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New Dalian ‘Cherry Express’ Line Bolsters Northeast China’s Cherry Distribution Capacity

January 16, 2023

The arrival of the Maersk container ship Tinos at the city of Dalian in China’s Liaoning province on Jan. 11 marked the official launch of the first “Cherry Express” shipping route serving Northeast China. These Cherry Express sailings will carry fresh cherries non-stop from Chile to the Port of Dalian, shortening the shipping time and bringing consumers in Northeast China fresher cherries and other fruits from South America.

The opening of the route not only illustrates the deepening cooperation between fruit importer and distributor Dalian Yidu Group and global shipping company Maersk but also provides a new seasonal direct trunk line between South America and the Port of Dalian for non-fruit goods. The launch of the Dalian Cherry Express furthermore enhances the Port of Dalian’s fresh fruit intake, distribution and service capacities and extends its reach further into China’s northeastern regions.

On the afternoon of Jan. 11, the Port of Dalian’s operator, the Liaoning Port Group, and the Chilean Fruit Exporters Association (ASOEX) held a ceremony celebrating the launch of the Dalian Cherry Express and the signing of a memorandum of understanding on enhancing cooperation on cherry imports and distribution to supply Northeast China.

A range of important stakeholders attended the ceremony. Among these were representatives from the Dalian municipal government, the Liaoning provincial government, and ASOEX and its Chilean Cherry Committee. Officials from the local free-trade zone management committee and customs, maritime, border inspection and other government agencies were also in attendance, along with import agents, e-commerce company employees, shipping operators and other industry representatives.

The Tinos departed from San Antonio in Chile on Dec. 20 and arrived at the Port of Dalian on Jan. 11. At 22 days, the sailing time of the Dalian Cherry Express is similar to the Cherry Express routes to Hong Kong and Nansha in South China’s Pearl River Delta region, which have been operating since 2017. Cherry Express sailings shave up to 18 days off of traditional ocean shipping routes that call at other ports in the Pacific during the trip from Chile to China.

The inaugural Dalian Cherry Express voyage carried a total of 616 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU) of Chilean cherries, of which 592 TEU were offloaded at Dalian and delivered to wholesale markets in Northeast and North China, maintaining an unbroken cold chain from farm to market. The remaining 24 TEU are being transferred to South Korea via the Port of Dalian, demonstrating the port’s importance as a regional and global maritime shipping hub.

Liaoning Port Group has been pushing in recent years to establish the Port of Dalian as a world-class port — leveraging its strategic location on the tip of the Liaodong Peninsula and aligning its goals with China’s national Belt and Road Initiative. As part of its aspirations, the group intends to build the Port of Dalian into one of coastal China’s key imported fruit distribution hubs. To this end, it is investing in bolstering its cold chain logistics capacity and streamlining customs clearance procedures.

Three fruit companies — Dalian Yidu, Dalian Shounong and Goodfarmer — have seized on the strengths of the Port of Dalian to jointly build a Northeast Asia Banana Trading Center there. With this new facility, the companies have been able to build a fully integrated value chain that spans port collection and distribution, inspection, storage, processing (ripening with advanced international technology, sorting and packing), trading, distribution and delivery. Cargo can reach the storage and processing center directly from the dock in 15 minutes after arriving at the port and then finish ripening and leave the warehouse in five days. In essence, the companies have created a new logistics mode in which green bananas are ripened directly at the dock and from there supplied directly to retailers.

As part of its mission to provide leading cold chain services, Yidu in the future plans to take full advantage of the Port of Dalian’s mature network of wharfs, logistics services, feeder lines, and road, rail and air shipping links. By integrating these resources with advanced cold chain logistics and digital supply chain, e-commerce, finance and trading platforms, Yidu intends to lay the foundation for the development of an advanced international cold chain distribution system.

Images: Yidu Group

This article was based on a Chinese article. Read the original article.

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