The delays that Chilean table grapes have suffered upon their arrival in the United States have caused losses of close to 30 million dollars. According to exporters, the mandatory fumigation of the grapes to enter the North American market took longer than expected because of the negligence of the shipping companies and the port of Philadelphia. As a result, they had to pay fines for the delays in returning the containers where the fruit was stored. In addition, much of the fruit that was going to be sold in US markets had to be thrown into the sea because the cold chain was broken due to the delays and the product no longer met the standards required to market it.
The Minister of Agriculture, Esteban Valenzuela, said he would meet with his American counterpart to find solutions to the problem. "We are going to meet with the US Secretary of Agriculture on Monday to rush the Approach Systems, which allows lifting the demand for additional fumigation."
The president of the Association of Fruit Exporters, Ronald Bown, said they were also working on alternative measures to remedy this crisis. "Fundamentally, this issue has to be analyzed by the US authorities. They must check if it is feasible, if it's appropriate, and if there are alternatives. We are betting that it's possible and looking for additional alternatives to the current fumigation system."
The president of Fedefruta, Jorge Valenzuela, said the sector has requested the end of fumigation for years as it generates great losses for the sector. "We, as a trade union, have been requesting these measures for at least 15 years. We believe we have a tremendous opportunity to help the American authorities to rethink the Systems Approach."
Exporters do not rule out taking legal action against shipping companies and the port of Philadelphia.