Chile has warned that delays to shipments caused by ongoing logistical disruption are having a serious impact on the quality and condition of fruit exports.
In comments to La Tribuna, Asoex president Bown said that the loss in quality means fruit is having to be sold at a lower price, putting the profitability of the campaign in jeopardy.
“The current situation is very complicated, we’re seeing delays on all routes and in most ports, although the times are very different in each port,” he stated.
In China, Bown noted that the main port is taking more than 10 days to release containers, which is impacting the quality and condition of the fruit.
“Fresh fruit needs to reach the consumer as soon as possible. Chile, as the main fruit exporter in the Southern Hemisphere, has worked for decades in post-harvest improvements so that our fruits reach the consumer's table in optimal quality,” he said.
“The logistical delays obviously affect the condition of the fruit, but we have worked so that our products can arrive in a good condition.
“Nevertheless there is a limit to how long our products can wait, which is why we are doing all we can to meet the standards and requirements of the market.”
As a member of the Southern Hemisphere Association of Fresh Fruit Exporters (SHAFFE), Chile is part of an international coalition with whom an international coalition created to raise awareness of the impact of logistical delays and rising costs and mitigate their impact.
Héctor Sepúlveda, a cherry grower-exporter in the Biobío region, told La Tribuna that in many cases it is taking 40 or even 50 days for the fruit to reach the market, rather than the usual 30 days. He pointed out that the Russia-Ukraine conflict was exacerbating an already difficult situation and warned that the high cost of sea freight could have a knock-on effect on next season.
“No one is sure when the logistics issue will be resolved, we are hopeful that by next season will be better, but not even the shipping companies can assure you of that,” he commented. “This issue is going to affect us all. For example, right now Chile is in its apple export season in the US, but there is a lack of space on charter ships, so that product will have to be transferred to containers and there are around 1,000 containers missing, making the export business less profitable”.