Posts Tagged “Mexican produce shipments”

Importance of Texas Ports for Mexican Produce Continues to Increase

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A significant share of northbound produce shipments from Mexico is coming through the Laredo port district of Texas, a new USDA report reveals.

Called the “U.S.-Mexico Agricultural Trade Logistics Review,” the report indicated that, excluding avocados, about 38% of Mexico’s fresh fruit and vegetable exports flow through Laredo crossings, 30% through Nogales and 17% through San Diego.

Much like fresh produce southbound from the U.S., Mexico’s exports of fresh fruits and vegetables are shipped almost exclusively by truck, the report said.

In value terms, the U.S. held a 64% market share of all agricultural and related exports to Mexico in 2021. During the same year, 81% of Mexico’s total agricultural exports went to the U.S.

While U.S. exports of fresh produce to Mexico often flow through the Western land ports such as Nogales, Ariz., and San Diego, the report said northbound shipments are more heavily oriented towards eastern commercial crossings in Texas. 

“Some exceptions exist for products whose production zones in Mexico are in closer proximity to the Nogales/San Diego commercial crossings such as table grapes and watermelon,” the report said. “However, existing infrastructure, inspection capacity, and more direct access to the largest U.S. markets dictate more eastbound trade flows.”

In fact, U.S. imports of avocados from Mexico, totaling more than 1 million metric tons in 2021, are largely shipped through the Laredo district in Texas, the report said.

“Fresh tomatoes represent another product that is shipped at volume through the Laredo district throughout the year (especially through the McAllen port of entry),” the report said.  However, the report said there are also seasonal increases through Nogales in the first half of the year with a less-pronounced increase through San Diego mid- to late year. 

The report said a notable feature of Mexican fresh fruit and vegetable trade through the Laredo district is the extent to which certain products flow through certain port of entries.

“For example, a large majority of fresh fruit and vegetables transit through the Reynosa/McAllen port of entry as opposed to the Laredo/Colombia port of entries,” the report said.

Based on the geography of production zones for several fresh products in Mexico, the report said the Nogales port of entry is also a seasonally important conduit particularly of table grapes, watermelon and several vegetable varieties. 

In 2021 and 2022, northbound agricultural trade from Mexico to the U.S. has been characterized by record values due in part to the current high-price environment for food and agricultural products, the report said.

“Strong consumer demand in the U.S. continues to contribute to record volumes of food and agricultural imports,” the report said. 

Another feature of cross-border trade during COVID-19 was an increasing imbalance between north and southbound freight shipped via truck, with far more freight heading northbound than southbound, the report said.

“This imbalance is not new and for several years predating COVID, food and agricultural trade via truck was more heavily northbound-oriented. However, the imbalance sharpened in 2020 and 2021. A north-south imbalance that was traditionally 3-to-1 reached as high as 8-to-1 in late 2020. Also complicating the commercial truck area of the supply chain are driver shortages on both sides of the border.”

The report said the national trucking association in Mexico (CANACAR) estimated that Mexico has a shortage of up to 50,000 truckers.

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Nogales Distributor Sees Fewer Veggie, Melon Loadings from West Mexico this Season

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Seeded Produce LLC, based in Rio Rico, AZ. Seeded distributes a full line of Mexican vegetables and melons and predicts fewer shipments this season.

The company believes lower yields are a result of cold weather, combined with a cut in acreage due to inflation increasing the cost of operations. While production figures are not available the company estimates it is off 20 percent.

There are fewer smaller growers venturing into agriculture because of all the increases due to the costs of inflation. It’s taken a toll on Mexico. At the same time the larger growers are producing less and being more careful in how they diversify. 

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Mexican Produce Hauling Opportunities Being Torpedoed by Hurricane Kay

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Hurricane Kay hit Mexico’s west coast May 8th and mango shipments will be torpedoed, and vegetables also are likely to follow.

Kay’s wind and rain during Mexico’s monsoon season is likely bringing an early end to mango shipments, with more short-term challenges for vegetable exports.

Grow Farms in Donna, TX reports Mexican mango shippers were challenged this summer, and hurdles stand the remainder of their Mexican season.

Mango production is over in Rosario in southern Sinaloa, and the focus has completely shifted to Los Mochis in the north, where rain and overcast skies have stopped production and kept harvest crews out of the fields. The season already had been forecast to end in late September under normal conditions, but many in the region have already shut down for the season.

Those continuing to ship face very low mango yields and will have to watch quality very closely.   

Mango shipments will stay in tight supply for the next three- to five-weeks. Meanwhile U.S. buyers and shippers are expected to fill in with Brazilian fruit.

Mango volume should return to normal once Ecuador starts but this will not happen until mid-October or so.

Concerning vegetable shipments, Hurricane Kay will adversely affect Baja and possibly the Coachella Valley. Cucumber, squash, Roma, and Round tomato shipments will plunge over the next week because of the storm. Kay will certainly affect the Baja vegetable loadings in three or four weeks.

While monsoons are common in Sonora and Sinaloa, sometimes those seasons are dry, proving detrimental to winter crops, especially when water is insufficient to fill irrigation lakes.

In seasons like this one, which are very wet, delays in planting occur for the upcoming season.

Full reservoirs are great news for the season going forward, but recent rain will result in a later and lighter start to the harvest.

Most affected will be early cucumbers, melons, and summer squash in northern Sonora.

Grow Farms is predicting the following for Mexican vegetable shipments 12:

Sinaloa beans should start in early- to mid-November. Volume will be on the market by early December.

Sonora cucumbers are delayed, with harvest pushed back from late September to mid-October. Sonora cuke volume will be in place by early November.

Sinaloa cucumbers will start in early November, with volume by the middle of the month.

Sonora eggplant will have light volume in late October, with, at best, limited production.

To the south, Sinaloa eggplant will be on the market in early November with volume by mid-November.

Sonora green Bell peppers are delayed until mid- to late-November.

Green Bells from Sinaloa will be on the market in the last week of November or in early December. Volume should be on the market by mid-December.

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Keeping It Fresh: Moving South

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By Hunter McDade, ALC Dallas

Shippers and manufacturers are relocating in incredible numbers to Mexico as of late. Economic growth in Mexico has caught the attention of many U.S. manufacturers and shippers. Mexico has steadily improved transportation networks, has a young educated workforce, global commerce, and reduced costs. 

The most glaring advantage is the cost and quality of the workforce. The average base salary for entry-level manufacturing workers in Mexico is approximately $3.50 per hour. Well below the federal U.S minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. Just because the pay is lower, however, does not mean that the quality of work is less. Mexico graduates on average 130,000 engineers and technicians annually. Lower labor rates also mean lower operating expenses, including costs for industrial space.

Proximity is another main benefit of manufacturing in Mexico. Shipping and supply chain management costs are much lower than in other international commerce such as Asia, Europe, and India. Mexico shares 52 access points which an estimated over 70 million automobiles transit yearly. We also have to consider the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). The agreement between the three countries encourages free and fair trade and drivers of economic growth in North America. This agreement offers few obstacles for international business and reduces the cost of moving goods internationally.  

Improvements in transportation networks, available workforce, and reduced costs have contributed to more produce being transported from Mexico to Texas. Each year the number of produce shipments from Mexico increases. 2007 was the first year Mexico shipped more than 100,000 truckloadsof fresh produce through Texas. The latest reported number was for 2020 when approximately 289,354 truckloads of produce crossed the border. It will be interesting to see updated numbers.

The trade agreement and the completion of the Durango-Mazatlan Highway in 2013, connecting the west coast and east coast of Mexico with a contiguous freeway, have been huge factors in these numbers rising. Fresh produce needs to be transported with care and efficiency, building highways such as the Durango-Mazatlan cuts down travel time, which means fresh produce being delivered promptly and freight savings in the transportation industry.


Hunter McDade, transportation broker, graduated from Ouachita Baptist University in 2019. Upon graduation, McDade began his career working in the transportation industry. He has been with ALC for over one year.

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Mas Melons and Grapes Expect Good Volume Shipments in Spring, Summer

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Mas Melons and Grapes of Rio Rico, AZ has spring shipments of honeydew, seedless watermelon, orange candy melons and hard squash. The company also ships a broad variety of table grapes, including early sweets, sweet celebrations, sweet globes, Ivory, perlette, sugraone, flame and some other new late reds.

The fruit and vegetable shipper has over 25 years of experience in the industry and its core items are melons and grapes. This also will be the first time for handling spring hard squash.

Mas has just wrapped up its winter season and is transitioning to northern Mexico for the start of its busy season in early April. This is when the company offers all of its commodities.

The shipper’s seedless watermelon and table grape programs will be in peak volume following ideal growing conditions last winter. It will be loading trucks with both cartons and bins of seedless watermelon and a whole lineup of table grapes through spring and summer. Honeydew and orange candy melons should have supply until early July.

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W. Mexican Vegetables through Nogales Should Have Normal Volume this Season

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A365Mexican produce shipments crossing the border at Nogales, AZ typically has its heaviest volume the first three months of each New Year and this time around looks no different.

West Mexico vegetables, most of which goes through Nogales for distribution around North American, is expected to be mostly normal.

The Fresh Produce Association of the Americans, based in Nogales, reported tropical storms during the growing season may slow the start of the season for some crops, but in total volumes are expected to be on track with previous years.  Most years Nogales grows 1 to 3 percent in total volume.

Chamberlain Distributing Inc. of Nogales point to excessive rains that brought challenges with some crops in Sonora and Sinaloa, with some produce being affected more than others.  Some seasons may even end sooner than usual, especially in Sonora, with items ranging from cucumbers to bell peppers and squash.

MAS Melons & Grapes of Rio Rico, AZ expresses optimism and notes most crops are looking good.  The company is now winding down vegetables harvests from Caborca and Hermosillo.  Harvest is not moving on to Colima, and will continue until about March.   This means continuous shipments of watermelons, honeydews and mini watermelons lasting until mid-July.

Vamdervoet & Associates Inc. of Nogales has been shipping good volumes of honeydew, although Sonora production may end sooner than normal this season.   The company report as many as 100 loads of watermelon a day has been crossing the border at Nogales.

Bernardi & Associates Inc. of Nogales admits quality hasn’t been the greatest on some Mexican vegetables since the season started last fall, but see that improving as the harvest moves along.

 Del Campo Supreme Inc. of Nogales reports its tomato and pepper crops are looking good, despite delays in plantings due to rain.  Still, the company expects to have normal volume this season.  It expects to be shipping Mexican vegetables from mid December into May.

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A Produce Shipping Smorgasbord – Part II

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DSCN7617A week ago you were presented a smorgasbord of produce hauling opportunities from around the county.  Well, here’s Part II ranging from Mexican crossings into the Lower Rio Grand Valley of Texas to Northwest blueberry loadings, Wisconsin potatoes – and more.

South Texas Produce Shipments

Mexican produce shipments crossing the border into Pharr, Tx cover a lot of items ranging from citrus to tropical fruit and vegetables.  However, no one item has real heavy volume at this time.  Among the heaviest volume commodities are: avocados hitting about 675 truck loads per week, but volume is increasing; mangos with about 500 truck loads a week and limes at about 450 trucks load each week.

Around 550 truck loads of vine ripe, as well roma tomatoes are crossing the border weekly.

There’s also many other products coming into South Texas, but in much lighter volume ranging from lemons to papayas, broccoli, carrots and cucumbers.

Mexican produce crossing into South Texas – grossing about $2400 to Chicago.

Wisconsin Potato Shipments

Loadings of the old 2015-16 russet potato crop had in a fast seasonal decline.  Meanwhile, the central part of the state has just started shipping a few of the 2016-17 potato crop, but we’re another month of so away of good volume.

Northwest Blueberry Shipments

Blueberry shipments are increasing from both Oregon and Washington state, as well as from British Columbia.

Washington Apple Shipments

The consistent item in the Northwest is typically apples, especially since Washington easily lead the nation in apple shipments.  Even though it is very late in 2015-16 shipping season, Washington is still average over 650 truckloads each week.

Yakima Valley apples – grossing about $4600 to Dallas.

Watermelon Shipments

A week ago we cover Midwest watermelon hauling opportunities, here are some more.

California’s central San Joaquin Valley is moving around 350 truck loads per week.  On the east coast, North Carolina may be your best bet loading around 230 trucks loads of watermelons a week.

Both eastern Texas and western Oklahoma combing to ship nearly 500 trucks of watermelons per week.



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Mexican Grape Shipments for U.S. Coming Soon

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As many Mexican produce shipments through Nogales, AZ wind down this time of year, an exception are table grapes.  The fruit also will be crossing into South Texas.DSCN4879

Grape shipments from south of the border will get underway the first week of May in light volume.  Decent volume is being forecast for loadings to be delivered to U.S. markets in time for Memorial Day, May 30th.  Last year Mexico shipped 17.2 million cases of grapes.  While volume is expected to be good this year, it will most likely be below the total of a year ago.

The first grapes crossing the border will the green Perlette seedless variety.  However within days, the most popular variety, the red Flames seedless grapes will be available.  Most of the grapes are grown in Mexico’s Sonora state.   Weather factors are being cited for lower volume this season.  Very low volumes of the black seedless and Red Crimson grapes are predicted.  These late season grapes are a primary reason observers are seeing the Mexican grape season ending a little earlier this year than normal – the first of July.

Mexican produce shipments crossing through Nogales – grossing about $3200 to Chicago.




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Mexican Produce Import Volume is Finally Improving

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DSCN7160Imported Mexican produce volume has been much lower than normal due to rain and cold weather throughout the winter, plus a freeze at Christmas delayed plantings and tightened supplies of many items.  However better weather is resulting in higher volume in February.

While Mexican produce shipments in late February were approaching normal, some items remain in much lighter volume.  For example, bell peppers are expected to remain lighter than usual.  Mexican watermelon shipments should remain good until the last half of March when production will be less.   Yellow mangoes loadings have started within the past week, with volume picking up heading into March.

Mexican watermelon imports should hit good volume by mid-April.  A similar situation is expected with honeydews and cantaloupes.  Steady Mexican vegetable shipments are expected to continue with zucchini, yellow, gray, acorn, butternut and spaghetti squash.

There is now good volume with imports through Nogales with tomatoes on the vine, beefsteak, roma, grape, yellow grape and cocktail tomatoes, yellow bell peppers and organic round and roma tomatoes and eggplant.

Imported Mexican produce through Nogales – grossing about $3200 to Chicago.

Imported Mexican produce through Texas’ Lower Rio Grande Valley – grossing about $3900 to New York City.

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Texas Onion Shipments are Starting This Week; Vidalia follows Soon

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DSCN0557+1The first domestic sweet onion shipments in the U.S.  should get underway this week from South Texas, with product from Georgia shortly afterwards.

Texas Onion Shipments

The Lower Rio Grande Valley is just starting to dig sweet onions, with shipments of this product from South Texas to get underway within days.  This is taking place the same week that onions crossing the border from Mexico are expected to end.  Likewise,  storage onions from Idaho, Oregon and Washington are also finishing up.

The Lone Star States is expected to have about 3,500 acres of its well-known spring onions, which are usually shipped for about six weeks from early April to mid-May.  The 3,500 acres represents about a 2,000-acre decrease in plantings from a year ago.

South Texas produce shipments (grapefruit, oranges, cabbage) and Mexican produce shipments (tomatoes,  watermelons, tropical fruit, vegetables) – grossing about $2800 to Chicago; about $4800 New York City.

Vidalia Onion Shipments

Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black has set April 27 as the official shipping start date for Vidalia onions, although growers can ship before April 27 if their onions meet federal inspection requirements and are under “positive lot identification” as approved by the Federal State Inspection Service.  This means Vidalias shipped before 4/27 cannot be sold as Vidalias.

Bland Farms, Glennville, Ga., has challenged the 4/27 start date in court and a judge in Atlanta ruled in favor of Bland Farms.  However, the state has appealed the ruling.

A panel of three judges of the Georgia Appeals Court heard arguments Jan. 14 and have taken the case under advisement.  They did not indicate when they may issue a decision.

Bland Farms, contends Black violated state law by trying to impose a new rule instead of going through the state’s legislature.  The growing/shipping operation has some of the southern most fields in the Vidalia onion growing districts and believes its onions mature earlier, and should be allowed to ship under the Vidalia name prior to 4/27.




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