Australian table grape export volume slashed by container shortage and transport costs
Australian table grape exports were heavily impacted by the ongoing severe container shortage and rising transport costs during the 2020-21 season, and aren't expected to rise by much in the coming season.
"The shortage of shipping container availability and higher transportation costs (largely attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic) contributed to lower exports in 2020-21 (120,500 MT) and are expected to constrain exports in MY 2021-22 (forecast at 130,000 MT)," a USDA Gain report says.
"These volumes are both down significantly from the export record of 152,500 MT in MY 2019/20."
The forecast 9,500 MT increase in exports for 2021-22 from 2020-21 is largely related to the forecast rise in production by a similar volume.
The large fall in exports from 201920 is in small part due to reduced production, but mainly due to the impacts of a shortfall in harvest labor availability which has reduced overall fruit quality as well as reduced the volume of export quality grapes produced in 202021.
This trend is expected to continue in 2021/22 although a modest easing in labor shortfall is anticipated, supporting the forecast eight percent increase in exports.
A further contributing factor to the decrease in exports are the increased challenges and costs associated with sea freight. This is a world-wide issue which is attributed to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Industry reports that the cost of shipping containers has increased around three-fold from pre pandemic levels, and their availability is continuing causing traders significant challenges.