Exporting Chile’s Best Cherries: An Integrated Cold Chain Is Vital

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credit: maersk

Chinese New Year festivities

What could be better, more special, more festive, and more delicious than plump and luscious red cherries for a holiday? In China, cherries have increasingly become a major part of Chinese New Year festivities. They are given as gifts, used as festive decorations, or as an ingredient in dishes such as desserts. So, when cherries need to be exported to China and other parts of the world, freshness and top product quality are essential.

While cherries’ bright red colour is considered lucky in Chinese culture, luck plays no part in ensuring cherry exports are delivered fresh and in peak condition. Join us at the Global Cherry Summit on 20 April in Santiago, Chile, to hear about our Cherry Express & end-to-end Chile-to-China solution’s role in successfully delivering cherries on time and in top condition. You can also learn more in this feature, where we explain how our integrated Cherry Express service works.

A custom-made solution for cherries

Most cherries are harvested and exported from Latin America. Chile is the largest producer, and China is the primary importer, receiving over 85% of Chile’s cherry exports. When exporting fresh fruits and vegetables such as cherries, the main goal is for producers to secure the greatest value from their harvest. This requires an end-to-end cold chain that addresses the unique product requirements of the fruit, which for cherries is their limited shelf-life, and effectively working within the fruit’s short harvest season of late November to early February.

To ensure the best possible cold chain service, Maersk developed a specific cold chain solution tailored to the needs of Chilean cherry producers– the Cherry Express service. The solution is designed to expedite the transport of cherry exports. It is a fully integrated, end-to-end logistics and transportation solution that is fast, well-planned and designed to deliver cherries to China and other global markets seamlessly.

“This last season, we focused on optimising logistics at origin, maritime, and destination. We managed to be the only operators with depot, pre-stacking, and train solutions in the heart of the cherry-producing region, the fastest and most stable shipping service in the industry, and also unloading services at the destination that allowed us to reach the sales market in a few hours.”

Benjamín Vicuña

Cold Chain Product Manager, West Coast South America at Maersk
For the Chilean cherries, the cold chain starts in Teno, the heart of Chile’s cherry production region. The cherries are carefully handled as they move from orchards to local packing houses, where they are cleaned, sorted and packaged. Maersk reefers filled with cherry boxes are transported over land by rail or truck to the San Antonio port and loaded onto an Ocean Cherry Express vessel. The transit is only 21 days to China – the fastest in the industry – with zero deviation in ETA.

The Fresh Pass team carefully pre-planned each link in the cold chain to ensure a seamless end-to-end journey. This specialised Maersk service for reefer customers features expert container logistics coordination, including booking and documentation for all parties to a perishables shipment.

All along the way, Maersk’s RCM (Remote Container Management) digital monitoring, along with Captain Peter’s data reporting, provides visibility to the conditions inside these reefers. Temperature, humidity, atmosphere and GPS location are tracked to determine product quality throughout the end-to-end process.

At their destination in China, the Maersk Customs House Brokerage team quickly clears the shipments, enabling them to move to the Port of Nansha, within 3 hours, for unloading and then off to market. These beautiful cherries will be an integral part of Chinese New Year celebrations and in the market to enjoy on other days too. Fresh, festive and delicious cherry festivities for all!

2022-2023 season

During the 2022-2023 season, approximately 70 million cardboard boxes, each with 5 kilos of cherries, in about 3,500 reefer containers, were successfully transported in peak condition. Clearly indicating that Maersk’s integrated, farm-to-table Cherry Express cold chain solution is the optimal, high-performance solution for next year’s cherry harvest.

Potential new offers for next season include getting to new markets connecting in China, and Air Product.

Follow the Cherry Express: Bringing the freshest cherries from Chile to China, learn how cherries make their way from Chilean orchards to Chinese store shelves, a journey that requires a reliable cold chain solution.

Come see us at The Global Cherry Summit: The Leading event of the cherry industry in the world.

We look forward to seeing you on 20 April 2023 at the leading cherry industry event in the world, The Global Cherry Summit, held at the Monticello Conference Center, San Francisco de Mostazal, Chile. In 2022, Over 900 exporters, importers, retailers, researchers, consultants, and others attended The Global Cherry Summit.

Our Maersk team is looking forward to seeing you at the main event. Visit us in Booth #47 and feel free to book a meeting with our teams’ representatives:

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Source: Maersk