As the northern hemisphere growers work on assessing this year’s crop size and monitoring nutrient levels in the developing pecan crop, exporters are packing and shipping pecans to various locations around the globe to be used as ingredients in bakeries or to be offered fresh in local markets and bodegas.
With pecans headed into shipping containers to customers here in the US as well as China and the EU, many exporters have had to reassess their use of desiccants inside the shipping containers.
As we all adjust to this “new normal” way of life, we are seeing port wait times increase as some shipping ports around the globe are experiencing the effects of Covid-19, and just like the rest of us, have experienced delays all along the supply chain. From delayed loadings, delayed ships, and ports dealing with skeleton crews trying to stay healthy, longer wait times are resulting in pecans sitting in shipping containers longer than usual and in some cases much longer than anticipated.
While most pecans are shipped in reefer units, many in-shell buyers still ship in-shell pecans in dry box containers, and these are the pecans that are most at risk. Pecans can of course ship in non reefer containers as long as the moisture is controlled inside of the shipping container. With Covid-19 increasing delays at shipping lanes around the globe, pecan exporters are taking extra precautions with moisture control or “container rain”.
According to one company that tracks shipping and port schedules around the globe,“The shipping industry has been one of the most significantly affected industries amid the coronavirus outbreak. Owing to port delays, shipments have been stalled across the globe with exporters and importers struggling to track their shipments”.
With high value pecan products sitting inside shipping containers, some pecan exporters have had to rethink their approach to controlling moisture inside the shipping container. According to the Eurolog packing group approximately 10% of cargo is lost due to moisture damage.
One exporter said they recently evaluated their moisture control in shipping containers and found that they were using around half of the recommended quantity needed for proper absorption. “We initially doubled our blankets”.
As we all adjust to the “new normal” of a coronavirus economy, pecan exporters find that assessing their operations for vulnerabilities can ensure customers are happy.