“Where Chile used to have almost 100% of the world in their hands for the wintertime, now they have some competition,” said Dave Bowe, owner of Dave’s Specialty Imports Inc., Coral Springs, Fla. “They’re trying to increase their prices with increased volume.”
Bowe said Chilean growers think they can achieve increased prices despite increased volume by expanding their reach in North America.
“It’s very, very difficult for them ... to talk those people into increasing a price or holding a price when everybody knows that the volume is going to be coming like we can’t believe,” he said. “Somehow they want to find a way to move more and have a greater supply of buyers — foodservice and people like that — not more importers.”
Expanding shipments during the “shoulders” of the deal, the start and the end, is one way to bring supply closer to demand for the year-round product.
“What we’re planning on doing is shipping more fruit by air freight at the beginning,” Barsi said. “Air freight is cheaper, there’s more space and they want to make sure that North America gets high quality fruit right away.”
Barsi said the global recession and a decline in Chilean salmon exports has freed up more air space, and with oil prices down, so are freight rates.
Barsi also said some suppliers are talking of chartering planes this year.
Air freight may also help suppliers hasten supplies in time for the holiday period since most shipments are not expected to arrive until week 52 and week 1, continuing strong through January and February, Flores said.