The first charter vessel carrying Zespri SunGold kiwifruit from New Zealand is now on its way to Asia following an early start to the season.
The company says the Southampton Star departed from Tauranga Harbour Sunday evening carrying around 3,000 pallets of fruit from the Bay of Plenty, after earlier picking up 1,600 pallets of fruit from Gisborne.
With the crop now bound for Shanghai, China and Kobe, Japan, this marks the start of what promises to be another bumper crop, with the single desk marketer's chief grower and alliances officer David Courtney forecasting export volumes of 600,000 pallets.
“This will mean we’ll have more than 18,000 containers to ship this season," says Courtney.
"We’re also expecting to use 45 charter vessels - three to move our kiwifruit to Northern Europe, twelve to service our Mediterranean markets and thirty to take fruit up to Japan, China and Korea. "
For the first time, Zespri expects to supply more gold kiwifruit than green this campaign.
“Last season we supplied 76 million trays of Green and 65 million trays of SunGold," says Courtney.
"Our latest estimates indicate we are on track to supply more than 75 million trays of SunGold this season, while Green is expected to be below 75 million trays.
“Most of our growing regions have had a very dry summer which means we’re certainly expecting a great tasting fruit this season."
Greater China and Japan remain Zespri’s two most significant markets and are expected to continue to perform strongly as Zespri expands into new areas within these countries.
"Zespri is still seeing strong growth in China and Japan led by increasing consumer demand for SunGold and more broadly, we’re seeing some excellent results in South East and East Asia," says Courtney.
"With the first shipment of Zespri’s SunGold Kiwifruit now safely aboard, we look forward to introducing the goodness of kiwifruit and its health benefits to consumers across the world and continuing to move closer to our goal of increasing our global kiwifruit sales to $4.5 billion by 2025."
Photo: Jamie Troughton/Dscribe Media Services