Zespri - the world’s leading kiwifruit marketer - and Belgium’s Port of Zeebrugge, have committed to maintaining Zeebrugge as the gateway to Europe for New Zealand kiwifruit exports. In an agreement signed today in Auckland, New Zealand, before HRH Prince Filip of Belgium, the collaboration between the company SEA-invest and Zespri was extended for another five years. The agreement was first signed in 1984.
HRH Prince Filip is in New Zealand leading a delegation of business people visiting from Belgium.
Under the agreement, SEA-invest puts its infrastructure at the disposal of Zespri for the storage, quality control and packaging of kiwifruit that arrives from New Zealand in Europe via the port of Zeebrugge.
Around 120,000 tonnes of Zespri Kiwifruit is imported through Zeebrugge every year. From Zeebrugge, it is then distributed to 25 markets across Europe.
Zespri CEO, Lain Jager, said Europe was Zespri’s largest market and one of its oldest markets, with New Zealand kiwifruit first being exported to Europe in the 1950s.
“Over that time Zespri has built a reputation for delivering the world’s premium quality kiwifruit for European customers to enjoy. A key part of delivering this is having the Zeebrugge facility to maintain our quality control and meet customer requirements,” Mr Jager said.
Zespri’s General Manager Europe, Bert Barmans, said Zespri’s relationship with SEA-invest was excellent.
“They have worked very closely with us to develop a world-class facility and service to meet our needs since we began our relationship. I look forward to working with them for another five years to continue to develop the level of quality and service we deliver to our customers,” Mr Barmans said.
Mr Barmans said the agreement secures long-term business certainty for both Zespri and Zeebrugge.