The number of container ships waiting for berthing space to unload cargo at Southern California ports reached a record 73 last week before falling slightly. A pilot program to expand cargo pickup hours to 24/7 access in response to this historic cargo surge has helped reduce the backlog somewhat as ports continue to break records for numbers of containers processed monthly.
Some shippers seeking alternatives to the busiest ports are finding that even smaller, less heavily trafficked ports in other parts of the country are overwhelmed, as well as being ill-equipped to handle larger ships and the huge volumes of cargo they contain. In addition, switching course to these alternative ports adds travel time and additional fuel and labor costs. The shipping season for the holidays in North America is already underway, and the backup and lack of certain supplies and services is expected to continue to stress shippers of both perishable and non-perishable goods from overseas.
Mexican avocado crossings through Texas movement expected to increase seasonally. Trading was moderate on all sizes with demand on larger fruit finally moderating as availability has improved with the arrival of better weather. Prices were lower on 40s, 48s, and 60s and about steady to higher on others. Avocados from the South District of California movement is expected to decrease seasonally. Trading was moderate with prices on most sizes generally unchanged, aside from 48s which were slightly higher. Supplies are light as the end of the harvest season is near.
Peruvian imports of blueberries arriving through the Philadelphia and New York City areas movement via boat is expected to increase. Trading was very active with prices unchanged. Blueberry movement from British Columbia Canada crossings through Northwest Washington is expected to decrease as most shippers have finished for the season. Light supplies are in too few hands to establish a market and the last report has been issued. Movement of blueberries from Oregon and Washington is expected to continue to decrease seasonally. Trading was active at higher prices. Most current movement is coming out of controlled atmosphere storage. Quality is reported as variable. Peruvian imports arriving through Southern California movement via boat are expected to increase as ports are now working around the clock to get product offloaded. Trading was active with prices generally unchanged.