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Spanish producers to ship fruit, veg in TEUs for first time

Spanish producers to ship fruit, veg in TEUs for first time

MADRID: Fruit and vegetable exporters from Las Palmas will run a pilot test this harvest which might mean the end for chartered vessels. Fedex and Aceto will operate with two boats, instead of three as they did in previous years, to export a third of their products in containers of a regular line.

This year, Fedex and Aceto will stop using one of the three cold storage vessels they’ve been using to ship the tomatoes and cucumbers produced in the island to the European markets and they will export a third of their production in containers, on a regular line on a weekly basis.

According to different sources, the two horticultural organizations from La Luz have closed an agreement with the Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC), a leader in transshipments of La Luz, (which has had a sharp decline in activities in recent months), to transport their shipments.

MSC carries cargo from northern Europe to the African coast and comes back with empty containers, which do not generate revenue. It is on this route that they stop at the port of Las Palmas, once or twice a week, which opens the possibility that exporters could take advantage of these empty TEUs at a good price.

“Both sides win. MSC gain revenue for a route they already have, and that is not generating them any profits, while the exporters reduce costs,” they stated. The hiring of a ship with cold storage can cost more than 7,000 euro a day and exporters were chartering three. Additionally, they would also have to pay to load and unload the pallets on boats and to transfer them in trucks, both at their source and at their destination, which has a higher cost than moving containers. Producers will also save money on the amount of ship rates they have to pay to the Port Authority, according to these sources.

If the test, which will be held during the harvest period (November to March), runs smoothly, this would be the last year that they chartered ships. Starting in 2017, all their shipments would be sent by containers, through some closed agreements with regular lines. In this sense, according to these sources, the producers would maintain their agreement with MSC.