Shipping pineapples by air has allowed the Panamanian company Verba Odrec, which has more than 70 years of experience in agricultural production, to diversify its export markets and better position itself in them, achieving good results even in the context of the pandemic.
Even though this transport system allows shipping smaller quantities, the resulting quality of the products results in more attractive prices. The pineapple that is exported by air achieves a better ripening that highlights its sweetness. "The pineapple that leaves Panama by boat is very young, somewhat green, and has 13 Brix degrees. Shipping it by air guarantees the fruit has a yellow peel and pulp, and sweetness of 17 to 18 Brix degrees," stated Hipolito Vergara, the director of pineapple operations at Verba Odrec. "Transporting them by air allows customers to receive a fruit that has a well-balanced combination of flavor, smell, texture, and color and that is fresher from the moment of its harvest than the pineapple transported by boat," he stated.
The company made its first shipment by air to Europe in 2016. They shipped a wooden pallet with capacity for 36 boxes with 6 fruits per container. "We exported two to three pallets a week to a single client in Europe for three years, but last year we made an alliance with a European company to ship them fresh fruit by air," Vergara said.
The Panamanian company exports 40,000 to 50,000 kilograms of pineapples to Europe per week. This year, 18,000 kilograms of these shipments are sent by air. Last year it only exported 1,600 kilograms by air per week. At the end of the first half of the year, the company had managed to send 480,000 kilograms of fresh pineapple by plane.
A box sent by air, which has six fruits and weights an average of 12 kilograms, costs 10 to 12 dollars in the European market while the one that is sent by boat ranges from 5 to 6 dollars.