Fruit unions affirm that shipping companies applied a powerful 25% increase in freight rates: "Rates are unsustainable"

Both the SNA, Fedefruta and Asoex ensure that the measure goes against the international trend of maritime cargo, and stress that "there is no basis" to justify these increases.

This Monday, various leaders of fruit unions called to stop the 25% increase in refrigerated freight rates, which was announced by shipping companies and which is added to those carried out in recent times.

The representatives indicated that the new increase in sea freight coincides with the start of the 2022-2023 export season for cherries and other fruits such as blueberries and nectarines, once again significantly affecting shipments with increases.

The situation worries the fruit industry, since one of the most expensive destinations is Asia, where a large part of the national fruit arrives and is especially important for cherry exports, more than 90% of which are destined for China.

Regarding fresh fruit in general, the president of the National Agricultural Society (SNA), Cristián Allendes, explained that "we see that the price of refrigerated maritime transport has risen in an incomprehensible way. Added to this is the fact that the shipping companies have not met the agreed deadlines, which has caused our products to arrive late and in poor condition, without assuming their responsibility for this poor service.

For the start of this season, the rate would show an increase of almost 100% in the last two years. The new increase that would begin this November has generated confusion among fruit producers and exporters represented by SNA, Asoex and Fedefruta, who point out that worldwide maritime cargo rates have dropped sharply.

They also warn that this situation affects the profitability of agricultural production, especially fresh fruit, and that the latter could see its continuity affected, putting the more than 600.000 direct and indirect jobs it generates at risk.

In this regard, the president of the Federation of Fruit Producers of Chile (Fedefruta), Jorge Valenzuela, pointed out that "we are in a very tough adjustment period for the last two seasons that have been very complex due to rising costs, the consequences of the logistical convulsion in the condition of the fruit and the income of the producers. We have to lift the fruit season at any cost."

He added that “this 2022 we have made known the effects that this type of action has meant for the sector. We have held various meetings and have sat down to find solutions with legislators and chain actors, but these unsustainable tariffs are strangling Chilean producers and exporters."

For his part, the president of the Association of Fruit Exporters of Chile (Asoex), Iván Marambio, pointed out that "the news about the rise in maritime freight costs surprises and worries us, especially since there is no basis for it." justified, since at the international level there is evidence of a contraction in the demand for ships, leading to a drop in the prices of freight and containers.

Marambio added that this increase not only contradicts the signs of international trade, but also with all the work that has been promoted along with the logistics chain.

"We have been working with all the players in the logistics chain to ensure a normal 2022-2023 fruit export season, where the shipping companies are also integrated, as we know that working together we can face the challenges for the benefit of all.

In fact, together with Camport we prepared a plan with 12 measures to improve the management and operation of port terminals during the high season, which we delivered to the authorities, therefore, after coordinated work, the announcements about these rises," he said.

In the Mundo Marítimo environment, Daniel Fernández, president of Camport, pointed out that of the measures that were addressed in the work tables with the fruit sector, "there are no tariff issues, since it could not be included because it is not our role to coordinate nor apply tariffs, because it would affect free competition”. "If the expectation was that the issue of rates would be taken into account, it may have been a misinterpretation on their part," he added.

International Trade

The representatives indicated that a recent report by the international maritime trade consultancy, Drewryda, states that the Chartering Index continues to show a decline during October and it is expected that it would continue to decline in November. They emphasize that this is also manifested in the drop in container costs. Likewise, Shanghai Export Containerized Freight Index (SCFI) also observes a drop in maritime freight.

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