Ag Trade/Exports Pt 1

Ag Trade/Exports Pt 1

Bob Larson
Bob Larson
With today’s Fruit Grower Report, I’m Bob Larson. For Northwest fruit producers, the pandemic, the economy, and any number of problems have all teamed up to slow down ports and impact trade.

Steve Reinholt, Export Sales Manager at Oneonta Starr Ranch Growers in Wenatchee, says there are a few big challenges …

REINHOLT … “The biggest problem is the shortage of equipment, the shortage of bookings and containers to actually load the fruit on and get it shipped. That shortage has kind of caused, to a degree, by the delays you’re talking about and the vessels sitting in the ports.”

And what has all that meant for shipping? …

REINHOLT … “What that has done, on top of that, is raise the freight costs. We’ve seen nearly doubling in almost all the freight lanes we ship our products to. So, it’s kind of a double-whammy. We have a hard time getting the products shipped in the first place and the cost has skyrocketed. The trouble is, you can’t really count on it, well I mean, from day-to-day things change.”

That uncertainty, Reinholt says has been widespread …

REINHOLT … “For the last year or so things keep getting delayed. Vessels would get out of rotation because they’d be held up in Port of L.A., was a bad one for a very long time, but it’s also happened in all the major Pacific Coast ports, including Seattle.”

Those delays, Reinholt says created more challenges …

REINHOLT … “So, they would start doing what’s called blind sailings where they would skip a port or a group of ports and the vessels would go back nearly empty.”

Tune in tomorrow for more on when our fruit export challenges might begin easing up a bit.

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