Chilean cherry exports to China hit new high
Published: Jan 19, 2023 12:46 AM
Chilean food is displayed during the Chile Week held in Beijing on Tuesday. Photo: Li Hao/GT

Chilean food is displayed during the Chile Week held in Beijing on Tuesday. Photo: Li Hao/GT

Chilean cherry exports to China reached a new high in the 2022-23 season, Chilean industry officials said on Wednesday, predicting “favorable” conditions for 2023.

Fresh cherry exports from Chile to global markets in the 2022/23 season are expected to top 80 million boxes, or around 400,000 tons, according to a new estimate by the Chilean Cherry Committee of the Chilean Fruit Exporters Association (ASOEX).

“If realized, this would set a record for Chilean cherry exports,” Charif Christian Carvajal, director of marketing for Europe, Asia and the Middle East with ASOEX, told the Global Times.

As the Chinese Spring Festival arrived earlier in 2023, Chile speeded up its cherry exports. As of December 31, Chile had exported 372,169 tons of cherries, of which 331,149 tons, or 89 percent of the total exports, were destined for China, ASOEX data showed. The figure is a rise from 313,251 tons seen in the last season. The US was the second main destination with 13,914 tons shipped. 

The achievement was attained by a more engaging approach by Chilean exporters, better infrastructure in transportation, and a sales boost brought by the optimized epidemic response in China.

After the optimized epidemic response, the logistics chain and customs clearance processes were greatly improved for this season, according to local distributors and Chilean exporters. Exporters also placed special emphasis on diversifying port destinations across China to reach more second- and third-tier cities, Carvajal said.

On January 12, AOSEX boosted its supply cooperation with the Port of Dalian by sending a cherry express vessel to the Northeastern Chinese city for the first time, along with a deal for future cooperation.

Approximately 85 percent of all shipments of Chilean cherries to China this season are scheduled to arrive and be distributed prior to the Chinese Lunar New Year, while the remaining 15 percent will arrive during or after the holiday period, Carvajal said.

The 2023 Chilean fruit season looks favorable, Carvajal said.

A number of Chinese ports have also boosted transportation capacity by assigning new vessels to carry the perishable goods and ensure speedy and efficient delivery.

The Port of Guangzhou, the world’s fifth-largest port, told the Global Times in an emailed statement on Wednesday that a total of 11 express vessels is expected to arrive at its Nansha Port area before the Spring Festival holidays, with a total volume of 7,000 containers and an annual increase of 300 percent from the corresponding period a year ago.

After the building of the largest refrigerated port warehouse in China, which can currently store 227,000 tons of goods, and a steady increase in customs clearance efficiency that keeps the fruit fresh, Nansha has become the biggest port in China to handle imports of Chilean cherries, according to the port’s operator.