Mr. Loayza, why does asparagus play such a large role in Peru’s economy?
Peru is recognized the world over for the quality of its product. This is due to the mild temperatures and low rainfall in the coastal areas of the country which have an ideal climate for the cultivation of asparagus throughout the year. That is why a large proportion of the harvest is sold fresh, making Peru the world’s second largest exporter of fresh asparagus after China.
How is that reflected in figures?
By 2018, the Peruvian asparagus crop is on track to grow by approximately three percent, due primarily to an increase in the areas sown and an improvement in yields. When this happens, asparagus exports from the country will reach 550 million dollars. Just to give you another figure: in Peru, asparagus agriculture is a vital job generator. In addition to the jobs generated in the industry, asparagus activity provides the country with an estimated 50,000 decentralized jobs along the Peruvian coast.
Where is Peru’s asparagus exported to – and how does DB Schenker come into play?
It’s destined for markets around the world. But primarily, Peru’s asparagus goes to the USA, which accounts for 70 percent of the exports. Other big markets include the Netherlands, Great Britain and Spain. To support this vital and growing industry, DB Schenker Peru helps growers secure their shipments to their final destinations. In addition to that, the industry’s success has been transferred to other products. That is why we also handle the logistics and transportation for other perishable products such as foliage, pomegranates, cranberries, avocados, snow peas and mangos.
What are the challenges involved?
The products need to arrive on time and in a way that optimizes the cold food chain. That is a demanding task – and not just in terms of the handling itself. We have so much experience in handling perishables that we’re able to rise to any challenge. But we are competing with other industries for warehouse space and trucking as well as airfreight capacity. Chile, Colombia, Argentina and Brazil, for example, are all wine-producing countries that require high capacities between August and January – right around the same time when asparagus is picked, packaged and shipped.
How do you deal with that?
DB Schenker maintains two refrigerated warehouses in Lima, both of which are located in “primary zones.” This means, for example, that these facilities are equipped with extensive security measures to prevent drug trafficking. As far as transportation goes, it is important to negotiate with our carriers to have the allotments in place. That is the only way we can meet our customers’ agreed-upon shipment times, which is a task we take very seriously.
What are the trends you see in your market?
Peru is currently increasing its exports of various fruits and vegetables. Just take pomegranates, which have played an important role for us over the past five years. During this time, our shipper-customers have watched their annual sales grow year after year. As a result, the demands placed on us have risen accordingly. Due to its high perishability, the pomegranates’ temperature must maintain the parameters requested by the customer. For the transfer to the final destination, we use gel packs to protect the cargo while also closely monitoring transit times. Another trend is the increasing importance of the Asian markets! We’ll be specializing in the logistics to these new destinations, with a focus on managing the cold chain across even longer distances.
Want to learn more about DB Schenker’s global perishable logistics services? Take a look here!
Ideal climate: mild temperatures and low rainfall make Peru’s coastal areas the perfect location for cultivating asparagus. A large proportion of the harvest is sold fresh
Photo: iStock / Juanmonino
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