In a move aimed at cutting freight costs for its U.S. customers, LoBue Citrus has formed partnerships with grower-shippers in Chile and South Africa.
The partnerships will enable Lindsay, Calif.-based LoBue Citrus to bring the fruit into both U.S. coasts — through Philadelphia in the East and Long Beach, Calif., in the West.
“This is the third year we’ve brought Chilean citrus into Long Beach, but this year is the first time we’re bringing Chilean and South African fruit through Philadelphia,” said Rick Osterhues, vice president of sales and marketing.
The high prices of diesel fuel dictated the need for competitive shipping locations to help our customers manage transportation costs, he said.
“With our emphasis on customer service, an expanded import program that provided multiple shipping locations was a priority,” Osterhues said.
Some of the imported fruit, which will include navels, lemons and mandarins, also will be shipped to the company’s San Joaquin Valley headquarters to give customers the option of consolidating orders with California valencias.
“We’ll have load volumes of all varieties at all three locations June through October,” Osterhues said.
This season marks the first year of the LoBue Citrus partnership with South African growers.
“We took the time to find growers who could meet the LoBue Citrus standards that our customers have come to expect,” Osterhues said.
Navel sizes are expected to be comparable with the 2010 imported deal, he said. The navels are projected to peak in 56s to 88s with smaller volumes of 48s.
The fruit will be packed in 33-pound cartons.