US-Mexico-Canada Agreement, weekly update:

"The movement of Chilean blueberries through various US ports is expected to increase."

Consumers are again seeing empty grocery store shelves for certain items or longer shipping times for online orders as global supply chain woes continue. Despite this, year-end reports show that ocean carriers posted record profits in 2021: an estimated $150 billion, or a nine-fold annual increase.

Although fuel, container, labor and other costs continued to rise during the year, it is clear that the rate of increase in freight rates far outstripped these expenses. For the average US shopper, inflation and rising prices could lead to greater food insecurity. Industry sources report a slight reduction in freight rates for certain shipping areas, raising expectations that prices will begin to reflect that reduction in cost. Various winter weather events and below-normal temperatures affected several regions, slowing the movement of produce into major metropolitan regions and delaying crop maturity in southern US producing regions.

Crossings of Mexican blueberries through Arizona, California and Texas are expected to increase. Trading was active at first and moderate later. The market for Mexican berries is falling as competition from Chilean fruit gradually increases.

Movement of Chilean blueberries by ship through the various East Coast and West Coast ports of entry is expected to increase as the harvest in Chile increases. Trade at the East Coast ports of entry is subdued and prices are barely stable. Supplies coming into West Coast ports remain fairly tight, and trade is barely holding steady. Overall movement of Chilean blueberries remains lower than in previous seasons, with some Chilean exporters reportedly shipping more product to Europe and Asia to avoid competing with Peruvian berries in the US.

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