Zespri marks first 2022 shipment
Zespri’s 2022 export program is underway, with the first 1.15 million trays of kiwifruit now on their way to Japan.
The MV Solent Star is the first of a planned 72 ships set to deliver a crop estimated to be over 190 million trays (or 680,000 MT) of fruit to Zespri's global markets, according to a company statement.
Zespri Chief Global Supply Officer Alastair Hulbert said that “demand for Zespri Kiwifruit is incredibly strong across our global markets and this season we’re expecting another large and great-tasting crop of fruit,”
“We’re looking at exporting more than 115 million trays of SunGold kiwifruit and around 70 million trays of Green in 2022, and this season also marks our first commercial volumes of Zespri RubyRed kiwifruit which will be available to consumers in New Zealand, Singapore, Japan and China,” he added.
While global demand for kiwifruit remains strong, the industry is facing a number of headwinds this season given the ongoing impact COVID-19 is having on labor availability.
“The labor shortage will place significant pressure on the industry and it will challenge our ability to get all of the crop picked. Our focus remains on looking after our people and doing everything we can to safely pick, pack and ship as much fruit as possible,” Hulbert added.
Port congestion is another matter that has company officials on alert, the statement said.
In total, Zespri expects to undertake four charter sailings to North Europe, 12 to the Mediterranean, six to the US West Coast and 50 to Zespri’s Asian markets, and to send around 20,000 containers of kiwifruit this season.
“The continued use of charter vessels will be important in our ability to avoid much of the congestion we’re seeing at container ports, and we’re also looking at new options this season such as partnering with T&G Global to co-ship fruit to North America,” Hulbert said.
The first shipment under these conditions is expected for April.
The 2022 season has the potential to be another record-breaking year with more kiwifruit produced than ever before. A forecast of at least 190 million trays will need to be harvested, overtaking last year’s record of over 177 million trays. On average, each tray has around 30 pieces of kiwifruit.
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