Posts Tagged “imports”
Even in the midst of winter when produce loading opportunities in most areas of the country are nothing to get excited about, Florida still offers the best opportunities, at least in the Eastern time zone.
Some things never change, and multiple pick ups and drops is the norm. There’s a tremendous variety of produce for hauling in Florida, but none of the items are in big volume.
Imports from around the world continue to increase and south Florida ports are beneficiaries. Boats frequently arrive with containers from Chile to Peru, Guatemala, Central America, Brazil and the Caribbean.
Domestic loadings of dozens of vegetables are available, mostly out of Central and Southern Florida. Mature green and grape tomatoes are probably the heaviest volume items offering around 700 truck load equivalents per weeks. After this there is much lighter volume with items ranging from cabbage, to squash, peas and citrus, among numerous others.
South Georgia has light loadings of cabbage, carrots, sweet corn and greens. The Port of Savannah is becoming a bigger player with produce imports.
However, the ports of Philadelphia and Wilmington, NC are much higher volume ports handling imports from countries such as Chile, Peru, Italy, Brazil and Ecuador.
USA potato loads will be up eight percent over a year ago when this season ends around August. The 991,500 acres of spuds is six percent more than athe previous season. Of course, Idaho shipments easily lead all other states, but there are significant loadings available in Washington state, Oregon, Wisconsin, the Red River Valley of North Dakota and Minnesota, among others.
Idaho is shipping about 1750 truckload equivalents of potatoes per week, although a greater percentage is shipped by rail than most other spud production areas….By contrast, Colorado’s San Luis Valley is moving about 1000 loads per week, all by truck.
Central and southern areas of Georgia are loading collards, kale, mustard and turnip tops for the holidays. Loads of greens should continue from Georgia into March or April, depending on the weather. Broccoli also is being shipped.
Chilean Imported Grapes
While Chilean grapes are starting to arrive in the USA anytime now, it will be late January before good volume and loading opportunities are available at USA ports. Grapes arriving at such ports as Wilmington, NC; Philadelphia, and Long Beach, CA are shipped throughout the states and into Canada, with volume expected to top last year.
Georgia vegetables – grossing about $2800 to Boston.
Idaho potatoes – about $5400 to New York
Colorado potatoes – about $2000 to San Antonio.
USA imports of fresh fruit and vegetables have increased significantly since the 1990s, and this has increased loading opportunities during a time of the year when it is an off season for a majority of American grown produce items.
These off season suppliers for fresh produce are primarily the Southern Hemisphere countries countries near the equator for bananas.
While it is trendy and cool to be associated with locally grown produce these days, locally grown is minor compared to the strong growth in volume and variety of fresh produce that is imported. These imported fruits and vegetables has allowed U.S. consumers to eat more produce, and for truckers to haul more produce, on a year-round basis. This is product that normally would not be available.
The USDA states that between 1990-92 and 2004-06, annual USA imports of fresh fruit and vegetables surged to $7.9 billion from $2.7 billion, with the share of total USA imports for agriculture rising to 13.3 percent from 11.5 percent. USA exports of fresh produce also increase, but less. As a result, the United States has increasingly become a net importer of fresh produce.
As of 2007, USA fresh produce trade was dominated by a few regions. Fresh vegetable imports from Mexico and Canada were over $3.2 billion, which comprises the single-largest trade channel among regions of U.S. fresh produce trade.
USA fruit trade is more diverse than vegetable trade in terms of foreign trade partners. Whereas fresh vegetable trade is largely concentrated within North American Free Trade Agreement countries and Asia (95 percent of exports and 84 percent of imports), fresh fruit trade with those regions is less significant (85 percent of exports and 28 percent of imports).
Because fresh produce is highly perishable and seasonal, geography has traditionally played a major role in the global trade patterns of fresh produce.
The main sources of USA fresh fruit imports are banana-exporting countries, and the Southern Hemisphere and NAFTA regions. The banana exporters — Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras and Panama — are the largest providers of fresh fruit to the United States.
Together, these countries supply 36 percent of total U.S. fresh fruit imports, with bananas making up more than three-quarters of the fresh fruit value shipped by these equatorial countries to the United States. Southern Hemisphere countries — Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Chile, New Zealand, South Africa and Peru — supply 32 percent of U.S. fresh fruit imports. The NAFTA region supplies 27 percent of U.S. fresh fruit imports.
The structure of the U.S. fresh fruit import mix, however, has changed substantially, particularly since the 1990s, as grape and tropical fruit imports have grown faster than bananas.
Blueberries are a good example of an item that has grown quickly and hugely over the past decade. Other fruits and vegetables, such as asparagus from Peru, are also inching toward the list of items that are outpacing banana imports.
The last of fresh cranberry loads are now moving to USA markets, but primarily from Central Wisconsin. While Massachusetts often promises Christmas shipments, it has a checkered history of actually delivering, primarily due to quality issues and the demand from the processing marketing.
Probably the most reliable is The Cranberry Network LLC, Wisconsin Rapids, Wis., which markets fruit grown by Tomah, WI-based Habelman Bros. Co., the nation’s largest fresh cranberry grower. It plans on packing and shipping fresh-market cranberries through mid-December.
In Texas, the Winter Garden District located just south of San Antonio is gearing up with cabbage, broccoli and onion shipments. Further south in the Lower Rio Grande Valley, there are grapefruit and orange loads available, as well as a variety of vegetables, not only from the valley, but crossing the border from Mexico.
California has a big clementine crop this season coming out of the San Joaquin Valley. The valley continues to ship a record setting table grape crop, which will be winding down in coming weeks.
In the desert areas of California (Imperial Valley) and Arizona (Yuma), volume is increasing on vegetables. Last winter was very mild and unlike many past winters, picks and loads were not significantly disrupted by weather factors. Odds are this won’t happen in two consecutive years, but we’ll find out in the weeks and months ahead.
Imported Spanish clementines arriving on the East Coast are expected to be 25-30 percent lower than last season.
Importers of Peruvian and Chilean onions expect good movement and good quality with winter approaching. Arrivals are taking place now with onions from Peru, while onions from Chile will start arriving anytime, a 20 percent drop is seen.
Imperial Valley vegetables – grossing about $3800 to Chicago.
Over the past two decades imported fresh fruits and vegetables have increased substantially. Not only does this mean year around availability of many items for consumers, but increased loading opportunities – especially during the off season when these items are not available in the USA. Here’s a look at some produce coming from other countries.
Blueberries from Chile are arriving in the USA and will continue through April. With the arrival of the New Year will be the appearance at USA ports with Chilean table grapes and stone fruit.
There is good movement of Central American cantaloupes, honeydews and Mexican honeydews. Loadings of product from Guatemala should continue into about the second week of January. Many of the Central American imports arrive a Florida ports. Imported cantaloupe are crossing the border into Texas from Mexico. Asparagus is being imported from Mexico and Peru and should increase in volume in December.
Typically in January, volume from Mexico through Nogales, AZ really picks up, led by table grapes, but including a number of other items.
Biggest Change with Imports Coming Soon
The biggest change in decades with imported produce will start occuring a matter of weeks. Historically, south Texas has been a major produce shipping area with its fruits and veggies from the Lower Rio Grande Valley and to a much lesser degree from the Winter Garden District, just south of San Antonio.
However, over the past 20 years a lot has changed in Texas. Today, about 65 percent of the fresh produce moved by Lone Star State shippers is grown in Mexico, with the balance grown in Texas. The state now ranks third in USA produce shipments, having surpassed Arizona. California and Florida rank first and second respectively in fresh produce loads.
While much of the imports from Mexico over the years have crossed the border into the USA from Nogales and Tijuana, a significant amount of this tonnage will be shifting to the McAllen, TX border area. This is due to the 143-mile-long Durango-Mazatlan highway expected to open before the end of the year.
Produce shippers are excited because the new route will mean produce shipments that used to arrive at Nogales and Tijuana and destined from Midwestern and Eastern markets, will no longer have to travel two mountain ranges. It also is expected to reduce freight costs up to a $1,000.
The South American country of Chile provides a substantial portion of loadings of fruit (not to mention for consumer consumption) beginning in the new few weeks and continuing well into the New Year. While some Chilean fruit arrives by air early in the season, the vast majority of it is shipped by boat arriving at ports in Philadelphia; Wilmington, NC and Long Beach, CA.
Over 75 varieties of fruit are imported each year from Chile, but the five top items providing you with loading opportunities are grapes, apples, avocados, blueberries and navel oranges. These account for about 75 percent of the volume. Limited amounts of fruit already are arriving by air, particularly cherries. However, volume will pick up significantly in December, but heaviest volumes with the biggest item – grapes arrving by boat — is typically during January, February, March and April.
Heaviest arrivals at USA ports for grapes is expected to be at the beginning of the season – starting in late December, with a second peak in volume occuring in late March or early April.
The first “blues” will arrive by air in early December, with arrivals by boat at USA ports coming by the middle of the month. Chilean blueberries should be available for hauls into April. However, your best loading opportunities will during the peak volume period of about December 21st to February 22nd.
The first boat with cherries should arrive on the East Coast between December 6-10. There were 3 million boxes of Chilean cherries imported a year ago, although imports are expected to be somewhat lower this time around.
Heaviest volume is with plums, although there are lesser amounts of nectarines and peaches. Plums tend to have less quality problems, followed by nectarines. Chile seems to have a lot of quality problems with peaches, and this is something to keep in mind when hauling this winter fruit. Your chances of claims and rejections may increase.
Chilean kiwifruit and Asian pears will start arriving at USA ports in lat March, with sugar plums coming in late April. These will be followed by persimmons, pomegranates and quinces in spring and summer.
Having opposite seasons from the USA, southern hemisphere countries such as Chile make it possible to have fruit on a year around basis.
During some summers when produce shipments are in peak volume, so much product needs to be moved, and the demand for refrigerated equipment is so great, that already high rates then go through roof. It certainly has not happened this summer, and if anything, produce rates declined leading up to the Fourth of July holiday. The Fourth, being on a Wednesday, is felt by some to lessening the impact on rates.
Rates from major some shipping areas, for example in California, dropped 5 to 10 percent and more from the San Joaquin Valley, Salinas Valley, and Santa Maria.
A number of factors apparently resulted in the lower, although still healthy produce rates. For example, stone fruit shipments out of the San Joaquin Valley are down this year, freeing up some equipment. Other areas are shipping a lot less produce than normal such as Michigan (with fruit) and many Southeastern (watermelons, bluesberries and vegetables) states and in the South (Texas watermelons and melons in loutheastern states).
Still, the heaviest produce volume, on a national basis, usually occurs between May and August – and that still holds true this year.
In California, table grape shipments are winding down in the Coachella Valley, but the big volume is yet to come – from the San Joaquin Valley. Grapes have started from the Arvin (Bakersfield) district….The Salinas Valley remains heavy with vegetables shipments.
Southeastern Arkansas is in peak loadings with tomatoes.
Kentucky and Tennessee are now shipping tomatoes, zucchi, strawberries and peppers. Most shipments are on a regional basis.
Although we usually don’t think too much about ports and imported produce this time of year, various ports around the U.S. are receiving summer citrus. for example, there are arrivals of navel oranges from Peru. There is various types of citrus arriving from South Africa, Argentina, and Uruguay.
San Joaquin Valley fruit and vegetables – grossing about $7,500 to New York City.
South Texas watermelons – $3000 to Chicago.
After the interstate highway system was born in the 1950s under the Eisenhower Administration, it allowed the United States to explode in economic power because of its vast coast-to-coast infrastructure in the ensuing decades.
Although it will be on a much smaller scale, we’re going to see something similar with Mexican produce and other goods coming into the United States.
By the end of 2012, a 143-mile cross-continental highway known as the Autopista Durango-Mazatlan is scheduled for completion. It will reduce travel time from West Mexican growing regions to ports in Texas, including McAllen/Pharr. This will provide easier, faster access of Mexican products to the eastern half of the United States.
Meanwhile, over $200 million is being invested in expanding the Mariposa Land Port of Entry at Nogales, AZ. It has a projected completion in 2014.
Another reason I see increasing produce volume to the U.S. from Mexico is because many of the growing operations south of the border are financially backed and/or owned by U.S. produce growing/shipping operations. Cheaper labor costs also factor into this growth.
This should result in more loading opportunites for American produce haulers in the coming years. The unanswered question a this time, is how much of this produce in the future will be delivered by Mexican trucking operations since restrictions on border crossings, and Mexican truckers operating in the U.S., have been loosened.
Some quality problems with imported grapes from Chile have been reported. It’s not believed to be a major problem, but it IS major, if you are the one delivering those grapes and end up in a claims dispute over quality. The issues on both red and green varieties range from the size of the individual grapes to color and quality. So be extra careful in observing and checking what is being loaded onto your truck. These quality problems are expected to last until the end of the season in April.
By mid April imports of Chilean grapes are expected to drop off quickly.
Chilean grapes from the Port of Long Beach to Chicago – grossing about $3700.
The Port of Philadelphia has long been the major port in the United States for the arrivals of imported produce and other items from around the world. Central American and Chilean imports are among the leaders.
Chilean table grapes and stone fruit are big items this time of the year. Despite economic conditions in the United States the port is reporting total imports at its facilities were up in 2011 over the previous year. Initial Chilean fruit imports apparently are causing optimism that 2012 could be even better.
Much of the fruit being unloaded off of boats arriving at the Port of Philadelphia are stored in local refrigerated warehouses, then delivered by truck to points primarily in the midwest, east and to eastern Canada. However, some arrivals at the Port of Philadelphia eventually are trucked to the West Coast when necessary.