Ag Trade/Exports Pt 2

Ag Trade/Exports Pt 2

Bob Larson
Bob Larson
With today’s Fruit Grower Report, I’m Bob Larson. From equipment and trucker shortages, to port slowdowns, to skyrocketing freight costs, the hits just keep coming for Northwest fruit producers.

Steve Reinholt, Export Sales Manager at Oneonta Starr Ranch Growers, says sending half empty container ships back to foreign ports doesn’t help either …

REINHOLT … “Obviously, that’s counter-productive. We’d love to have some of our products on there, if they’re going back that direction. But, also, they weren’t dropping off any empties. And so, we had a shortage of equipment and super-inconsistent freight availability.”

Right now, Reinholt says it’s hard to rely on …

REINHOLT … “In our case, we’d pack up the product and have it ready to go and it would sit, and we’d wait, and we’d wait, and we’d wait and those kinds of things have been going on, really, for pretty close to a year, maybe even a little bit more than that.”

And that, Reinholt says has been stressful …

REINHOLT … “We are seeing more of it than we’d like certainly. We do try to time our packing with when we believe there’s going to be availability of containers and shipping. One of the other issues though, that this has caused, it’s not just with these delays and the vessels get out of sync and they’d start jumping around. It also causes delays in other ports as well.”

And with perishable goods …

REINHOLT … “We don’t ever really know. And so, if something that you’re expecting to take three weeks to get there and ends up taking five or six weeks, well, you’re taking off the shelf life of that product. You’re just using it up on the vessel.”

But, Reinholt is optimistic, saying he thinks we’ll turn a corner pretty soon and things will begin to get better. It won’t be an overnight thing, but will start to ease soon.

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