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Cherry aid: carriers collaborate to shift Chilean cherry harvest

Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) has joined HMM, Ocean Network Express (ONE) and Hapag-Lloyd to move Chilean Cherries to the lucrative Chinese market deploying extra loaders to the trade, on a service dubbed the Cherry Express.

MSC has bolstered the west coast South America to China service with two vessels after joining the other carriers on the service this week.

The Cherry Express will run as a joint carrier agreement between November and January with the addition of the two dedicated vessels before New Year creating a fast transit time to Hong Kong of 23 days.

Shipments will arrive in Nansha and Shanghai in 25 and 26 days respectively, via transhipment in Hong Kong.

In week 49, MSC Alessia will call at Shanghai and Hong Kong with transit times of 22 days and 25 days respectively. In week 51, MSC Fiammetta will call at Nansha and Hong Kong with a transit time of 23 days.

Cherries take centre stage as the fruit season opens with new ships and service offerings.

The ASOEX (Fruit Exporters Association of Chile) Cherry Committee estimates a growth of 36% in exports for the 2020-2021 season, compared to the previous season, which translates to approximately 15,500 reefers.

The carriers, all partners on THE Alliance, will modify their joint West Coast South America-Asia service with a new call at Hong Kong.

ONE and HMM market the trade as AX1 and NW1, with the service calling at Keelung, Hong Kong, Yantian, Shanghai, Ningbo, Busan, Manzanillo, Lazaro Cardenas, Callao, Iquique, Antofagasta, Valparaiso (for cherry exports), Hong Kong (for cherry imports) and Keelung.

Modifying the service to facilitate the shipment of cherries from Valparaiso to Hong Kong will involve a 22-day transit period.

China is Chile’s largest market for cherries, as it buys 90% of the South American country’s cherry exports. Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, Chile’s cherry exports to China were up by nearly 32% in the 2019/2020 marketing year. Hong Kong is used as a gateway to transport South American cherries to the Chinese market, as well as to tranship the fruits to other Asian ports.

The modified Cherry Express service began on 11 November 2020, with Hapag-Lloyd’s 9,324TEU Cauquenes departing Valparaiso and scheduled to arrive in Hong Kong on 3 December.

Vessel schedule for the Cherry Express service will be as follows:

Rainbow Blue Nelson                                                          Martina Li
Americas Correspondent                                                     Asia Correspondent

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