Wholesale market prices for Chilean cherries are currently riding high in Shanghai as demand rises ahead of Chinese New Year while supplies are constrained by port congestion.
Kurt Huang of Shanghai Huizhan Fruit and Vegetable Wholesale Market said that more than 500 container loads of Chilean cherries have already been shipped to Shanghai, but a lot of vessels had yet to berth due to port congestion.
“This is causing the market price to remain high, but it is going to reduce the selling time before Chinese New Year, which will put big pressure on the market,” said Huang.
Currently, wholesale prices in Shanghai for good-quality Chilean cherries are around RMB400 (US$66) per 5kg carton for jumbo-sized fruit, RMB450 (74.32) per carton for super jumbo and RMB500 (US$82.6) per carton for super extra jumbo, according to Huang.
“The prices are around RMB100 (US$16.50) per carton more than the corresponding time last year,” he said. “But when the big volume arrives, the price for fruit that comes in good condition should fall back to a normal range, otherwise it’s going to be impossible to move the huge volume.
“By normal range, I mean around RMB280-320 per carton for jumbo, RMB350-380 per carton super jumbo and RMB400-450 for super extra jumbo."
Huang added that the first-ever direct charter flights of Chilean cherries to China, which touched down in Shanghai in mid-December, were “very successful”. The two flights, which were launched by China Eastern Airlines, cut the transit time to 26.5 hours whereas it usually takes three to seven days to airfreight fruit from Chile to China with between one and three transfers, according to Huang.
“There was almost no quality loss in transit,” he said. “The timing was also good for the arrivals, as they came in before Christmas and they weren’t many cherries in the market – the price was good.”
After landing cherries directly into Shanghai, China Eastern also provided onward services to ship product to Beijing and Guangzhou under its regular flight schedule, Huang added.
The Chinese New Year Spring Festival will be celebrated from 31 January to 6 February this year. While the festival boosts the volume and pace of sales of a wide range of fresh produce lines, be it domestically-grown or imported, Haung said Chilean cherries, Thai longan and Vietnamese dragon fruit are the top-three selling items.