MSC has launched an express service for cherry and fresh fruit cargo from Chile to Asia, intending to capitalise on the increasing popularity of cherries in China.
The Cherry Express service will run as a joint carrier agreement, connecting Valparaiso in Chile with a transit time to Hong Kong of 23 days, before cargo is transhipped to Nansha and Shanghai in 25 and 26 days respectively.
In addition, shippers can use the carrier’s feeder network to reach other Southeast Asia destinations.
Chile is the single largest supplier of cherries to China with Chilean cherry season running from November to January, which is often close to the Chinese New Year.
The Fruit Exporters Association of Chile (ASOEX) Cherry Committee estimates a growth of 36% in exports for the 2020-2021 season, as compared the previous season, despite fears of disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. This translates to approximately 15,500 container loads of cherries
Pikkei Yuen, inbound sales manager, MSC Hong Kong/South PRC/Taiwan, said: “Cherries have become an increasingly popular fruit in China as consumer spending power rises across the country.
“Furthermore, the timing of the Cherry Express leads up nicely to the Chinese New Year. Red Chilean cherries are especially popular during this period with consumers as the red fruit symbolises prosperity and fortune.”
Two more vessels will deployed exclusively for weeks 49 and 51, sailing on different days compared to the regular vessel schedule to provide customers with greater flexibility during loading.
The two vessels will also provide direct connection to a few different ports in Greater China, offering customers more choice in terms of destination ports.
In week 49, MSC Alessia will be calling at Shanghai and Hong Kong with transit times of 22 days and 25 days respectively. In week 51, MSC Fiammetta will be calling at Nansha and Hong Kong with a transit time of 23 days.
With concerns around cargo contamination still mounting amid the ongoing pandemic, fruit exporters in Chile can utilise MEDLOG, MSC’s logistics arm, to provide sanitised containers as a safety measure against the coronavirus.
Cristian Montenegro, commercial director of MSC Chile, stated: “With the introduction of two complementary vessels and the support of our MEDLOG depots in Chile, MSC will be able to reinforce this service by maintaining a constant flow of containers for our export customers.”