NZ: Zespri's first kiwifruit reefer vessel sets sail for China instead of Japan

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NZ: Zespri's first kiwifruit reefer vessel sets sail for China instead of Japan

The 2017 New Zealand kiwifruit season is underway with the first ship having set sail this week to the Chinese city of Shanghai with 840,000 trays of the Zespri SunGold variety. 

Photo by Jamie Troughton/Dscribe Media Services

The marketer's COO Simon Limmer said the industry was set for "another strong season."

He said there would be continued growth in SunGold volumes as more vines reached full maturity, but green volumes would be down on last year’s record crop due to weather conditions during the 2016 growing season.

"We’re looking at the second-largest crop in our history and fruit is sizing well on the vines heading into harvest, with good taste levels," he said.

"The NZ kiwifruit industry is coming together to deliver another great season for our customers – the anniversary of 20 years of delivering premium fruit in a Zespri box around the world.

“Over the long-term, our strong volume growth both here in NZ and offshore will continue as SunGold volumes increase to meet consumer demand around the world."

Zespri president of global sales & marketing Dan Mathieson said teams around the world were primed to kick off marketing programs in the 59 countries.

“We plan to increase our total marketing investment again this season to reach out and build stronger connections and relationships with our customers and consumers," he said.

"This is particularly important as we continue to expand our presence into developing markets, introducing more consumers to the great taste and superior quality of our fruit.

"This investment is also vital to achieving the industry’s goal of increasing overall kiwifruit consumption around the world from just a fraction of a percent of the total fruit bowl."

The first of the 46 reefer vessels from New Zealand left for China this year in a break from tradition - the first ship for many years has been to Japan.

“This marks the increasing importance of the China market for the industry, with China and Japan now our two largest markets in the world,” Mathieson said.

A Zespri spokesperson told Fresh Fruit Portal that last year sales in Japan exceeded those in China by a small margin, but said that for this season the two markets looked like they would be neck-and-neck for sales volume.

In another first for the industry, almost all the Northern Europe charters will be replaced with Seatrade’s new Colour Class ships this season, specialized reefer container vessels which provide more flexibility and improved performance.

In addition to the reefer vessels, around 14,000 FEU (forty-foot equivalent unit) containers are planned to be shipped for the 2017 season.


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