Posts Tagged “Mexican produce”

Imports of Vegetables from West Mexico are Gearing Up

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Importers and distribution companies of winter Mexican produce are expecting normal volumes through Nogales, AZ, which is the heaviest the first quarter of the New Year.

West Mexican growers have a wide range of winter produce. Borders crossings into Nogales, AZ started in November, despite some planting delays.

IPR Fresh of Rio Rico, AZ sees an increase in squash this season. The firm’s soft squash started shipping in mid-October, and hard squash kicked off in early December and both should be available until mid-May.

The company also is shipping slicer cucumbers through mid-May, and European cucumbers into mid-April.

Tricar Sales Inc. of Nogales expects similar volume to last year on cucumbers, European cucumbers, eggplant, roma tomatoes, round tomatoes and Italian, yellow and gray squash.

Lisa Inc. of Nogales started with pickling cucumbers in October and jalapeño in late November. However, jalapeños loadings will be light indefinitely due to unfavorable growing conditions in southern Mexico.

Crown Jewels Produce of Nogales sees steady shipments of gray, yellow and green squash and eggplant until June. The company got underway with slicer cucumbers in September and should continue from three growing areas until July.

Vandervoet & Associates Inc. of Rio Rico was shipping watermelons and honeydews from Sonora until December and will move product from southern Mexico between mid-January and March.

Calixtro Distributing Co. Inc. of Nogales have a full line of winter vegetables from West Mexico through April.

Calixtro Distributing Co. Inc. in Nogales will offer a full line of winter produce from West Mexico, said salesman Frank Calixtro.

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Church Brothers to Open Mexico Facility; Earth Blend Opens in Nogales

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A5A processing/packing facility is opening by Church Brothers Farms and its processing company, True Leaf Farms.  It is located  just across the U.S. border in Mexico to increase year-round supplies.

The plant, in San Luis Rio Colo., south of Yuma, Ariz., will be growing whole leaf lettuce, broccoli florets, iceless broccoli and green onions with an opening anticipated by the end of the year.

The plant, at almost 111,000 square feet, will handle vegetables grown in Mexico and the U.S.

“The new facility will allow us to produce during the summer months, where in the past we were limited to only green onions and other seasonal items,” the company said in a news release. “Now we will be sourcing from Mexico year-round to meet our U.S. customers’ growing needs.”

The facility, known as CB Mexico, will be Custom Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (CTPAT) certified, allowing trucks to enter the U.S. faster. CB Mexico is 29 miles south of Church Brothers’ two Yuma facilities.

Other U.S. companies with facilities in the area include Kenworth, Gulfstream and Honeywell.

Earth Blend

Agrocir, a Hermosillo, Sonora, has created a Nogales sales and distribution company.  The vegetable grower has been in business since the mid-1960s.  The new firm is EarthBlend LLC, which expects to handle almost 4 million cases of Mexican produce this season.

EarthBlend started shipping a variety of vegetables in the October to December timeframe, running into May. These vegetables include a wide variety of hard and soft squash, green Bells, elongated red Bells, tomatillos and a handful of hot pepper varieties.

In the fall and spring seasons, EarthBlend plans to ship seedless and mini-watermelons, honeydew and cantaloupe.

The majority of EarthBlend’s production will be coming from Agrocir’s Hermosillo and Guaymas, Sonora farms. Independent growers are located throughout Sonora and Sinaloa.

Agrocir’s cucumbers and Bell peppers will be produced in shade houses. The squash varieties and melons are produced in open fields.

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U.S. Potato Shipments are Similar to a Year Ago; A Look at Mexican Product Crossing into South Texas

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A1U.S. potato shipments are remaining fairly steady week to week with total shipments quite similar to a year ago….Meanwhile, here is a look at Mexican produce items crossing the border in the Lower Rio Grande Valley.

Roughly the same amount of U.S. potatoes remain in storages to be shipped from the major potato states that existed at this same time in 2017 as of February 1st.

Storages held 202.55 million cwt. (per hundredweight) at the beginning of February, compared to storages holding 203.10 million cwt. a year earlier.   Potatoes remaining to be shipped accounted for 51 percent of the volume by fall storage states, only one percent more than 2017. Potato disappearance is down three percent to 197 million cwt., and season-to-date shrink (loss of product due to quality) has also fallen, down five percent from 2017 to 15.4 million cwt.

The 13 key fall crop producing states listed in the USDA report account for 91 percent of all potato volume.

The leading potato shipping areas last week shipped about the following number of truck load equivalents:  Idaho, 1750; Colorado, 625; Columbia Basin (Washington) and Umatilla Basin (Oregon), 340; Wisconsin, 285; Red River Valley of North Dakota and Minnesota, 250; and Nebraska, 185.

San Luis Valley of Colorado potatoes – grossing about $2400 to Chicago.

Stevens Point, WI potatoes  – grossing about $3200 to Atlanta.

Rio Grande Valley

Mexican vegetable shipments and tropical fruits are crossing the border at Pharr, in South Texas, on a fairly steady basis from week to week, although volume is not exceptionally heavy on most items.  The biggest tonnage is coming from tomatoes and avocadoes.  Both commodities are averaging about 1,000 truck loads per week.  Tomatoes consist primarily of vine ripes, followed by plum or romas.  However, keep in mind the Mexican avocado loadings will soon start declining as the season comes to an end before returning in a few months.

Mexican strawberries are amounting nearly 450 truck loads weekly, with limes have similar, but increasing volume.  Otherwise, there are watermelons and cucumbers, with a host of other items with much smaller volume.

In the Lower Rio Grande Valley, Texas grapefruit amounts to around 250 truck load weekly, with much smaller volume found with oranges.

South Texas and Mexican produce – grossing about $5700 to New York City.

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Nogales Crossing Delays; Bananas are now Arriving at Wilmington

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DSCN9002Delays in Mexican produce crossing the border, which also means in delays for produce haulers picking up product at distribution centers, is occurring at Nogales, AZ…..Also, bananas are now arriving for the first time by boat at Wilmington, NC.

Nogales is a leading port of entry for Mexican fresh vegetables, amounting to $2 billion in 2016, is having delays due in large part from a shortage of officers.

A shortage of as many ad 300 officers is reported a US. Customs and Broker Protection (CBP). The results are long lines delaying produce border crossings.

Citing security reasons the CBP doesn’t reveal exactly how many officers are currently working at the gateway.  However, they acknowledge the port is rotating staff by bring in officers from other ports around the U.S. to Nogales for 90-day work assignments.  As many as 175 officers have relocated to the Nogales for temporary duty, reports the National Treasury Employees Union.

In 2016 alone, $8.3 billion worth of U.S. exports when from Arizona into Mexico.  Also in 2016, $7.4 billion in Mexican goods were imported into Arizona.

Not only is commerce adversely affected by the delays at Nogales, but travelers looking to cross the border are looking at lengthy delays.

Anthony Reardon, president of the Nogales, National Treasury Employees notes CBP’s protracted and complicated hiring process, strict polygraph testing, and extensive training times are all at play when he recently testified before congress.  This has resulted in 3700 vacant positions for the agency, simply due to the 12 to 18 month hiring process.

Banana Imports at Wilmington

Bananas imported from Central America recently began arriving at the Port of Wilmington (NC).    The inital arrival marks the beginning of a 12-month commitment to bring weekly deliveries of bananas for distribution by truck to distribution centers across North Carolina and South Carolina.

Wilmington is the first South Atlantic port to implement both phases of the Department of Agriculture’s Southeast In-Transit Cold Treatment Pilot program, which allows for more direct imports of produce.

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Shipping Updates: Imported Mexican Produce Crossings in Arizona, Texas

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AAADozens of different types of produce items, led by vegetables, represent crossings at the Mexican border into Nogales, AZ, as well as into the Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas.  While produce haulers are feasting on higher freight rates, produce shippers are hoping freight costs will subside soon.

Last week rates on Mexican produce coming through Nogales were higher for some destinations with driver and equipment shortages reported.  For example rates from Nogales to Los Angeles were generally ranging from$1,800 to $2,000 per load, a 6 percent increase from a week earlier, but 50 percent higher than the $1,200 rate at the same time during the past two years.

A few rates exceeded $10,000 from Nogales to New York City last week, but recently have dropped as much as 15 percent.

Tomatoes  (all types) are providing the heaviest volume at around 1,150 truck loads a weeks.  About 900 truck loads of cucumbers are crossing the border each week with squash and bell peppers also having good volume.

Shipments Through South Texas

In the Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas some shippers can’t remember such serious truck shortages for this time of the year.  One citrus shipper needed 20 trucks to cover his loads a couple of weeks ago. For a six-week period ending with the first week of January, rates for citrus from the valley to L.A. have soared from $2700 to $5500.  Overall, South Texas produce rates are generally up about 20 percent from a year ago.

Produce rates from South Texas to Chicago have been ranging from $4000 to $5000, with the average being around $4500, still quite a strong rate.  Produce haulers were grossing around $8800 to New York City.

Mexican tomatoes are providing the heaviest volume with about 1000 truck loads a week, with avocados about one-half this volume.  Other leading items range from limes to various types of tomatoes and broccoli.

South Texas grapefruit and oranges are averaging about 350 truck loads each week.


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Mexican Vegetable Shipments Crossing at Nogales Get an Early Start

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DSCN0442An early start for West Mexican vegetables crossing the border at Nogales, AZ is a result of warm weather and good growing conditions.  It is resulting in earlier-than-normal good supplies of winter produce items.

Good volume has started this week with vegetables ranging from green bell peppers to squash.  Mexico’s biggest volume produce item, tomatoes, should start crossing the border at Nogales no later than the third week of December.

Of particular interest to many produce haulers should be the fact that there may be more loadings of Mexican vegetables at Nogales destined for the East Coast this season since weather factors in the East have delayed plantings.

Loading delays in Nogales has been an issue for years, but observers say the situation is improving at the Nogales-Mariposa Port of Entry, although more customs agents are still needed.  A load of produce crossing the Mexican border into Arizona used to take six to eight hours, but this has reportedly been cut to two hours or less.

Here are examples of what some shippers of Mexican produce are doing.

Calavo Growers Inc. has shade house-grown tomatoes through mid-May and the Santa Paula, CA based company expects to increase its volume by 10 to 15 percent this season from Mexico.

Del Campo Supreme Inc. in Nogales, Ariz., will start shipping a full line of tomatoes, ranging from vine-ripes, beefsteak, tomatoes-on-the-vine and grape tomatoes, starting in mid-December.  The tomatoes are grown in both shade house and green house facilities.

During the 2016-17 season, Mexican growers exported approximately 1.2 billion pounds of round, roma, cherry and grape tomatoes to the U.S.

Some of the shippers for Mexican vegetables through Nogales are:

Big Chuy Distributing Co. Inc, Nogales, plus Ciruli Bros. LLC, Grower Alliance LLC, IPR Fresh,  and Thomas Produce Sales Inc.  all located in Rio Rico, AZ.

Here are some of the Mexican vegetables and when they will be shipped.

** Eggplant, and squash started in early November

**Beans will be in peak volume all of December

** Roma and beefsteak tomatoes start in mid December

** Hothouse-grown red, yellow and orange bell peppers and shade house-grown green bells are being shipped September through May

**Green bell peppers are shipped from mid November though April

Mexican veggies crossing at Nogales – grossing about $3600 to Chicago; $6500 to New York City.

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More Mexican Imports by Boat to Philly are Seen

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IMG_6499+1Increased loading opportunities for imported produce at Philadelphia are becoming available with a new SeaLand refrigerated sea trade route now operational between the east coast of Mexico and Philadelphia.

Produce haulers should benefit as more fresh produce companies in the Northeast become direct distributors of fresh Mexican fruits and vegetables.  The new trade route has been in the works for the past two years spearheaded by Ship Philly First and related Philadelphia trade groups.  The first avocados and limes arrived on a SeaLand ship February 4th from Mexico.   Ramped up operators are now occurring.

When SeaLand formally announced the service on December. 17th, it indicated the SeaLand Atlantico refrigerated containership route would debark on Tuesdays from the Port of Veracruz.  It will then take two days to arrive in Port Altamira, a Mexican port to the north of Veracruz.  The ship will leave on Thursdays — the same day as arrival — and then arrive at Philadelphia’s Packer Avenue Marine Terminal on the following Wednesday.

The six-day transit time from Mexico to Philadelphia means trucks will be delivering Mexican produce up to 40 percent of the U.S. population within a day’s drive.

SeaLand has indicated that 100 containers shipped aboard SeaLand Atlantico would save 31,487 gallons of fuel versus what trucks would burn on the same delivery. 600 containers will save 188,821 gallons of fuel.

Mangos are a very important commodity for this service.  Truck transportation will continue to be the primary way Mexican produce is hauled with product grown within a certain distance of Nogales, San Diego or South Texas.  However, Mexican growers to the south and east can gain a great deal by looking toward the ocean link.  Still, trucks will be required, once the boats arrive at port, and boats certainly can’t handle nearly all of the Mexican volume, not matter where it originates.


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Imports Through Nogales Top 147,000 Truck Loads

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025Nogales, Ariz. – For the 2014-15 shipping season, a produce association in Nogales has reported a total volume of 5.9 billion pounds of fresh produce crossed the border from Mexico.  That is the equivalent of 147,500 truck loads weighing 40,000 pounds each.

Ten commodities made up 5.28 billion pounds of that total, with tomatoes and watermelon leading the way through Nogales in 2014-15.  About 1.12 billion pounds of tomatoes came through Nogales last season, up from 1.19 billion pounds in 2013-14.  Watermelon imports jumped from 1.03 billion to 1.11 billion pounds.

The next eight commodities, by volume, in 2014-15 were cucumbers, squash, bell peppers, grapes, mangoes, chili peppers, melons and eggplant.

Tomatoes, squash and eggplant were the only top ten commodities to see volume declines from 2013-14 to 2014-15.

More than 50 Mexican-grown fruits and vegetables are imported through Nogales.

By volume, tomatoes remain the number one produce item imported through Nogales, but watermelon imports have risen dramatically in recent years, and in the past season watermelon imports almost caught up to tomatoes, according to The Nogales Produce Import Report 2014-15.

The report offers an analysis and comparison of three seasons of fresh produce’s imports through Nogales in volume as well as value as reported to U.S. Customs.

“It is a tool we have developed to help our members understand the overall picture of fresh produce imports and see what their participation in the industry may be. It also may help them understand the tendencies and detect opportunities to explore,” said Lance Jungmeyer, president of Fresh Produce Association of the Americas in a press release.

FPAA created the report, which also includes data from 2012-13, to help its members understand the overall picture of fresh produce imports, Jungmeyer said in the release.

Mexican produce crossing at Nogales – grossing about $3400 to Chicago.


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Truck Shortages Has Nogales Looking to Rails

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DSCN4334Importers of Mexican produce at Nogales are frustrated over the lack of adequate truck supplies, high freight rates and are looking to the railroads to solve some of their problems, according to a recent news story in The Packer, a weekly newspaper for the fresh produce industry.

Struggling to acquire enough refrigerated trucks, complaints were common as the holiday season approached in late 2014.  One importer described it as the worst holiday season they ever experienced getting enough trucks.  However, some say the equipment shortages extend well beyond the holidays.  As a result importers are taking a look at rail service.

Rail is conducive to a number of Mexican vegetables crossing the border at Nogales ranging from had shell squash, cucumbers and other hard grown Mexican items.

The Union Pacific Railroad is  currently upgrading 20 miles of rail near the U.S.-Mexican border to make it easier for inspectors to check loads.  There also is development of a rail switching yard in Tucson, which would help rail service.

If rail service is fast enough, items such as bell peppers also would be considered.  One shipper complained of paying up to $6 per box in some cases to ship product from Nogales to the East Coast this past vegetable season.

Nogales is pretty dead this time of the year with the exception of the Mexican grape season which has just got underway.




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FPAA Reveals Mexican Produce Crossings Through Nogales, AZ Far Outpacing Those In South Texas

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By Fresh Produce Association of the Americas

Nogales, AZ — With the heart of the 2013-14 Mexican produce season coming to a close, the numbers are in, and they show that Nogales is widening its lead over South Texas.

For the season beginning in September of 2013, and through April of 2014, about 37% of the Mexican fresh fruits and vegetables that were consumed in North America crossed through Nogales. This compares to about 28% of total volume for the crossing region in South Texas, comprised of Pharr and Progresso, Texas.

The 2013 crossing report information, gathered from the USDA website, reflects that Nogales enjoyed a dramatic 17% increase over the prior season versus other ports that have remained flat or realized much smaller increases.  This is due to several factors, including improvements at the new Mariposa Port of Entry in Nogales, which are decreasing the amount of time a truck waits in line at the border.

For instance, the revamped Mariposa Port of Entry has doubled the number of commercial crossing lanes. To add to the processing efficiency, as part of the 2014 Omnibus Spending Bill, Nogales will be receiving 120 additional Customs Officers to facilitate trade at the expanded port.  The Arizona Department of Transportation has also made significant improvements on the road leading into the U.S. from the port, including widening and adding additional lanes for vehicles to access I-19. 

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