Peruvian citrus importers expect strong volumes, product

06/06/2012 01:57:00 PM
Melissa Shipman

The Peruvian citrus deal started on time or even slightly early this season in mid- to late May, and shippers are prepared for a successful season.

La Calera, Chincha, Peru, plans to ship 20,000 tons of citrus from Peru this season. Estuardo Masias, co-owner and chief executive officer, said the deal is projected to reach 70,000 tons in total.

Mandarins are La Calera’s largest commodity to ship.

Tangerines, the largest import group to the U.S., make up more than half of all volume that comes in from Peru, according to Nelly Yunta, vice president of U.S. imports, customs brokerage and consulting for Customized Brokers, a Miami-based Crowley Maritime company.

Peru exported 650,000 10-kilogram boxes of minneola tangelos to the U.S. last year, according to Mark Hanks, vice president of North American sales and marketing for DNE World Fruit Sales LLC, Fort Pierce, Fla.

“After that, you have navels and mandarins and all the rest,” Yunta said.

Mandarins are typically grown from February to April, with navels coming in at the end of April to August, Yunta said.

“It’s varied, so we have different products throughout the year,” she said.

Yunta said Customized Brokers saw some volume in mid-May, though the typical season doesn’t begin until the end of May, running through the end of August.

Though the deal is starting a little early this year, she expects company volume to be consistent with last year.

“We started like every year, with satsumas, and now have moved to clementines,” Masias said.

“In June we will start with the big crop of minneolas, and then finish the year with w. murcotts that run all the way to September, and sometimes October, arrivals.”

La Calera will be able to export satsumas from March to August and clementines from March to September, according to Masias. In August and September, La Calera plans to sell some honey tangerines, mostly in California and Texas.

Jeff Miller, president of Westlake Produce Co., Los Angeles, said the main items his company deals with are minneolas, clementines, w. murcotts and navel oranges.

“The crop in general will be about 15% larger,” he said, citing new plantings that are coming into production.

“It takes three to four years for new plantings to produce,” Miller said.

Mark Greenberg, president of Fisher Capespan, St. Laurent, Quebec, said clementines are coming in now from Chile and Peru, and seeing a very good market.

Filling the domestic gap


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