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Spain: Ministry of Agriculture looks into maritime access to new markets

The Spanish Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food has led a logistics study to analyze the viability of maritime transport to access new export markets for the country's fruit. The focus has been on the transit times between Spain and the markets considered of most interest, especially Brazil, Canada, the United Arab Emirates or the United States.

The "Logistic study prior to the certified export of fruits from Spain" aims to develop a map with transit times (in days) to countries that are considered priority destinations. To this end, four statistical filters have been applied, making it possible to determine the countries that have to be prioritized for the export of fruits. As a result, 42 countries have been listed as priority destinations.

For FEPEX, the transit time is crucial for the planning of the logistics strategy and to gain access to distant markets, since fruits are highly perishable products, but it also applies to vegetables. Destinations such as China entail a minimum transit time of four-weeks to reach cities such as Shanghai, Yantian or Hong Kong, five weeks to Quingdao and six weeks to other cities, such as Xiamen. In 2018, up until September, a total of 25,211 tons of fruits and vegetables were exported from Spain to China, all by sea.

In the case of Japan, the transit time by sea is six weeks. A total of 1,278 tons of fruits and vegetables were exported to Japan up until September 2018, 1,176 tons by sea and 101 tons by air.

Other destinations such as Saudi Arabia, Brazil, Canada or the East Coast of the United States require a shorter transit time, specifically two weeks of maritime transport. The Spanish exports of fruit and vegetables up until September 2018 to Saudi Arabia totaled 33,353 tons, 33,055 of which went by ship. Brazil received 48,346 tons, 48,328 of which arrived by ship and 18 tons by airplane. Canada imported 42,308 tons, with 41,090 tons arriving by sea, while the United States bought 13,232 tons of fruit and vegetables, 10,905 of which were transported by ship, according to data from the Department of Customs and Special Taxes of the Spanish Tax Agency, processed by FEPEX.

The study, led by the Subdirectorate General of Health Agreements and Border Control of the Ministry of Agriculture, also analyzes how the international shipping industry works, highlighting its organization around three major alliances worldwide: Ocean Alliance (CMA, CGM, COSCO, OOC, Evergreen); THE Alliance (ONE, Hapag-Lloyd and Yang Ming) and 2M (Maersk Line and MSC). These alliances cover between 80 and 90% of all international shipping routes.

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