Strike should spare grape industry

01/17/2014 02:30:00 PM
Andy Nelson

A port strike in Chile should not significant affect Chilean grape shipments to North America.

Mark Greenberg, president and chief executive officer of Capespan North America LLC, St. Laurent, Quebec, said other commodities could feel the brunt of the strike more than grapes.

“The port strike, from what I understand, is not affecting table grapes loaded in bulk reefers,” he said. “Containerized fruit loading at San Antonio and other container ports are being affected.”

Workers seeking retroactive pay for half-hour lunch breaks began striking Jan. 3 at Chile’s Port of San Antonio.

The Chilean fruit industry trade group ASOEX said the strike is directly affecting Chilean exporters’ ability to ship their fruit and called on the Chilean government to take action.

In the first half of January, the government was meeting with Port of San Antonio officials to try to resolve the issue, said Fernando Balart, ASOEX’s marketing manager for U.S. and Latin America.

Through the early part of January, the strike’s effects were minimal on Vero Beach, Fla.-based Seald Sweet International, but there’s no guarantee that will remain the case, said Chris DeSana, grape commodity manager.

Josh Leichter, general manager of Fresno, Calif.-based Pacific Trellis Fruit LLC, said grape growers he talked to the week of Jan. 6 hadn’t mentioned any negative effects from the strike.



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