Chile is one of the world's biggest cherry producers and Hapag-Lloyd is the market leader when it comes to shipping Chilean cherries.
“There are many cherry-producing countries, for example, the US, Turkey, and China. The exceptional thing about Chilean cherries is that Chile produces them during the winter of the northern hemisphere. The demand for cherries in China is especially high in winter because the Chinese tradition in New Year celebrations is to give fruit, especially cherries. Custom and cultural belief indicate that red is a symbol of success, happiness, and love," stated Christian Seydewitz, senior vice president of Area Chile. "Chilean cherries are also special because producers have been working hard to improve the quality of the fruit and Cherry Express helps ensure that cherries reach Chinese markets with high quality."
“We streamlined service during the high season, saving us five to six days on the water, ensuring that the cherries sent from Valparaiso have no stopovers on their way to Hong Kong and some other ports in China so that they arrive in 22 to 23 days. The shorter the transit time, the better the quality of the cherries on arrival.”
"This year, we expect to grow by about 19%, aligned with the expected growth of the market,” stated Seydewitz. 65% of the cherry volume is expected to be shipped between week 49 and week 52, and 63% is shipped by week 51 so that it arrives in China before the Chinese New Year.
“In the 2018-19 season, we started a similar service concept for other fruits, such as stone fruits, plums, peaches, and early grapes, just after the Cherry Express, which we call the Asia Express service, which runs through week 14 or week 17. Thanks to the Asia Express service, the stone fruit market grows year after year. After that, we ship grapes in the standard service, which is also among our largest export volumes.”
The demand for Chilean cherries in the US and Europe is growing
The main market for Chilean cherries is China, but the demand from the US and Europe is growing steadily. “Two years ago, 98% of Chilean cherry exports went to China and only 2% to Europe and the US. However, this percentage grew last year to about 9%, and we expect it to grow to 15% this year. Some 3,500 40-foot containers will be used for destinations outside Asia and some 18,500 40-foot containers will go to China.”