sábado, abril 03, 2010

En Dallas, los terremotos en Chile hacen subir precios de fruta

Según esta nota de Karen Robinson (krobinson@dallasnews.com) de la semana pasada en el  periodico The Dallas Morning News los precios de algunas frutas provistas por Chile se vieron afectados por los terremotos ocurridos. Asimismo heladas en Florida en algunos mismos productos contribuyeron al aumento significativo de precios. Aquí parte de la nota

Distributor Chef's Produce, where Richard Torres is sales manager, has seen grape prices double since Chile's quake. Earthquakes in Chile and frigid temps in Florida have zapped some winter items, especially grapes and tomatoes. Shoppers might see grape prices double, and tomato supplies will be squeezed well into April.

"It's about supply and demand, as pure as it can be," said David Holzworth, the Washington, D.C.-based general counsel for the Chilean Exporters Association. "When you decrease the supply, that means the price goes up." Chileans awoke Feb. 27 to an 8.8-magnitude earthquake, one of the strongest on record. Even though the epicenter was about 70 miles from the southern city of Concepción, the quake caused major damage to the port of Valparaíso, about 350 miles north.

Roads and bridges between the country's ports and the produce-growing regions to the north and south became impassable, pushing the fruit that survived to the back roads, a more time-consuming journey.

Before the earthquake, some fruit was already on ships headed for international ports. But those supplies, which just arrived at U.S. ports, were much less than normal, in part because of frost in some of Chile's main production areas. After the quake, cargo ships had to wait longer to amass full loads, creating a gap of at least 10 days in the supply pipeline to the U.S., Holzworth said. That could have the ripple effect of extending the supply problem past March. "Just being able to get the product shipped out ... has been an issue," said Kroger Co. spokesman Gary Huddleston.

Chef's Produce, a Houston-based distributor, normally orders three or four pallets of green grapes a week, said buyer Steve Kirksharian. A pallet – a standard shipping measure that includes 90 to 110 cases – would cost about $18 to $20 a case, or about $1 a pound, wholesale. Alejandro Mendez  unload cases of fruit at Chef's Produce in Dallas, where grape shipments from Chile have plunged. Now the price has doubled to about $40 a case, he said, "and if we order two or three pallets of green grapes, we might get one."

Fuente Dallas Morning News

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