Chilean cherries arrive in China amid expectations of much lower air freight volume
The first Chilean cherries of the season have arrived in the Chinese market, kicking off the 2020-21 season amid expectations for increased volumes this year.
Chinese importer Fruta Cloud said the first fruit arrived in Shanghai via airfreight on Oct. 24.
Fruta Cloud said that weather conditions in Chilean cherry production areas have been good this year. The overall production volume is expected to increase by 15% in comparison year-on-year, up from the 230,000 metric tons (MT) sent last season.
However, poor weather conditions could still affect the harvest, so the final production volume will not be clear until early November. Current estimates expect a production volume of around 300,000MT, of which about 90% is destined for the Chinese market.
The cherry variety that kicks off the cherry harvest in Chile is Earlise, Fruta Cloud said. The Earlise harvest is followed by Brooks, which will start in the coming days. Then the Lapins and Santina come after that.
The Lapins cherry production volume is expected to grow, while the Santina cherry production volume will be more or less the same as last year, but the average fruit size is bigger.
The peak season of Chilean cherry sales in China will likely take place in the first three weeks of January. The Chinese Spring Festival takes place late this year on Feb. 12, meaning the cherry sales season will be stretched out longer than normal.
Fruta Cloud also expects the total volume of air freight cherries to be smaller this season as there are fewer scheduled flights due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and the transport costs are also much higher. The company therefore predicted volumes sent via air freight may only be as little as 5% of last year's volume.
The first cherries to arrive by sea will likely come on board 25 fast ships. The exact volume is not yet decided, but the ships will arrive in Hong Kong every Tuesday and Thursday, it said.