In the peak of its season, Chilean growers lack shipping alternatives

Shipments of Chilean table grapes and other fruits do not have sufficient coverage from shipping lines to reach the United States market at the height of its growing season.

According to a statement from the Chilean fruit growers association Fedefruta, a lack of cargo space for fresh fruit in the Valparaiso port is generating the problem.

Fedefruta president Jorge Valenzuela said that growers are asking that “for these two weeks they give us space with cold storage that can operate with greater frequency”. The timeframe is particularly tight since “we are looking at the last shipments before the marketing order takes effect in the United States”.

The scenario is affecting table grapes to the greatest extent, as they are subject to market controls in April, and also when the industry is harvesting at its highest level. 

“We are talking about a very perishable product, and this dictates the timeframe for when it is harvested, packed and transported. We thought that the fruit would have shipping priority in these weeks of the year:, Valenzuela added.

He also called on the port operators, TPS and TPV, to make greater commitments in future seasons to offer conditions that allow the industry to return to the full shipping capacity required to export this crop.

While table grapes have the biggest impact, stone fruit and the last of blueberry shipments from the central growing regions are also impacted. Valenzuela said that the weekly shipping frequency is about half of what it used to be, which “is having an important affect on most table grape growers that depend on these weeks to get their product to the North American market”.

The statement clarified that this issue is independent from delays in arriving to the market, which have also led to problems in meeting commitments with the supply chain to the north. 

He also said that there must be an understanding that fruit must ship in a certain timeframe, despite that the ports are under high pressure to receive imported goods and products which are exported year round.

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