Shipping delays intensify Europe's oversupply of Peruvian and SA avocados
The two countries compete because their seasons coincide, however the problem has been exacerabated by shipping delays resulting in a glut of arrivals for the last two weeks, which is expected to continue for the next fortnight.
Commercial Fruit owner Gabriel Burunat, said delays of up to two weeks at Peru's port of Callao late last month had meant large volumes of Peruvian avocados were arriving now.
"Since last week we have had some problems with some claims due mainly to maturity. Some weeks ago in Callao port they delayed sending containers because of a lack of space and shipments were delayed by one to two weeks, and this fruit has just arrived now."
"We had problems selling it, it's not just maturity but volumes. Two weeks ago we didn't have too much but since last week and this week we have received a lot of fruit at the same time."
A South African shipment of 50 metric tons (MT) sailing from Cape Town to Rotterdam arrived five to six days late on Friday, Aug. 3, while road transport to Europe's largest wholesale market Rungis in France was held up due to holiday traffic, meaning the avocados eventually arrived on Monday, Aug. 6.
South African Avocado Growers Association (SAAGA) technical officer Richard Nelson, described fruit condition as "reasonable" considering suppliers had held back exports due to too many avocados entering the market at the start of the season.
"Prices are falling rapidly, this is because of an oversupply situation. There's a lot of pressure from elsewhere, particularly from Peru. The ship arriving late has affected us. It depends on how well the market absorbs the supply situation we have at present.
"It's a slightly more difficult period in terms of marketing because so many Europeans are away, you can't use the same tools. We have to put the fruit where the people are so not so much is going via the supermarkets with more fruit going through restaurants."
Prices dropped last week by €0.50 to between €6-7 per 4 kg box on the wholesale market.
Groupe AZ France chief executive officer Pons Philippe, said while the condition of fruit from both Peru and South Africa was good, volumes were a worry.
"The only concern is that the total inventory is a little bit oversupplied for the current demand in the market. This situation will affect the level of price."
However, he said he expected that after week 34 Peruvian volumes would decrease giving way to a more stable market from week 35 to the end of the season.
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