It’s become more difficult for Polish apples to reach the Egyptian market. Although the Egyptians accept the higher freight prices, there is still a lack of refrigerated containers at the moment. For one Polish exporter, the European market has been a solid alternative.
Life has changed for Polish apple exporter Mohamed Marawan, CEO of Sarafruit. Next to having to sit at home all day, the usual business trips have been canceled, like Freskon: “Poland has acted very early on the covid-19 situation. For me and my family, we stay at home as much as we can. Luckily our orchard is very close to my home, so I’m able to go there every now and then to do some work. It’s been a crazy month really, I intended to visit Freskon, but this was unfortunately canceled. I wonder what will happen in the future, exhibitions like Fruit Attraction are still far away, but who knows how long we’ll be in the current situation.”
Sarafruit has still been able to send shipments of apples to Egypt, despite the higher prices. According to Marawan, the value of the Euro has dropped enough to counter the higher freight rates. “We sent our last shipment to Egypt about a week ago and we will send another one somewhere next week. The prices of logistics are very high, but the Egyptians still accept these prices. This is also due to the low value of the Euro, which means the trade is still profitable for the Egyptians despite the higher prices. We’re not sending all that much volume though, as stocks are pretty low as it is and we’re still having trouble finding the quality that Egypt is used to. Another issue is the reduced availability of refrigerated containers, so we only send a couple of containers every time.”
Due to the limited availability of refrigerated containers, Marawan had to look for alternatives to ship his remaining apples. “For us, a solution has been selling apples to both the domestic and European markets. As we can transport the produce by trucks to countries like Germany and Italy, this has been an easier option for export. Golden varieties and Red Prince are still in demand. So all in all, we’re still doing okay. It’s getting difficult to supply our Egyptian market, but since they’re accepting the higher prices that freight rates have caused, we’re still able to do business, luckily.”