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T&G Global supports NZ small businesses with apple ship charter to Europe

T&G Global supports NZ small businesses with apple ship charter to Europe

T&G Global has chartered a ship to take about 31 million apples to Antwerp, as a way around potential container shortages and port closures caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Baltic Spring is currently (Tuesday and Wednesday) loading the last apples from Hawke’s Bay at Napier Port, after a last-ditch packing effort over the weekend.

Craig Betty, Director of Operations for T&G Global says: “In the current climate, it was risky relying completely on our usual shipping programme and we needed to do everything possible to support our growers and get their fruit to markets in Europe. So, we pulled out all the stops. We have 5,400 pallets going on the Baltic Spring, most of it is JAZZ, Braeburn and Pink Lady apples.

“The uncertainly in the supply chain due to COVID-19 made us re-think alternatives to ensure customers in Europe receive our produce.

“Looking at what happened in China, there was congestion in ports and in associated feeder ports. As a result, the ports were full, containers weren’t being turned around as fast as normal for re-use, and refrigerated container plugs at the port were also at capacity. The labour force was reduced under lockdown which affected delivery to customers and also reduced shipping sailings over this period.  It was this uncertainty which we wanted to get in front of for our European-bound apples.

“It’s been a huge effort that’s come together over the last six weeks. We’ve had team members from our European and New Zealand business working together, including 13 packhouses in Nelson and Hawke’s Bay. That gives you a good idea about the sheer quantity of apples we’re talking about.

“This weekend, our team at our Hawke’s Bay packhouse at Whakatu were still packing the fruit to go on the ship today and tomorrow. It’s just in time,” said Craig.

The team has worked with packhouses, cool stores, the shipping line, insurers, ports, stevedores and transport partners to make this happen.

“Even though we’ve gone to Level 3 today, the vessel is loading right now under a Level 4 operating structure which the transport company, stevedores and crew must follow. From a T&G perspective, we were very privileged to be able to operate as an essential business under Level 4, and we’re maintaining those same COVID-19 safe work practices throughout Level 3.

“Our charter ship is following on the heels of the loading of a kiwifruit charter vessel, so we’re using all of the same parties to load our vessel, as all the operational mapping has been set in place. 

“And we’re watching it remotely. There’s a live port cam that let the team watch the Nelson load last week and again this week in Napier.”

The ship arrived in Nelson on Thursday, and loaded apples for two days before sailing to Napier to load on Tuesday and Wednesday. The apples will be stored in Belgium before being repacked in the Netherlands and Germany, for sale across Europe.

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T&G Global: 2020 apple harvest in full swing

T&G Global: 2020 apple harvest in full swing, © T&G Global
© T&G Global


New Zealand’s 2020 apple harvest is in full swing and T&G Global, one of New Zealand’s largest growers and exporters of apples, is in the midst of picking around 6.5 million cartons of crunchy, delicious apples.

Craig Betty, Director of Operations for T&G Global says the apple crop is shaping up beautifully with great quality, good sized apples.

“New Zealand is home to some of the world’s best apples, including the internationally popular JAZZ™ and Envy™, and this year the crop is looking superb, with a fantastic flavour.

“Across the world consumers look for different attributes in their apples – American and Asian consumers love them big and bright red, and which don’t brown when cut. Kiwi consumers tend to go for apples rich in flavour and colour and are fans of our snack-sized JAZZ™ apples for convenience.

“Our growers across the Hawke’s Bay, Gisborne, Nelson and Otago are experts at knowing when the time is right to pick each variety of apple to meet consumers’ needs,” says Craig.

Harvesting of Royal Gala apples began in late February and the T&G team, together with a New Zealand-first robotic harvester, are now picking the premium JAZZ™ and Envy™ apples.

While COVID-19 is creating some uncertainty in terms of global trading, T&G Global is continuing to export to most of its 45 international markets.

“Over the past week, the first shipments of JAZZ™ apples have headed to ports in Hong Kong and Malaysia, with further shipments to China, Thailand, Belgium, UK and the Middle East on track to leave over the next few days.

“Across Asia we’ve seen some softening in demand, however orders across most markets remain steady and we’re currently shipping to plan.

“We’re continually monitoring the situation and have alternative sales plans across a range of regions, markets and channels so we can move quickly to mitigate any changes or effects from COVID-19,” says Craig.

“As an Essential Service, T&G has a critical role to play in keeping fresh fruit and vegetables moving through the supply chain to our fellow New Zealanders and consumers around the world. Safety is always our top priority, and we’ve implemented additional COVID-19 safe work practices across our entire business to help keep our people and communities safe.

“To help process the harvest, we’re also actively recruiting for forklift operators, tractor drivers and packhouse workers mainly in Hawke’s Bay and Nelson, and glasshouse workers in Auckland, and we encourage anyone interested to get in touch with T&G.”


Source: Press release
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T&G Global to take over Freshmax’s produce division

T&G Global to take over Freshmax’s produce division

One of New Zealand’s largest fresh produce companies, T&G Global has signed an agreement to purchase the domestic fresh produce division of Freshmax NZ. T&G Global CEO Gareth Edgecombe said that the deal, costing US$20 million, will strengthen the firm’s New Zealand business, deliver better service to growers and customers, provide a platform for an enhanced supply chain and supply the highest quality fresh produce to customers year-round. He said, “Freshmax NZ brings a strong team, operations and facilities and a large distribution services business which are all complementary additions to T&G’s NZ Produce business.”

T&G Global’s managing director New Zealand Produce, Andrew Keaney, said the acquisition brings excellent trading relationships and strong supply relationships in key categories.

“We’re excited to bring together the combined strengths of the Freshmax and T&G teams, suppliers and customers into our business, and build a stronger combined presence in the New Zealand market.

The deal includes three market sites (Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch) and distribution services across the country. It is still subject to review by the Commerce Commission.