Posts Tagged “Chilean grape imports”
Some winters Chilean grape imports are flooding U.S. markets the first half of January, but pretty much hit a stone wall this year as we entered 2019. That is now changing as shipments of California grapes are in big volume declines as the season concludes.
There was still a lot of California fruit in U.S. markets during December — a whopping 55 percent more California grapes in cold storage in mid-December 2018 vs. mid-December 2017. As a result, Chile has been shipping less to North America and more to Asia.
Through mid December 10,575 tons of Chilean grapes were shipped to North America, compared to 29,000 at the same time last year. Through the end of December, 71 percent of all Chilean grape exports went to North America.
Chilean grape exports started slowly, but have picked up gradually this year. Overall, Chile reports good volumes of grapes for this season and will be exporting product through the current season.
Total global exports of Chilean grapes through the end of December reached 15,419 tons, which was a “significant decline” from the 31,000 tons of a year earlier, according to the Chilean Fresh Fruit Association.
Chile stepped up shipments to the U.S. by early January, however, with the remaining California inventory having dissipated, Brux said, dropping to 1.5 million cases at the end of the year, according to a recent market report.
“Now that January has arrived and much of the California inventory has cleared, we’ll start to see increased volumes, along with big retail promotions, for Chilean grapes in North America,” she said.
As of the first week in January, harvesting was primarily in the Coquimbo region (IV), with the Valparaiso (V) region starting, Brux said.
The largest shipment of Chilean winter fruit so far this season arrived at the Port of Wilmington Dec. 27. The shipment contained more than 676,000 boxes of fresh table grapes, peaches, nectarines, apricots, and plums, Brux said. The third bulk reefer was scheduled to arrive the second week of January.
Grape volume from the Copiapó region likely will exceed 10 million boxes this season. The largest volumes from that region were to be harvested from December through mid-January, with late varieties finishing by the first week in March.
North America is the largest market for Chilean grapes, taking in 47% of all Chilean grape exports in 2017-18, Brux said.
Bill Poulos, grape category director for the Vancouver, British Columbia-based Oppenheimer Group, said he expects volumes this year to match year-earlier figures.
“We anticipate red and green grape volumes to be fairly similar to last year, as fortunately the (Nov. 12) hailstorm largely spared Chile’s grape-growing regions,” he said. “With new varieties coming into North America, we expect higher overall volumes in April and May than in the past. This steady supply picture is emerging despite the decline in the flame variety in Northern Chile.”
New varieties will have noticeably higher volumes, said Fernando Soberanes, director of operations for South America with Los Angeles-based Giumarra Cos.
“We expect to see increased production of proprietary grape varieties out of Chile as they continue to gain popularity in the market,” he said. “In general, volumes of traditional grape varieties are declining out of Chile in favor of newer varieties. The decline is heavier toward the early-season varieties than the late varieties, so we will see smaller volumes coming in at the onset of the season and heavier volumes toward the end.”
Volume 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.
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 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.
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.
Chilean grape imports by U.S. importers should be much better than last season.
During the 2015-16 season, Chile exported a total of almost 85.5 million 18-pound equivalent boxes of table grapes. While there are no official estimates for 2016-17, table grape production is expected to be around 90 million boxes. The main variety out of Chile is globe, with global exports of more than 28 million boxes, followed by crimson with 18 million, thompson seedless with 16 million and flame seedless with 8.5 million boxes.
The Chilean grape season started a little earlier than normal, and by the week of Dec. 19th, Chile had shipped nearly 47,000 tons of grapes to the U.S. This compares with just 12,600 tons last season.
As of January 10th, the South American country had shipped 91 percent more than the same time last year; — 78,629 tons compared to 41,035 tons. Flame seedless, sugraone and thompson seedless were the main varieties that had shipped.
Total volume will be similar to last year and if not higher, although a significant difference will be in timing of U.S. imports, with the season starting and ending sooner than last season. In essence, Chilean grape availability will be condensed to about an eight to 10-week timeframe compared to the normal 10-12 week interval.
Heavy volume of imports are expected in the next two months from Chile’s southern region.
There were heavy rains in Chile last December the northern growing regions where early season grapes were the most affected, with some damage to flames and sugraones.
Still there is a 250 percent increase year-to-date in volume over last year, with a lot of loading opportunities coming at U.S. ports in February and March.
By contrast, Peruvian grape imports have fallen short of pre-season expectations while Chile is harvesting at a record rate, especially with red grapes.
One importer indicated that so far this year, there have been 16.3 million cases combined between Peru and Chile season-to-date compared to 12.7 million last year.
There’s a possible California freeze damaging cold front barreling in from Canada that will hit the citrus shipping region of California’s San Joaquin Valley the nights of New Years Eve and New Years night….Additionally, here’s an update on loading opportunities for imported Chilean fruit.
A winter storm racing into the central San Joaquin Valley from Canada could bring temperatures of 26-27 degrees F. the nights of December 31st and January 1st, although forecasters are saying this could change as the storm nears. If the forecast holds, growers will likely begin irrigating on Wednesday to help warm the ground and protect trees. Wind machines will be turned on at night to mix the air and prevent cold pockets from forming.
Approximately 75 percent of the orange and mandarin crops have yet to be harvested. Navel oranges can withstand about four hours of 28-degree temperatures with little or no damage. However, mandarins are more sensitive, and even 32 degrees can be damaging to them.
If damage does occur, it typically takes days, if not weeks to assess how serious it was.
Chilean Fruit Imports
Apart from some recent rains that affected cherry volumes, weather conditions have been favorable for this season. Volume increases are predicted for Chilean fruit commodities, even cherries. This would be in stark contrast to the large volume decreases in 2013-14 due to severe frosts in the South American country. Exports of Chilean blueberries are expected to show a huge increase of 30 percent over last season, with volume exceeding 200 million pounds. An estimated 70 percent of exports come to North America. In the overall grape category, increases are seen for all varieties. Chilean grape imports will increase significantly in January, February and March.