receives volume.

Through November 24th, the USDA reported  season-to-date-shipments of Chilean cherries to the U.S. totaled 200,000 pounds, down from 2 million pounds for the same period last year.

Fewer Blueberries

Chilean blueberries apparently had less damage with the hard-hit O’Higgins region representing about 7 percent of the total planted area.  However, hail also was reported in some growing areaser area of blueberries in the Maule Region.  From the metropolitan region of Santiago to the south, over 4,900 acres of blueberries could have some damage from hail storms.

Chilean blueberry exports for 2018-19 are now projected at 100,800 metric tons, 4 percent lower than the 105,000 metric tons initially forecast.  Reduction in volume will be felt in early and mid-season exports.

Through mid-November, about 1,905 metric tons had been exported from Chile, mostly bound for North America.  Peak blueberry shipments are expected from December through February, with shipments continuing into March.

Through November 24th, the USDA reported season-to-date imports of Chilean blueberries totaled 2.4 million pounds, down from 3.7 million pounds the same time last year.

Chilean Grapes

The first Chilean grape imports on the East Coast are expected a few days prior to Christmas.  While some Chilean grape advocates have said North America grape buyers are not interested in older varieties like California’s  flames and red globes, the California grape trade is saying it will be shipping domestic grapes through most of January.

North America is Chile’s biggest grape market, taking 45 percent (39 million boxes) of Chilean grape export volume during the 2017-18 season.

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Devastating Hail Storm Hits Key Chilean Fruit Production Region

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01152018A devastating  storm described as the worst in 15 years has hit a number of growing areas in Chile.  The severe hailstorm is expected to affect at least $200 million in crops.

The Federation of Fruit Producers (Fedefruta) reports Chilean fruit production has been hit across Chile’s central and southern regions, with cherries among the most affected.  The large sized hail lasted an amazing 20 to 30 minutes.  The worst affected areas in the central O’Higgins region represents 26.5 percent of the Chile’s fruit production. Crops hit hardest include cherries, table and wine grapes, kiwifruit, nectarines, almonds, walnuts, among many others.

The area accounts for 40 percent of the region’s fruit-producing land, or 74, 100 acres, and almost 10 percent of the national total.  Cherries and table grapes have received the most damage, followed by stone fruit.

Further south in the country, in the Maule Norte and Ñuble region, which has about 24,700 acres of blueberries, there appears to be significant damage not only from hail, but from heavy rainfall.

Prior to the adverse weather Oppenheimer Group of Vancouver, Canada was expecting normal imports with Chilean peaches, plums and nectarines.

While shipments were going to be limited in December, volume was to ramp up in January and continue in volume into March.

 Jac Vandenberg Inc. of Yonkers, NY was giving a similar report.

In calendar year 2017, the USDA reported Chile shipped 66.2 million pounds of peaches, 96.5 million pounds of plums and 97.7 million pounds of nectarines to the U.S.

Those numbers were off compared with calendar year 2016, when Chile sent 80.9 million pounds of peaches, 124.3 million pounds of plums and 119.1 million pounds of nectarines to the U.S.

Acreage of stone fruit has declined in Chile in recent years, with peach and nectarine acreage falling from about 47,400 acres in 2013 to 41,600 acres in 2016.

Peach and nectarine production in Chile declined from 369,000 metric tons in 2014 to 337,000 metric tons in 2016, according to the United National Food and Agriculture Organization.

Plum acreage has dropped from 46,000 acres in 2013, to about 43,000 acres in 2016, according to the FAO. Plum production dipped from 312,000 metric tons in 2013 to 295,000 metric tons in 2016.

Apple outlook

No reports have been issued on how Chile’s apple and pear shipments to the U.S. may be affected, perhaps because its season is later, mainly arriving in the U.S. from March through July.

Prior to the weather event, The USDA projected that Chile will export about 720,000 metric tons of apples in 2018-19 season, down 4 percent from 750,000 metric tons exported in 2017-18.

The U.S. is the top market for Chilean apples.

Chile’s total apple planted area decreased from 92,775 acres in 2013 to about 85,000 acres in 2017.  The decline is because apple exports have not been as profitable as other crops such as cherries, walnuts and hazelnuts.

Chilean pear production in 2018-19 totaled 250,000 metric tons after a 3.8 percent decrease in planted area. Chile’s pear exports in 2018-19 were projected to decrease to 127,000 metric tons, a 2.3 percent decrease due to lower than expected production.


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A Look at Produce Shipments from the Eastern Time Zone of the U.S.

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A1Produce trucking can be frustrating this time of year as spring is still a month away (March 20th), rates are down from earlier in the year, and spring vegetable shipments have yet to seasonally take off.

An interesting note is imported truck loads that include everything from Nogales and South Texas, as well as ports on both coasts, there were 7000 fewer truck loads shipped than during the same week in 2017.  Part of the explanation is many imported produce items are maturing on a more normal schedule this year, compared to last year when warmer weather resulted in a lot of early crops.

Florida spring shipments won’t hit volume for several weeks, but there are signs of life.  The new season for red potatoes out of Southern areas is underway, and we are seeing light but increasing volume with vegetables such as beans and cabbage.  Tomatoes (mostly mature greens) are averaging around 750 truck loads weekly, although most loads out of the state involve multiple pick ups.  Plant City area strawberries are averaging around 500 truck loads a week.

Florida produce – grossing around $3000 to New York City.

Port of Philadelphia

Chilean fruit arrivals are growing in volume.  Early season Chilean grapes haven’t been that impressive quality-wise, but it’s good enough you shouldn’t face claims issues over it.  There also is increasing volume with peaches, plums and nectarines.  However, the biggest single volume item may be pineapples from Costa Rica and other Central American countries.

Otherwise, it is pretty much slim pickings from the Eastern time zone.  You’ve got light volume out of New York state with apples, cabbage and storage onions.  Eastern North Carolina is shipping around 250 truck loads of sweet potatoes each week, which is more than double the other leading states of California, Mississippi and Louisiana combined.

Michigan is moving about 150 truck loads of apples weekly, primarily from the Grand Rapids region.  Some shippers buy items such as potatoes and onions from Western states, repack them, and then ship it out.

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$300 Million Upgrade Coming to Philadelphia Port

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phillyportA $300 million upgrade is coming to The Port of Philadelphia for upgrading  its infrastructure, warehousing and equipment.  Fresh produce is a major beneficiary of the improvements.

“Absolutely. It’s one of our key commodities we handle at the port,” said Sean Mahoney, marketing director for the Philadelphia Regional Port Authority. “We’re known for refrigeration, and we want to upgrade.”

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf recently announced the project, which will include about a $200 million investment in the Packer Avenue Marine Terminal — the port’s primary container terminal.

“The place we’ve always continually handled fruit and produce is Packer Avenue,” Mahoney said.

The plans call for doubling the cargo-handling capacity at the terminal, which already is the port’s busiest.

Container-handling capacity will increase, with a 900,000 20-foot-equivalent (TEU) capacity immediately resulting from the improvements, scalable to exceed 1.2 million TEU capacity in the future, a significant improvement over the terminal’s current 400,000-plus TEU capacity.

The Philadelphia port has long been known for handling Chilean fruit, and now it is expanding its presence for other countries such as Peru.  This is resulting in a shift from the old form of shipping from break bulk to more containers.  The increased port capacity will reflect this trend.

Construction will continue through 2020, leading to a doubling of container capacity, increasing efficiency and allowing an opportunity for future growth.

“This capital investment program will give the Port of Philadelphia the tools it needs to improve its competitive position and create thousands of family-sustaining, middle class jobs while increasing state revenues,” Wolf said in a news release.

A total direct job increase of 70 percent is projected from the current level of 3,124 to a projected 5,378 direct jobs.  Total employment at the port will grow from 10,341 to 17,020.

The improvements at the Packer Avenue Marine Terminal, the Port’s primary container facility, will occur at about the time that the Delaware Main Channel Deepening Project, which is deepening the Port’s main shipping channel from 40 to 45 feet, will be completed.

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Loadings Picking Up for FL Strawberries, Chilean Stone Fruit

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DSCN4351Increased loading opportunities are taking place for Florida strawberries from the Plant City area, while arrivals of Chilean imported stone fruit are occurring on both coasts of the United States.

Florida strawberry shipments got off to a show start this season but good volume finally arrived the week of December 22nd.  While volume in late December and early January was high, produce haulers should expect a significant slowing of shipments to begin in mid-January.   Volume for Florida strawberry shipments could be off for a couple of weeks before picking back up towards the end of January.   Heading into Valentine’s Day (February 14th),  truckers should expect bigger volume.

Florida strawberries, vegetables and tomatoes – grossing about $2800 to New York City.

Chilean Fruit

Importers of Chilean stone fruit expect a strong rebound from last season’s freeze-damaged crops.  Break bulk shipments of Chilean peaches, nectarines and plums began arriving early the week of December 29th at the Port of Long Beach.

Shipments were running seven days ahead of last year. Volumes this season should be at least in line with the 5-year average but much higher than last season, when fruit was hard hit by freezes.

Philadelphia received its first shipments for Chilean peaches, nectarines and plums the weekend of Jan. 3rd.  Early varieties of Chilean peaches would start arriving at East Coast ports this week, with nectarine volumes following in early February and plum volumes in mid-February.

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Hauling Round up: From Idaho Apples to Texas Citrus, and Chilean Imports

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DSCN4527Idaho apple shipments will provide the most loading opportunities since 1999, while  Texas citrus is cranking up.  Meanwhile, bad news from Chile as a killer freeze will take its toll on imports.

Idaho certainly isn’t a Washington state, or even a New York state, or Michigan when it comes to apple shipments, but it does provide moderate loading opportunities.  Plus, it doesn’t hurt that Idaho has a bumper apple crop this season….Of course, as is often the case, Idaho is shipping plenty of potatoes – and needs more trucks.

What is normally thought of as a potato shipping state, has an estimated 70 million pounds of apples this year, believed to be the largest in 15 years.   With harvest winding down, yields have been great and apple quality is reported excellent, while growers are scrambling to find as many bins as possible.

Idaho’s apple harvest generally begins around the first part of September and is mostly wrapped up by the end of October, though some picking extends into November.

Idaho potatoes – grossing about $1700 to L.A.; $5700 to New York City.

Texas Citrus Shipments

Harvesting of both grapefruit and oranges out of the Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas is well underway. Volume has been light thus far, but shipments should increase significantly by the week of November 10th.  Good quality is reported and loadings should be available through next April.

Texas citrus – grossing about $2500 to Chicago.

Chilean Fruit Hit by Freeze

Lightning seems to have struck twice in Chile as frosts last week devastated crops in some southern growing regions, with one large producer estimating between 30-100 percent crop loss for fruits including kiwifruit, blueberries, cherries and apples.   The freeze occurred October 8-9.  We’ll keep you  updated since Chile is a primary exporter of fresh produce to the U.S., with produce arriving at ports on both coasts, particularly during the winter months.

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Grape Arrivals at Ports are Peaking, But Volume on All Chilean Fruit is Down This Season

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MarerskHPIf you’ve noticed fewer loading opportunities for Chilean fruit arriving by boat at U.S. ports on both coasts, you’re correct.  However, less product has been coming mostly because of growing conditions in South America, not from a union port strike in Chile that has been on and off, but apparently is over, at least for now.

For exmple, Chilean blueberry exports are at 22,516 tons, compared to 34,000 tons the same time last year.  However, blueberry exports are support to be increasing now.

Chile exported 8,356 tons of cherries this this season compared to 7,998 last year.  Plum exports are unchanged from a year ago.

Stone fruits were hit harder by Chilean weather and the country has exported 2,252 tons of peaches compared to 6,425 tons last year. Nectarines are off 5,411 tons from a year ago compared to 2,828 tons this year. Apricots have also been down at 232 tons compared to 822 during the same period last year.

Last September several frosts hit Chile, with stone fruit and kiwifruit being hit the hardest.   In mid-January, estimated losses 64 percent for Chilean peaches, 59 percent for nectarines and 63 percent for plums.   Chilean kiwifruit losses were pegged at  60 percent.

Chilean grapes lead volume of that country fruit arrivals to America.  Arrivals at ports is now peaking, but will taper off early than normal – probably March – due to later varieties being hit hardest by a freeze last September.

Over the past 25 years Chile has become a major player in global markets, in large part because its seasons are opposite that of the U.S. and a number of other countries.  This allows it export to the U.S. for example, when many American produce items are out of season.




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1st Chilean Fruit has arrived at a U.S. Port, with More Boats Expected

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DSCN1782The first breakbulk shipment of Chilean winter fruit to arrived by boat in the U.S at the Port of Wilmington (North Carolina)  on December 18th.  As we get further into the winter, more frequent arrivals are occurring.

The ship held over 756,000 boxes of fresh cherries, blueberries, stone fruit, and table grapes.  The  imported fruit is stored in the port’s 800,000 on-dock refrigerated warehouse complex before distribution by truck to Eastern markets.

During the winter fruit season from December through April, the Port of Wilmington expects to receive at least 25 shiploads of fruit from various Chilean ports.  Wilmington was the first U.S. port to receive fruit from Chile this winter.

In the 2012-13 season, the Port of Wilmington received about 18 million boxes of Chilean fruit, up 22 percent from the previous season.

Exactly how much fruit from Chile will arrive a U.S. ports, which besides Wilmington, is primarily Philadelphia, PA and Long Beach, CA, depends on a number of factors.

Naturally, Mother Nature plays a critical role and those climate conditions during the growing season in Chile has meant slower development, harvest and ultimately arrivals to the U.S.  Some freezing weather at critical times also is expected to reduce total volume.  Finally, depending on currency values, Chile will ship to Europe and other global markets if better profits are likely.

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