Jorge Valenzuela, president of Fedefruta, the association that represents all fruit growers in Chile, reported the following regarding the problems caused by the intermittent downtime of the customs system:
"We currently have producers harvesting and packing their table grapes in Atacama, and producers preparing their cherry shipments. Fedefruta has received reports of downtimes during the last 48 hours which have affected the handling of fresh fruit. With the fruit we have today, which needs to arrive on time to ensure quality, especially because of the rains and damages, these downtimes are unacceptable."
Fedefruta is also keeping a close eye on the strike started by dock workers in San Antonio, which has forced the suspension of all kinds of duties at DP World San Antonio facilities. The growers' union is reviewing whether this situation will affect the loading of refrigerated containers.
Fedefruta hopes that the fall of the Customs system won't have an impact on fresh fruit shipments
"We've already had to deal with many difficulties due to the rains in the orchards, so we can't also have delays of the cherry shipments, as these really need to arrive quickly to the ships and destinations," said Valenzuela, following a complaint from the Chilean Customs Chamber about the fall of the computer system, in which the necessary documentation for the export of products is processed.
In addition to the impact of the rains, mainly on early cherries, as well as in flowering orchards, now Fedefruta is keeping a close eye on the issues caused by the downtime of the Customs system since Monday, which has interrupted the export procedures and the handling of the necessary documentation, as denounced by the Customs Chamber of Chile.
At the moment, directors of the Chilean Fruit Producers Federation are monitoring the situation at the terminals. "So far, producers say that they have been able to make the shipments and arrange the documentation, but we have already had many difficulties due to the rains on the farms, and we can't afford to face a delay, as the cherries really need to arrive quickly to the ships and destinations," said the president of Fedefruta, Jorge Valenzuela.
That is why Fedefruta and producers are asking the National Customs Service to activate a contingency plan as soon as possible, "since we have had no news or information about it," said the leader. "We hope that this computer problem, which has been on-going for quite some time, is solved as soon as possible, because if it causes delays, the quality of a fruit that was already very difficult to harvest, let alone pack, may be compromised."
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