MSC has been offering a dedicated service for a few years now, periodically helping Chilean shippers reach China in time for the Chinese New Year, when red cherries are especially popular with consumers. The company launched the service again in 2020 on 18th November.
With Chilean cherry exports for the 2020-2021 season estimated to grow by 36%, exporters are seeking alternative markets to China, such as Vietnam and other Southeast Asia countries. MSC’s deployment of two additional vessels in weeks 49 and 51 provides shippers with more flexibility, enabling them to sail on different days compared to the regular schedule, as well as more opportunities to trans-ship their cargo to neighbouring countries in Asia.
"This year, MSC is therefore complementing the regular Cherry Express service with an express dedicated vessel, MSC Alessia (week 49), providing a direct connection to Shanghai and then Hong Kong, as well as MSC Fiammetta (week 51), sailing direct to Nansha and then Hong Kong," said a spokesman for the company.
MSC’s Orchid service provides connections from Hong Kong to Haiphong in Vietnam, Singapore and Tanjung Pelepas in Malaysia, while MSC’s Lang Co Express service provides connections to Danang and Quinhon in Vietnam.
"Cherries are a sensitive commodity that require a high level of expertise in transporting, as well as fast transit times to ensure the product arrives in good conditions at destination. MSC is pleased to provide this extra support to Chilean exporters, helping them with a constant flow of containers, while also ensuring a more consistent supply of cherries to end consumers in Asia. The transit time from Chile to Hong Kong for the Cherry Express service is 23 days, compared to the usual transit time of around 29 days between these two ports."
Global concerns around cargo contamination amid the COVID-19 pandemic has intensified Chilean cherry exporters’ interest to introduce more safety measures in their supply chain, therefore using sanitised containers for their fruit shipments. MSC can offer this added service through an exclusive tie-up with MEDLOG in Chile.
"There is a stronger demand for shipping services for Chilean cherries due to the fact that this year’s harvest will be considerably higher compared to previous years. ASOEX (Fruit Exporters Association of Chile) estimates exports to reach over 20,000 containers in the coming years. However, the need for Chile to diversify and cater for new markets will progressively increase and one of the markets exporters are starting to look into is India. "When asked if there were plans to start anymore dedicated express service the spokesman stated:
"Clearly, the volume and the necessity on the part of the exporters are preconditions to making any specialised express route feasible. At MSC, we work closely with shippers to create tailor-made solutions to meet their needs where possible."
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