Posts Tagged “Lower Rio Grande Valley”

Mexican Exports to U.S. Face Big Increase

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DSCN6956Mexican fresh fruit and vegetable exports to the U.S. could increase by 32 percent over the next seven years.

South Texas is expected to grow at an even faster rate with the Mexican produce exports, according to a study by economists at Texas A&M University’s Center for North American Studies.

As many as 569,650 truckloads of Mexican fresh produce could be exported to the U.S. by 2023.   Of that amount, Texas could claim 298,542 of those truckloads, a 41 percent increase.

During the past seven years, and imports at the Mexico – Texas border are up 41 percent, making the projected 32 percent growth rate in the next seven years quite possible.

There is a rapid growth in Mexican exports through Texas, with a lot of cold storage facilities going up near the Pharr/Hidalgo Bridge.  Millions of dollars have been spent in the last few years on new cold storage facilities and most are operating a full capacity.

In fact, some observers believe the 32 percent estimated increase for Texas may be low because of the high cost of labor in the U.S. plus the costly and increasing rules and regulations not fouind in Mexico.

The A&M study also found that the growth in Mexican produce exports to the U.S. could produce 7,700 jobs in Texas and contribute $815 million to the state’s economy.

The Texas International Produce Association changed to its current name several years ago to reflect the importance of imports to Texas-based produce companies.  The result has certainly been a positive economic impact in the Lower Rio Grand Valley of Texas.  A number of South Texas growers are some of the largest importers of Mexican grown produce.

This allows many Texas produce shippers keep their operations running the year around with greater volume than relying exclusively on Texas-grown fruits and vegetables.

Texas is expected to account for 52.4 percent  of all U.S. produce imports from Mexico by 2023.  In 2015, 48.6 percent of all imports came through the Lone Star State.

Mexican produce through South Texas – grossing about $1900 to Atlanta; $2000 to Chicago.



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Avocados Shipments Continue to Set Records

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009The projected total U.S. avocado shipments are expected to set a record 1.7 billion pounds from July 1, 2015, through June 30, 2016.  This includes shipments of imported avocados from Mexico.

Through September, about 1.6 billion pounds of avocados had shipped in the U.S. year-to-date, and 1.2 billion pounds of that came from Mexico.  The reason so much more product comes from Mexico is it is the only country, primarily due to climate, that has the ability to ship the fruit year around.

The total from all sources compares to 1.2 billion pounds through September 2014, 14 percent less than this year

The jump for Mexican product is even greater.  The 900 million pounds shipped through last September was 38 percent lower than this year’s total.
October, November and December tend to be slower months for avocado shipments, but by the end of 2015, a projected 2.1 billion pounds will have shipped in the U.S.  An estimated 1.7 billion pounds of that will be Mexican fruit, up from 1.3 billion bounds in all of 2014,
The contrast to only eight years ago is pretty amazing.  The Mexican avocado industry has grown in less than a decade (2007), from 479 million pounds exported to the U.S.  That’s barely more than the amount by which exports increased from 2014-15.  Increasing volume isn’t expected to plateau anytime soon.
Mexican exports to the U.S. are increasing so rapidly, there’s less room for fruit from countries like Chile.  Chile is following a similar path set by California, where domestic demand is so strong, so there’s little incentive to export.
Mexican avocado and other imported produce entering the Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas – grossing about $2400 to Chicago, $4000 to New York City.

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West Coast, Texas and New York Produce Loads

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As expected, there will be a  record number of cherries shipped from Washington state this season by produce haulers.

Washington state had shipped 18.7 million boxes of cherries as of August 22nd.  If you include the Northwest, in other words, mostly Oregon,  as of Aug. 22, 22.8 million boxes of cherries had been shipped, which also is a record.  By the end of August most of the fruit will have been packed and shipped, and  total volume will likely top a record 23 million boxes.

California table grape shipments are ahead of schedule this season due to the warmer-than-normal weather.  The primary concern is if the San Joaquin Valley heat eventually starts taking a toll of the vineyards, which could lead to quality problems, something we’ll watch out for as it could impact claims or rejected loads for produce truckers.

It appears this year will be the first time California  hits 100 million or more boxes of grapes.

In the Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas, watermelon shipments continue.  Quality appears good enough that you should be able to avoid unfair claims or rejected loads – depending of course, upon whom you are delivering to.  There also are steady shipments of Mexican citrus, tropical fruit and vegetables crossing the border into South Texas.

In the Hudson Valley of New York, various vegetables such as sweet corn are being loaded in light to moderate volume.  The new apple harvest has just started and volume is very light, but increasing.

South Texas produce loads – grossing about $220o to Atlanta.

San Joaquin Valley grapes – grossing about $4300 to Chicago.

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Texas Spring Produce Shipments

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Texas is among the top one-half dozen states when it comes to fresh produce shipments.  Although it has lost acreage and production over the years as more growing operations were shifted to Mexico, the Lone Star State still remains an important piece in the nation’s food supply chain.  Although the production/acrerage may not necessarily increase in coming years, the amount of produce coming in from Mexico should increase significantly starting in 2013 with the completion of a Mexican highway connecting production areas in Western Mexico with the Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas.

Onion shipments have started from South Texas, which is the state’s leading vegetable item in volume, coming off of 20,000 acres.  Other leading veggies from the state is cabbage, carrots and spinach, although there’s dozens of other veggies.

However, there were heavy rains and hail in Hidalgo County on March 29th, and we’re still waiting on damage assessments to see how much truck loadings will be affected.  This includes another big item from Texas, watermelons.  The good news is hail storms are usually localized, meaning some fields may have been hit, while others may escape damage altogether.

By the end of this year, 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.  This won’t mean the closing  or reduced importance of  the major Mexican crossing at Nogales, AZ.  It could mean more loading opportunities for U.S. truckers for Mexican produce crossing the border into the Lower Rio Grande Valley.

Texas vegetables grossing – about $2500 to Atlanta.

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Central U.S. Produce Shipments

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Supplies of refrigerated equipment are tightening for hauling Lower Rio Grande Valley produce, as well as Mexico fresh products crossing the border into Texas.  This has resulted in some relatively small rate increases.  Everything from grapefruit, oranges, greens, and cabbage, among other items are being hauled out of South Texas to various U.S. destinations.

There continues to be steady movement of Colorado potatoes out of the San Luis Valley…..The same goes for Michigan apples from the Western part of the state.

In the Red River Valley of North Dakota and Minnesota shipments of red potatoes have recently increased by about 15 percent.  Most of this season, loadings have been below those of a year ago.  However, increased demand should keep shipments above 2011 levels through the spring and into the summer.  No significant rate increases have been reported.

Grand Forks, ND red potatoes shipments – grossing about $3900 to Philadelphia.

Colorado russet potatoes – about $1600 to Dallas.

Michigan apples – $2000 to Houston.

South Texas produce – $3000 to Chicago.

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Texas Grapefruit

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Texas grapefruit each winter is typically one of my favorites for eating.  First, I can usually count on the taste and quality to be good.  Second, since I live in the Midwest, freight rates from the Lower Rio Grande Valley are lower than to much farther destinations, thus retail prices are more reasonable.  So far, my store has been carrying grapefruit that is relatively small in size, but the quality and taste has been there.  One caution.  I’ve been buying it in the three-pound bags which normally contain about 7 pieces of the citrus.   However, upon close examination of the grapefruit in the bags, some bags contain one piece of fruit with a dark discoration indicating it is breaking down….Grapefruit will store longer if you refrigerate it, but I prefer keeping and eating it at room temperature for the full flavor.

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