ZESPRI’s first shipment of kiwifruit to Japan from New Zealand for 2011 is carrying 30,000 litres of packaged water for relief efforts, alongside around 500,000 trays of new season ZESPRI® GOLD kiwifruit.
ZESPRI’s GM Supply Chain, Sally Gardiner, says the 2011 shipping programme has started as planned with the M.V.Haru Verdy leaving Tauranga yesterday bound for Kobe and Tokyo, Japan. A second shipment of ZESPRI® Kiwifruit is due to leave Tauranga early next week, also bound for Tokyo and Kobe.
“Like many New Zealand exporters, ZESPRI has been monitoring the situation in Japan closely following the devastating earthquake and subsequent tsunami there earlier this month,” Ms Gardiner said.
“Our first thoughts were for the safety of our 17 staff based in Japan. We were also concerned for the safety and wellbeing of our customers and distributors there, many with who we have formed strong bonds and friendships over decades of working together.
“Thankfully, they were all safe and well and we continue to ensure that our Japan-based staff and their families are fully supported.
“Given our long association with Japan we wanted to contribute to the relief efforts there by supplying packaged water,” Ms Gardiner said.
ZESPRI would also like to thank the other companies that contributed to getting the shipment of water to Japan; Aquaceuticals NZ, ISO Stevedoring, Tauranga Kiwifruit Logistics, Port of Tauranga Ltd, and Fresh Carriers Co Ltd, the operators of the M.V.Haru Verdy, who are shipping the water for free.
Ms Gardiner said the new season kiwifruit is due to arrive in-market in Japan in mid-April.
“Our suppliers in Japan tell us that demand for ZESPRI® Kiwifruit remains strong, and based on this, our export programme to Japan will continue as planned,” Ms Gardiner said.
“Shortly after these initial shipments to Japan, shipments of ZESPRI® GREEN, GOLD and ORGANIC kiwifruit will begin to other key markets in Asia, Europe and North America.
“The 2011 season is on track to be a strong one. Early indications are that the volume produced during the 2011 season will be similar to last year’s, with around 100 million trays of kiwifruit being exported,” Ms Gardiner said.
In the coming months, around 25,000 people, mostly seasonal workers, will be employed by the New Zealand kiwifruit industry to harvest, pack and ship ZESPRI® GREEN, GOLD and ORGANIC kiwifruit, injecting millions of dollars into the New Zealand economy.