Chilean fresh blueberry exporters have reached an agreement to implement a charter service to the U.S. market called the “Blueberry Express.”
The special service will begin about Dec. 4 and continue throughout the 2022-23 season, with less than two weeks of transit time to the U.S. market, according to a news release.
“We are optimistic about the coming season in the U.S., which is the main market for Chilean blueberries and where we faced the greatest difficulties last season,” Felipe Silva, CEO of Zur Group, said in the release. The move to charter service is all part of the industry’s commitment to the U.S. market and will allow exporters to reach U.S. destinations on time and with the condition required by customers, Silva said in the release.
The Blueberry Express service will be available to the entire industry, according to the release. In the charter ships, a percentage of the cargo will go in refrigerated warehouses, as has been the case for years with other commodities, such as table grapes, the release said.
U.S. imports of Chilean conventional blueberries from June 2021 through May 2022 totaled $201.3 million, down 9% from the previous year, the USDA reports. U.S. imports of Chilean conventional blueberries by volume were reported at 43,266 metric tons, off 9% from the same period a year ago.
U.S. imports of Chilean organic blueberries from June 2021 through May 2022 were valued at $62.5 million, off 31% compared with the same period a year ago. The volume of U.S. imports of Chilean organic blueberries for the same period totaled 10,387 metric tons, off 30% compared with a year ago.