Latin and South American economies are growing, and exports of perishable goods (like seafood and produce) are on the rise. This spells opportunity for air cargo, the transport method of choice for time- and temperature-sensitive goods.
Consumption of perishable goods tends to stay constant despite economic fluctuations. This is an opportunity in an otherwise difficult international economy. Major markets, including Peru, Chile, Colombia, Argentina and Brazil, are seeing strong growth. Commodity exports to China and North America are supporting this economic development, and air cargo is making it possible. In 2009, over half of all cargo flown northwards from Latin America was perishable.
One of the biggest year-round commodities shipped from Santiago, Chile and Buenos Aires, Argentina is salmon. About three years ago, a virus – infectious salmon anemia (ISA) – decimated salmon populations and drove down production 90 percent. Today, salmon companies have halted the virus, and production is returning to normal levels – good news not only for seafood lovers in the United States (where most of the salmon is sent) but also for the carriers and forwarders offering regular, daily shipments of salmon. Salmon and trout exports from Chile in January this year hit $352 million, over 50 percent more than in the year prior. Other shipments of perishable cargo to the United States from Latin and South America include fresh-cut flowers – the largest category of imports through Miami from Columbia and Ecuador.
In South America, the biggest and highest yield commodity shipped during the last quarter of the year is berries. Acreage and volume continue to grow, and next year, as much as 70 percent of berries grown in the region will be sent to ports in Hong Kong, Tokyo, Shanghai, Taipei and elsewhere in Asia. While the United States remains the world’s largest berry exporter, South America is making gains. In 2010, 21 percent of all blueberries exported worldwide came from South America.
Fruit is big business for Latin and South America generally. In Argentina, which boasts the second largest land area for organic production (after Australia), there has been a massive increase in fruit exports, from 7,000 tons in 2000 to 40,000 in 2010 – a nearly 500 percent increase.
Latin and South America have long exported perishable goods. Though exports declined in 2009 (coinciding with the global economic downturn), the contraction in perishable exports was less severe in Latin and South American than in other regions. This is partly because South America enjoys a geographic advantage, supplying berries, fruits and produce when other farmers cannot grow, due to seasonal weather.
HOW AA CARGO CAN HELP
Produce, seafood, floral products and other perishable goods all require proper care and handling to avoid spoiling. American offers a special program for perishable cargo departing from, arriving at or transiting through Miami. The program offers temperature-controlled coolers, fast and efficient container handling systems, and pre-cooling before delivery. And with in-house clearance for USDA and customs, shippers and forwarders can be confident in the speedy recovery or quick dispatch of their perishable cargo.