This year, two ships, laden with lychees from Madagascar, are expected to arrive at Zeebrugge harbor in Belgium. That's in contrast to last year. "Last year, we got only one. The other unloaded in Southern France. But this year, we'll, again, get two. The first arrived on the weekend and was unloaded yesterday. The second one is expected at the end of next week," says Johan Claes of Belgian New Fruit Wharf.
"The second ship will also be unloaded in Zeebrugge. It's a complex business, and we're the best possible partner. The ship contains many types of lychees and a large variety of brands. You have to have good, experienced personnel to guarantee the correct handling. Many other destinations have been tried in the past, but the lychees always end up back here."
“In Madagascar, the lychee season began earlier than usual. That gives the ships a little more time. They can sail north and still have this product in stores on time," explains Johan. "The two shipments' volumes are the same as last year. Northwest Europe is a great lychee market. There's only one season per year. And they send the entire production in one go in December. It's an ideal product for the holidays."
Despite the corona crisis, all work continues at the Belgian New Fruit Wharf. "We can work without any restrictions, but, of course, it has to be we in a COVID-19-proof manner. Fortunately, we're doing well, although there are some costs involved. Our clients have had minimal problems. And we're able to continue working at our normal level, " concludes Johan.