According to Brazilian Fruit and Fruit Product Exporters Association (Abrafrutas) technical and projects manager Jorge de Souza, at this point in time, virtually no fruit is being flown out of Brazil. Since volumes are not enough to fill up a cargo plane, most of the product used to ship in the cargo compartment in regular flights, which are grounded amid the worldwide quarantine. Some 10% of all exported fruit used to travel by air, especially papaya, fig and guava, and to a smaller extent and mango.
Souza stated that the demand is still in place, and marine shipping remains close to normal. Fruit such as lime, grape, mango and melon are still going out in ships, with transit times a bit longer than usual.
“Average demand generally remained unchanged in all destinations. The thing that has changed is the transit, the logistics, which suffered a bit due to shipping lane issues. The average trip to the Middle East, which used to take about 28 days, is taking 35 to 38 days, which is a bit worrisome in terms of product quality,” he said.
Souza said places like Dubai, for instance, are hubs from where product gets distributed by land to neighboring countries. “We’ll ship the fruit to Dubai by sea, and land travel to other countries is taking longer too, because there’s the whole question of sanitization and worker care. In the broad sense, however, and compared with other sectors of the economy, I would say the fruit industry has been affected at a very minor level,” he said.
Q1 2020 saw over 234,000 tons of fruit exported from Brazil, down 2% year-over-year. There was a significant hike in exports of some fruit, like avocado (126%), apple (56%) and lime (46%).
Exports fetched USD 183 million overall, down 8% year-on-year. Out of the top-selling fruit, went down for oranges (58%), grapes (44%), mango (23%) and melon (8%) as per Abrafrutas numbers.