Sai World has been established for 5 years and in the beginning focused on the Indian market as Director Sam Vasala has Indian heritage. In the last 3 years the company started to import and export to various countries around the globe.
Sai World deals in many products but are strongest in cherries, stone fruit and citrus, they have also started to explore the avocado market as production in Australia has increased and there will be the need to export in the coming years if the country can get market access. Grapes are also a growing export product for the company.
Sai World has access to some of the earliest cherries in Australia which are grown in New South Wales and export big volumes, they also import cherries from the US.
“Our grape export finished a few weeks ago, we still have a few arrivals into Vietnam. It was probably the right time as they seem to have a shortage of grapes at the moment," explains Sam.
"We have been shipping citrus for two weeks now to India and Canada. We are shipping to south East Asia next week. We have been waiting for better BRIX and better colour. The bigger fruit goes into Canada, China, Vietnam, Korea and Singapore and smaller fruit to India and Bangladesh. Quality wise South East Asia looks for a better quality without any blemishes which we call a Class 1 and Canada wants more a True Composite composite pack.
“The Indian market was quite bad for stone fruit and cherries at the end of our export season as the first lock down came in. It did get better but has gone back into lock down so it might be tricky for the citrus arrivals. The fruit can get in and out of the ports but the problem is with the markets as India has a huge wholesale segment which supplies the retail, but retailers have shut down again. We have our own company in India so we should be ok, It may even be an opportunity for us as no one else is loading.”
It takes 18-21 days to get to Chennai and 21-27 days to reach Mumbai so the situation may have changed by the time the citrus gets there.
“It is a very difficult time all round for exporters, people are nervous and don’t want to order, but because we have our own company there its not such a big problem. Every market is sluggish, and the situation changes every day. This season will be either an opportunity or a disaster. There are delays over a lot of products and a lot of markets. Costs have increased and growers and exporters baring the brunt of it.
“Export volumes are just not there; the export price of grapes was $25 CNF this year (Crimson) compared to $50 last year. There are also some importers who are taking advantage of the situation by claiming insurance on fruit saying it is damaged or has blemishes when normally they would accept it.
“Products such as citrus will less challenging as you can ship them on the water, but cherries or grapes have to be air freighted. Air freight charges have increased exponentially because there are no commercial flights. To air freight to Singapore it used cost us $2000-2500 to send a load, now it costs around $8500 for AKE, that makes it around $7 per kg just on freight cost. Also the buying power of people in the Asian markets maybe diminished as people lose their jobs, so it will be hard to move fruit in these markets. We were already seeing a decline in prices before the season even got underway. It has been a very challenging year and it will remain challenging.”