Blueberries suffered greatest dip in Chilean export losses

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Blueberries suffered greatest dip in Chilean export losses

An estimated 13,000MT were lost in fresh fruit exports as a result of Chile's three-week port strike this January, according to data released this week by iQonsulting.blueberries_square

During a normal season, approximately 37% of Chilean fresh fruit exports or 900,000MT go through the port of San Antonio, indicated iQonsulting's Isabel Urrutia and general manager Cristóbal González.

Between weeks one and four, 2,100MT of fruit were exported from San Antonio, in comparison to 45,800MT during the same period in 2012-13. The change equates to a 95% drop or 41,600MT less.

The analysis indicates, however, that this decline should not be attributed solely to port stoppages. Chile has also felt a notable impact from frosts, which caused dips in many category, particularly blueberries and stonefruit.

Considering weather, the timing of the port strike and Lobesia detection, Chilean blueberries have struggled a particularly rough season. Data from the 2012-13 season indicates that 21% of fresh fruit exports out of San Antonio were blueberries, followed by table grapes (19%), plums (18%), nectarines (15%), pears (10%), avocados (7%) and cherries (7%).

To be more exact, blueberry exports from San Antonio dropped from 9,100MT in the first four weeks of 2013 to 400MT during the same time this year.

Of the 41,600MT in shipments not exported through San Antonio during weeks one to four, 16,000MT were lost due to frosts and Lobesia botrana detections in blueberry growing areas.

"With this in mind, export volume potential through this port is calculated around 25,500MT. From this volume, a significant portion was redirected to ports such as Valparaiso and Los Andes, as well as air freight through Arturo Merino Benitez International Airport," the document from iQonsulting said.

Around 12,000MT of fresh fruit were exported through alternative routes, diminishing the overall effect of the stoppages.

An estimated US$20 million FOB in losses were calculated by iQonsulting.


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