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First Shipment of Canadian Blueberries Arrives Tomorrow

August 27, 2015
E. S. Jackson

In June of this year, the “Canadian Blueberry China Export Protocol” was signed, after nearly ten years of negotiation and talks. The very first shipment of Canadian blueberries are expected to arrive tomorrow via air, officially entering the Chinese market. Produce Report learned that this shipment is a high quality batch of fruit from Berry Haven Farm, being imported by Shanghai Oheng Import & Export Co. In accordance with regulations, the shipment is divided into a batch of 35 kilograms and a batch weighing 315 kilograms. The berries are being shipped on the same flight, and are due to arrive August 28.

Oheng Import & Export Co. is headquartered in Shanghai, and has been deeply involved in the import of fruit for over ten years. They provide integrated services including agents, customs clearance, logistics, and consulting. Oheng's Air Shipment Division Manager Zhang Lu told reporters that Oheng was the first company in the country to obtain permanent licenses and is the first to import Canadian blueberries.

Oheng's representative said this shipment is mainly just a token. Since the time interval was so short between obtaining permissions to export to China, and the actual harvest, there was not enough time for proper commodity inspection. It is expected that normal exports will begin next year. However, considering it is already the end of the season, and because this year is the first time to test the waters, Zhang said it is difficult to make predictions about future imports.

China's domestic blueberry market has great potential, but the only countries from which blueberries can be imported are Chile and Canada. From a price perspective, Canadian blueberries are not superior. Aside from relatively high labor costs, Canadian blueberries also have a tax rate of 46.9 percent, while Chilean blueberries only have a tax rate of 13 percent. But Zhang said the Canadian blueberry harvest season is just right to fill the gap between the domestic and Chilean blueberry seasons. Zhang expressed that this timing, coupled with excellent quality, means great expectations for Canadian blueberry performance in the Chinese market.

Yidu Group also revealed their intention to import Canadian blueberries. Though the timing was too tight for this year, they will have a chance to take action the next season. Yidu pointed out that within the country, sales this year in traditional growing areas such as Shandong and Liaoning have been good, there is an especially good variety, and, because blueberries are basically in short supply, the price has increased over last year. Since domestic blueberries are decreasing in the market at this time of year, Canadian blueberries are perfectly timed to supplement the market in September.

Image Source: Pixabay

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