New Zealand’s kiwifruit exports were shipped in 17,160 reefers and 44 full reefer vessel charters.
The last of New Zealand’s 2019 kiwifruit harvest exported by Zespri left the Port of Tauranga in four reefer containers for Hong Kong and Taiwan aboard the APL Denver this week.
Blair Hamill, Zespri’s Chief Global Supply Officer, said 147 million trays of kiwifruit were shipped offshore this season to more than 50 countries. “Our premium Zespri SunGold and Green Kiwifruit are more popular than ever, and over the course of the season we’ve moved 44 full charter shiploads and 17,160 containers, or more than 500,000 tonnes in total, to our markets,” Mr Hamill said.
At a time when industry consultants are saying the sun is setting on reefer vessels as the IMO 2020 sulphur cap approaches, they are still a key part of Zespri’s plans for the future.
Zespri’s dual strategy of reefer vessels and reefer containers has been discussed in detail in a feature article. To secure new tonnage for the next 20-25 years Zespri has underwritten three new vessels that have been ordered by Tokyo-based Fresh Carriers. These are mixed vessels with the capacity for 4880 pallets under-deck and 100 40ft reefers on deck, and will be deployed in the NZ to Japan, Korea and China trades.
The 2019 export season was a good one for Zespri. “While the number of containers shipped was slightly down on the previous record year, the 2019 season was still the second-largest crop ever harvested by New Zealand’s kiwifruit growers while it also marked the first season Zespri exported more SunGold than Green,” Zespri said.
With fruit in New Zealand maturing earlier in 2019 the season got underway earlier than normal, and Zespri is planning for another early starting 2020, with the first vessel expected to depart in March 2020.