The first shipment of what is expected to be a record season of New Zealand-grown Zespri Kiwifruit is now on route to Tokyo and Busan.
The fruit is aboard the MV Kakariki, the second of three new specialised reefer vessels built by Fresh Carriers to ship New Zealand-grown kiwifruit to Zespri’s Asian markets, with the ship expected to complete its maiden voyage in early April.
Alastair Hulbert, Zespri’s Chief Global Supply Officer explained that the MV Kakariki is the first of 57 planned charter reefer vessels under Zespri’s shipping programme this season, up from the 49 charter vessels used last season. This season will see five sailings to North Europe, 12 to the Mediterranean and 40 to Zespri’s Asian markets. Zespri also expects to send around 18,000 containers of kiwifruit.
“We’re expecting to supply around 177 million trays of kiwifruit this season, or approximately 700,000 tonnes, which will be a record-breaking crop of New Zealand-grown Zespri Kiwifruit,” said Hulbert.
“Our latest forecasts indicate we could potentially reach 100 million trays of Zespri SunGold Kiwifruit this season which would be a significant milestone for the industry and reflects the growing popularity of the variety since its commercialisation 10 years ago. We’re also excited to be providing consumers in China with their first opportunity to try Zespri Red Kiwifruit.”
The red variety will be available in New Zealand stores shortly, with the first shipments scheduled to arrive in Singapore, Japan and China in early April.