By Jacob Darling, GM Group Sales and Marketing
Week 44 marks the halfway point for Just Avocados’ crop exported.
Our volumes to date are running about 7% ahead of industry volumes which is in line with our focus on picking larger volumes early to manage orchard productivity long term.
Australia continues to take 80% of Just Avocados’ volume with the priority on supplying Australian retail.
Shipping delays continue to be the major challenge for the 2020-21 season.
We have experienced considerable delays and disruptions out of New Zealand over the past few months.
These delays have been the result of multiple factors, including:
- Ongoing industrial action across all Australian ports with rolling strikes resulting in vessel berthing delays.
- Typhoon season in Asia causing delays to inbound vessels.
- Different Covid-19 requirements for vessel crews across different states in Australia forcing carriers to make changes in port rotations meaning vessels are arriving outside their scheduled berthing windows.
- Strong import volumes into Australia combined with reduced export volumes meaning a large surplus of empty containers clogging up empty container depots in Sydney in particular.
- A fatality at the Port of Auckland in late August resulted in significant delays and congestion there. This congestion flowed on to Port of Tauranga as importers and exporters shift volumes away from Auckland.
These actions have not only added cost to the supply chain but also created very irregular shipping schedules, often resulting in large 10-14 day gaps in vessel departures, typically followed by 2-3 vessels departing in the same week – which makes planning loadouts and minimising fruit age to market an extremely challenging process.
We remain optimistic that the situation will improve in the lead up to the Christmas/New Year period, but all signs suggest the challenging shipping environment is likely to persist for the remainder of the season.
Asia has been a highlight for Just Avocados this season. We have only placed 20% of total volume into the Asian markets but we have had successful sea freight outturns in all of our key markets – Singapore, Korea, Thailand, China and Taiwan. Just Avocados represents over 25% market share of all New Zealand volume into these key markets which puts us in great stead for future seasons where we will need our Asian customers to take more significant volumes.
We have placed a massive focus on supply chain management this season, mitigating on shore fruit age by optimising our picking and packing timelines. We have also made changes to our onshore logistics by trucking large volumes from Northland to the Bay of Plenty for prepacking to take advantage of Tauranga port services inclusive of avoiding weekend delays that have challenged us in the north. This has contributed to great outturns in Asia especially considering the fruit has been 35 days old in some cases.
Promotions in Asia
Following our activity to kick off the season in Thailand, we have been busy fulfilling requests from customers in China and Hong Kong who are keen to utilise our point of sale material. This has included the creation of three “Grower stories” videos featuring three orchards in the Bay of Plenty. These will initially have Chinese subtitles but will also be offered to customers in other countries with further translations.