The Hong Kong Seaport Alliance (HKSPA) has registered growth of 54% in the 2020/21 Chilean cherry season, catering to swelling demand for the fruit in the mainland China market.
Around 70% of cherries in the world are consumed in mainland China, among which 90% are from Chile and many of these are exported from the ports of Valparaiso and San Antonio via Hong Kong.
A spokesperson from the HKSPA said: “China itself is a big grower and exporter of fruits. However, with the increasing purchasing power of mainland Chinese, the demand for imported fruits has seen a tremendous growth.
“Imports still only account for 2.5% of China’s total per capita fresh fruit consumption and the growth potential is huge.”
Chile is the largest supplier of fruits imported by China accounting for almost one quarter of the market, with cherries, citrus, table grapes, kiwis and apples increasing in popularity among Chinese consumers.
Luis Chadwick V., president of Agrícola San Clemente, a large Chilean fruit grower and exporter, said: “Once again the Port of Hong Kong proved to be the most diligent, reliable and efficient port, even under high stress situations like the one we just faced with the cherries.”
Hong Kong has 7,800 reefer points, constituting the highest number in South China and twice the capacity of other terminals in the region.
Hot box arrangements also allow consignees to collect shipments within 15 minutes of discharge, while fast customs procedures and comprehensive road and barge networks make Hong Kong an attractive port for fruit shipments, added the HKSPA spokesperson.