Posts Tagged “Mexico”
Overweight trucks legally transporting produce into the USA from Mexico might be possible, if the state of Texas eases some rules and regulations. The state and some others see a benefit of easing border congestion.
The Texas House of Representatives recently passed legislation to create an “overweight corridor” at the USA -Mexico border, and the Texas Senate is expected to vote on it soon.
The proposed corridor, from the Anzalduas Bridge to the Pharr/Reynosa Bridge, would be an area where Mexican trucks carrying fresh produce would be able to enter the U.S. even if they were overweight. Trucks would then offload their extra weight at a U.S. cold storage facility.
A Mexican truck, under current law, carrying produce that weighs too much, faces a stiff fine if it crosses into the USA.
Currently, trucks are weighed on the Mexican side of the border, and extra product is typically offloaded there if the truck is overweight. This procedure delays truck movement at the border and exposes perishable fruits and vegetables to the elements as it waits for another truck to pick it up.
Trucks that are overweight would be charged a fee, under the proposed law, which is much smaller than the current fine. The big rig would then be allowed to proceed to a cold storage facility in the overweight zone’s boundaries.
Arizona already has a similar law.
Funds from the overweight fees would be used to maintain the roads that will be carrying the heavier loads.
In case you haven’t noticed strawberries in retail supermarket are costing about 30 percent more, or about a dollar more per 16 ounce claimshell package, than only a few weeks ago. After a summer of plentiful supplies, this is the time of year when strawberry production is in a transition from the bountiful fields at Watsonville, CA to areas further south, such as Ventura and Orange counties, as well as in Mexico. It will be the first of the year before supplies increase, and perhaps some break in what you are paying in the stores.
Long gone are days of 99-cent-per-pound apples. Yet, this fruit is one of the better buys in produce departments. Despite a freeze wiping out the vast majority of apples in Michigan last spring, plus cold weather hitting New York apples hard, the nation should have nine percent more apples than a year ago – thanks to a humongous crop in Washington state. Still it depends on the variety, what you will pay. For example, two of my favorites, the Gala and the fuji apples are selling at my store for $1.77 per pound. However, another favorite of mine, the Ambrosia apples, costs about 50 percent more.
Table grapes have been another wonderful eating experience this year. California’s crop has been so sweet and cruncy I sure hate to see the season end. I’m noticing the late season grapes from California are not quit as good as the super tasting product that has been available for month. Grapes also have been one of the best buys in the produce department. The California product will soon be replaced by grapes from Chile. We can only hope Chile has as good a crop.
Other good buys in the produce department continue to be bananas and kiwifruit.
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.
Entering the lightest season volume wise for produce loads, it’s not uncommon for multiple pick ups and drops to fill out the trailer. Pick ups starting in southern California may extend to the California desert, Yuma and perhaps even Nogales. Changes for the better are occuring at the Arizona, Mexico border that should improve produce crossings in the USA and reduce delays for loadings at the many Nogales warehouses.
The Mariposa port was built in the 1970s, designed to handled 400 trucks crossing into Arizona daily. Over the years changes have increased the truck count to around 1600 to 1800 a day. In the past an estimated 25 percent of the trucks crossing the border into Arizona were delayed because of gridlock on the Mariposa Road (State Route 189), which connects the port to I-19. Numerous stop lights on the state route often contribute to the delays.
In 2009 a $220 million expansion of the port was started and is scheduled for completion in 2014. This should increase traffic capabilities to 4,000 to 5,000 trucks a day crossing the border in Nogales.
Meanwhile, there is light volume of watermelon, honeydew, squash, bell peppers, tomatoes and other items crossing the border from Mexico, it will be another month of so before the volume really improves.
Nogales produce is grossing about $3400 to Chicago, about $5800 to New York.
While shipments for California Navels should be heavy, it will probably be short of a record. The record was hit in the 2010-11 season, when the Central Valley alone produced 93 million cartons, and up 6 percent from the 2011-12 loads.
The first shipments took place in early November.
Red potato shipments out of North Dakota and Minnesota are nearly 35 percent head of loadings through October than they were during he same fall period a year ago. Red River Valley fresh potato shipments are expected to be the largest since 2008.
The total USA potato volume is estimated to be at least 12 million hundredweight larger than a year ago.
The North American Potato Market news is reporting that average daily shipments of russets has dropped 0.6 percent compared to last year while daily red shipments increased 18 percent.
Texas citrus season is in full swing, and shipping has begun for grapefruit and oranges. The USDA forecast for the 2012 – 2013 Texas citrus season is 2.8 million cartons of oranges and 10.6 million cartons of grapefruit.
Moderate shipments of watermelons from Mexico will continue crossing the border into Nogales, AZ through the end of the year. Overall Mexican fruit and vegetable crossing at Nogales are seasonally light, but the will change in Janaury as a host of produce items will be increasing in volume.
Strawberries continue to be a favorite of consumers, as well as other berries ranging from raspberries to blueberries and blackberries. The popularity of each continues to increase. The fruit not only is tasty, but healthy.
The agricultural lending company Rabobank sees retail berry sales continuing to incrase by seven percent annually for the next three years.
Rabobank’s Food and Agribusiness Research and Advisory group recently released a report, titled “The U.S. Fresh Berry Boom — Who Will Profit from the Growth?”
No surprising is the report notes California will continue to be the leading producer of fresh berries for strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries. Sharpest gains in recent years have been with strawberries and blueberries.
California produces 88 percent of the country’s fresh strawberries and significant portions of fresh blueberries, raspberries and blackberries. Florida is also a significant producer of fresh berries.
During the fall and winter months strawberry and blueberry importes from Mexico and Chile compete directly with Florida’s season. Chile now accounts for over 50 percent of imported blueberries.
Consumers are now purchasing more berries that been grown south from British Columbia and continuing all the way south along the coast to Chile. This shift will continue following seasonal patterns, but also seeing increased volume in the more southern regions.
Over the past five years, California has shown tremendous growth in strawberry production the past five years. In 2008, the state produced 114 million cartons of strawberries, which grew to 181 million cartons in 2010. In 2011, volume actually slipped to 178 million cartons but this year, but in 2013, the total volume should be in the 190 million carton range.
The majority of those gains come from increased yields. California’s strawberry acreage totalled 36,519 acres in 2008, but was down to 37,732 acres this year.
It is a different story for blueberries. Worldwide statistics show total world acreage of blueberries has grown significantly over the years. It has quadrupled in the past 15 years and now sits near 200,000 acres with most of that being in North and South America. The Americas represent close to 80 percent of the world’s blueberry acreage and production.
Produce loading opportunities from the Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas are expected to increase in coming years as a new highway connecting West Mexico to south Texas opens in the new few months. Now another project is expected to increase produce loads from Mexico to markets in the USA and Canada.
A plan to change how millions of boxes of mangos are treated for the Mexican fruit fly and bacterial contaminants could be a boon Valley’s growing produce industry — and ultimately produce haulers.
The USDA has lifted a procedural barrier allowing construction along the U.S.-Mexico border of facilities that blast mangos and other fresh produce with a highly focused beam of electricity, eliminating pathogens and pests. McAllen, TX becomes the first city in the Southwest with the technology.
The E-beam facility will be built at 23rd Street and Military Highway on land owned by the Abasto Corp., directly across the street from the 42-acre Warehouse Kingdom development. The valley’s E-beam facility should create a competitive advantage for the McAllen metro area as it seeks to gain a larger share of the Mexican produce market. But consumers across the nation could also benefit from a larger array of high-quality fruits and vegetables that last longer on the shelf.
The high-tech procedure is supposed to virtually eliminate the chance of pests and pathogens such as fruit flies crossing the border.
The $22 million facility, which will eventually employ up to 200 people, will use a non-nuclear alternative to gamma-based irradiation to sterilize fruit and vegetables crossing the border in both directions.
To kill microorganisms, produce has traditionally been treated with a gas called ethylene oxide that is being phased out for health and environmental reasons. But a shift to treating produce in hot water baths created its own host of problems, among them a reduced shelf life and lower success in killing contaminants.
ScanTech’s technology eliminates both problems by essentially electrocuting the fruit without generating heat. The irradiation method uses less energy, does not involve dangerous radioactive materials and is supposed to be as safe to operate as a household microwave.
Washington and Pennsylvania apple shippers are filling the gap left by major crop losses in Michigan and New York. However, many Eastern growers who thought they would be shipping through the end of the year, probably will not as they run out of product. As a result, the demand for Washington apple loadings likely will increase sooner rather than later.
Apple volumes from Pennsylavania were up to 20 percent more than expected, given the severe crop shortages in New York and Michigan.
More avocados will be crossing the border from Mexico in the USA in the months ahead for distribution by truck throughout North America.
Mexico, which is the largest supplier of Hass avocados to the USA market, prediciting record loads for the 2012-13 crop and expects to export a record volume of avocados to the USA market during the 2012-13 season.
Mexico, projected exports of Hass to the United States from July 2012 through June 2013 will total more than 918 million pounds, up from around 782 million pounds during the prior year.
The most active shipping period and biggest volumes will occur from between October-through-December (around 291 million pounds) and the January-through-March period (around 269 million pounds).
Blueberry imports from Chile just continue to increase and should be available from various USA ports in coming weeks. The initial berries will be arriving via air shipments through the first half of December. But as volume picks up, most blueberries will arrive at USA port via boats. Biggest volume arrivals should be during January and February.
Lower Rio Grande Valley (Mexican crossings of citrus, fruit, veggies, avocados, etc. – grossing about $2200 to Chicago.
Washington apples – about $6000 to New York City.
This is the time of year when shipments of Florida grapefruit gets underway, as well as the new crop of sweet potatoes from various states coast-to-coast. It also means shipments of avocados will soon be shipping from California to arrivals of ports of entry from Mexico, as well as at various ocean ports receiving avocados from Chile.
Florida Grapefruit Loads
There was a shortage of California fruit and those shipments the first half of September ended about two weeks earlier than usual. Florida citrus shippers are beginning their new season shipping grapefruit right on schedule. Growers in the Indian River region began harvesting the last week of September. Loading opportunities for Florida grapefruit should start volume in early to mid-October.
Plenty of avocado shipments should be available as California supplies wind down and Mexican and Chilean shipments increase.
California loads will be available longer than usual this fall, and big volumes from Mexico will be crossing the border in the coming weeks. By mid-October, California should be mostly finished for the season.
Sweet potato shipments in the USA may be down slightly this season, which extends through next summer.
As we previously reported, Louisiana and Mississippi were onlyslightly affected by Hurricane Isaac in late August….North Carolina and California are the largest shippers of sweet potatoes.
In 2011, there were 133,600 acres of sweet potatoes planted, while this year an estimated 131,400 acres planted.