Shipping availability critical to Ecuadorian mango opening in UAE
The Arabic country opened its mango market to Ecuador last week, but the industry will be looking to avoid a repeat of high freight costs like it has experienced with the new China deal.
The head of Ecuador's mango sector body has welcomed the new deal to access the United Arab Emirates market, through a restriction-free arrangement brokered by private entity Pivano and the Ecuadorian Agency of Agri Quality Assurance (AGROCALIDAD).
The only condition will be that shipments need a phytosanitary certificate granted by AGROCALIDAD; a common practice for most export protocols.
"We just finished the mango harvest on Dec. 30 so we haven’t planned our exports there, which will go from October to December," Ecuadorian National Mango Foundation president Sergio Cedeño tells Fresh Fruit Portal.
"We are happy with this new option. Last year we exported to China and this year we’ve received this new market with a lot of optimism, because the UAE has a high consumption of mangoes like China.
"But we have to see the frequency of ships to see if it’s possible to do via seafreight. If not, we’ll have to do it by airfreight like we do with China, because when ships take longer than 30 days the mango can't hold up."
He says only having an airfreight option impedes export potential.
"By airfreight costs are too high, so we send very little," he says, clarifying the cost can range from US$2.50-3 per kilogram (2.2 pounds).
"And the boxes weigh six kilos, so just the freight cost is US$18, so the price has to be extraordinary to be profitable.
"This limits volume a bit because you can only send fruit that has a higher price, as gourmet, to justify the shipment."
The South American country is estimated to have exports of 12 million boxes this season, with the variety profile dominated by Tommy Atkins, Kent, Ataulfo and Keitt.