Dutch ports lose ground in European imports of Chilean fruit

Shutterstock PBUK apples and grapes - edit

Chilean fruit exports to Europe surged 8.7% to 596,891 metric tonnes (MT) in 2016-17, but there were significant shifts in the distribution amongst markets.

The Chilean Fruit Exporters Association's (ASOEX) recently released data shows that despite this upward trend, leading European importer and re-exporter the Netherlands saw a 17% decline in volume arrivals to 186,704MT.

This gave way to sharp rises in Chilean fruit imports in other EU markets such as Germany (+144%; 57,181MT), Spain (+27.8%; 47,933MT), Italy (+12.7%; 39,693MT), France (+51%; 33,219MT) and Belgium (+116.9%; 11,214MT).

England retained its spot as the second-largest European market for Chilean fruit, with a slight 0.9% increase to 107,859MT, making it the fifth-largest market worldwide.

Russia was the third-largest European market receiving 72,912MT representing a 29.2% rise.

Red apples were the leading Chilean fruit commodity in the Chilean market at 146,273MT, followed by table grapes (128,022MT), avocados (95,334MT), pears (71,816MT), kiwifruit (71,206MT) and blueberries (23,158MT).

But the news of higher volumes, as is often the case in the fruit industry, was not entirely positive. 

"Despite the fact that overall shipments were greater than in the previous year, the season was affected by adverse climatic conditions for the fruit industry, such as unexpected frosts and rains which had effects on production and overseas shipments," ASOEX president Ronald Bown said in a release.

"To that can be added that in this campaign practically all fruit types had earlier harvests of between two to three weeks, which meant exports started earlier and because of that they coincided with local production and supply from other countries," he said.

The executive highlighted this dynamic had a negative effect on the behavior of markets, and the situation was particularly complicated in the United States. 

Worldwide, Chile's fruit exports were up 4.3% reaching almost 2.6 million MT.

In terms of export origin, there was also a rather dramatic change in the ports where produce was shipped from in 2016-17.

Leading port Valparaiso increased its volumes by a whopping 40.1% to 1.59 million MT, while San Antonio's volume was down 38.9% at 543,593MT.

Meanwhile, recovery from damages caused by an earthquake and subsequent tsunami led to a 200% uptick in exports from the port of Coquimbo, according to ASOEX.

In addition, the opening of a USDA-approved phytosanitary inspection site in Cabrero spurred a 30.5% uptick in exports from the Port of Coronel south of Concepción, which is close to a major region for the production of blueberries, cherries and apples. 

Photo: www.shutterstock.com

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