ZIM Develops Route to Export Avocado from Mexico to Spain
Mexico is one of the world’s largest avocado exporters, with most of the produce exported by truck to the US. Other target markets include the Far East, Europe, and some countries of the Mediterranean, where transportation is by sea.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture’s Avocado Annual report of December 2019: https://bit.ly/2O6jd5U
“Mexico remains the top supplier to the United States (who is the largest global importer of avocados), with 87 percent of market share in 2018”. The two main avocado-producing states are Jalisco and Michoacán, and according to the report “In MY 2018/19 Michoacán accounted for 76 percent of national production, followed by Jalisco and Mexico, with 9.2 and 4.5 percent respectively.” Both states increase their exports at rates of 30% year over year.
Recently, ZIM decided to capture this important market, focusing on avocado exports from Mexico to Spain primarily. We decided to provide ‘door-to-door’ service, and out biggest challenge was building the trust of our customers. Growers are used to working with certain companies at certain prices, and since avocado is a high-value cargo, convincing them to put their trust in ZIM was our main task.
The main focus was to provide excellent service with a young fleet of controlled-atmosphere (CA) reefers. Although exports to Spain are relatively small compared to total avocado exports, the strategic decision was to focus our efforts on getting a foot on the market. We hired sales specialists in reefer cargo whose sole task was to become familiar with the specific needs of the local farmers and put at the disposal of our customers a dedicated reefers’ team (sales, customer service and operations).
We work with both avocado growers and with large freight forwarders. Our proposition is end to end, from negotiation, through value proposition, to shipment. Once they decide to book with ZIM, our support teams go into high gear. Customer service sets the dates when the reefers have to be at a customer’s premises, while operations coordinate the pickup with the trucking company, delivery to the port, shipment, and delivery to the destination. The produce is loaded at the customers’ plants, transported by road to the port of Altamira, and from there to their end destination in the Mediterranean. Any issues that arise during transportation are handled superbly by our support personnel, who provide 24/7 service.
The results this year couldn’t have been more successful. ZIM boasts the youngest CA reefers in Mexico, which ensures that avocado preserves its quality, taste, and freshness during the long voyage between the countries. As a result, our target for next year is to double our market share, develop more trades (for example, pharmaceuticals), improve transit time, and add more destinations. One such example is our plans to open a line from Mexico to Tampa, to provide an alternative to trucks at competitive prices.
All our customers indicate our very high level of service, personal care and newest fleet of CA reefers compared to other shipping lines. One of our salient advantages is that we always have a stock of free containers at Altamira so we can react quickly to any demand that may arise from the field. Our customers are extremely satisfied with our personalized attention.