Australian peach and nectarine exports hit by higher freight costs

Mon 24/08/2020 by Richard Wilkinson
Australian peach and nectarine exports hit by higher freight costs

Australia’s 2020/21 stone fruit crop is projected to recover from a challenging 2019/20 season. Cherry production is predicted to increase by 14%, and peaches and nectarines by 4%, according to FAS USDA data. However, disruptions to international air freight caused by the COVID-19 pandemic are expected to have a significant impact on MY 2020/21 exports of stone fruits. To support the sector, the Australian government has created an International Freight Assistance Mechanism (IFAM) programme to help exporters secure air freight and sustain increased shipping costs.  However, even with government support, freight costs for exporters are still more than double the levels pre-COVID. As a result, exports of higher-valued fruit such as cherries are expected to be less impacted than lower-valued fruit such as peaches and nectarines. Exports of peaches and nectarines are forecast to decline by 17% in 2020/21, with peach exports the most hit as they tend to be shipped more frequently by than nectarines due to their softer flesh. By contrast, cherry exports are forecast to increase by 12% due to the larger expected crop and the high value of the product.  The combination of larger expected crops and logistical obstacles to export are anticipated to cause domestic consumption of stone fruit to rise.


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