Coming off from a record year for foreign trade in 2021, Peru is now well positioned to continue growing its export volume, which reached nearly 35% last year—the highest on record for the country.
Peru’s agribusiness sector played an important role in the country’s overall trade increases in 2021. In fact, its exports of fresh grapes, blueberries, avocados, coffee, and asparagus (among other products) increased by 18% in 2021 and contributed to an overall 35% growth in the country’s export volume.
Today, Peru’s agribusiness sector exports nearly 650 different products to international destinations. “Agribusiness is of utmost importance for the development of the country,” said Luis Loayza, Perishables Manager at DB Schenker Peru.
Approximately 2,500 companies contribute to the $8.9 billion (USD) in goods that are shipped to 140 markets around the world, with Peru’s major trading partners that include the US, the UK, the Netherlands, Spain and Chile.
A labor-intensive sector, Peru’s agribusiness industry provided about 900,000 jobs in 2021—an increase of 15.4% over the prior year—due to an increase in shipments of superfoods like pomegranate arils to foreign markets.
Biodiversity and Sustainability
Known for its biodiversity, sustainability and counter-seasonal supply, Peru is able to meet the international demand for its perishable products at different times throughout the year. This is why the country is among the world leaders in perishable products, with some of its biggest crops including:
#1 in the world for blueberries, fresh asparagus and fresh grapes
#2 for fresh avocados
#3 for mango and tangerines
These products are exported by sea and air to different destinations, and DB Schenker Peru plays a key role in ensuring that those perishable goods arrive at their destinations in a timely, secure and fresh manner. “Our goal is to ensure shipments reach their final destinations within the agreed times,” said Loayza. “We maintain an optimal cold chain to ensure product quality.”
Securing Necessary Space
DB Schenker has specialized in shipping perishable cargo by air, with its main product being fresh asparagus that is destined for the US market. The global logistics provider also handles pomegranate arils, foliage, blueberries, snow peas, mangoes and other perishable items that must be kept at a specific temperature (according to the nature of the product).
According to Loayza, one of the main challenges is that the local airfreight market also
competes with other countries of origin (i.e., Chile, Colombia, Argentina and Brazil) which means the supply of air export space is reduced during months when production peaks. For asparagus, this occurs during the 6-month period between August and January.
“Securing export space during this period has become a key challenge for freight forwarders,” Loayza explained. “This is why it’s important that we negotiate with our carriers to secure the necessary space and meet our customers’ delivery timeframe expectations.”
DB Schenker also must maintain a complex cold chain for the perishable products, both in terms of receiving the cargo and shipping from the airline’s warehouse to the final destinations. “Currently in Lima there are three refrigeration warehouses that are located in the primary zone,” said Loayza, “and they feature security measures to prevent drug trafficking.”
Special Care and Handling
As one of the main logistics operators handling the shipment of asparagus from Peru to Miami, DB Schenker is also a leader in the export of pomegranate arils from Granada to both New York and Los Angeles. These arils require special handling from the time the pomegranates are peeled by hand—revealing their high-value fruit—until they reach their US destinations.
With their incredibly high levels of vitamin C, vitamin K, potassium, and fiber, pomegranates have earned the title of “superfood.” DB Schenker has more than 10 years of experience handling this type of produce, and along the way has earned the trust of the country’s main exporters.
Transporting these high-value perishable goods requires specialized knowledge, reliability and quality, not to mention extreme attention to detail and cost-effective transportation options.
“Since arils are fairly delicate, there’s a risk that the fruit may become damaged during shipping and handling,” said Loayza. “For the transfer to the final destination, we maintain the load with gel packs and constantly monitor transit times.”
DB Schenker kicked off its “Arilos de Granada” campaign in February and aims to achieve a 60% growth in these shipments as a result of this campaign. “Moving perishable products around the world has become a global business with sophisticated logistics requirements,” said Loayza. “We have the experience to meet the challenges of the perishables business.”
The Future Looks Bright
This year, DB Schenker Peru began diversifying both in terms of products that it manages and markets that it reaches. “We’ve prepared ourselves to increase our exports to Europe and Asia,” said Loayza, whose team recently participated in the Fruit Logistica Berlin fair, where it was introduced to new customers and potential markets.
The future looks bright for Peru’s perishables market and for DB Schenker Peru, which will continue to grow and expand along with the markets and customers that it serves.
“DB Schenker Peru maintains a close relationship with the main carriers and within our global logistics network. We are also launching the service of ocean reefers later this year,” said Loayza.
“Going forward, we plan to continue strengthening our alliances with carriers and collaborating with our offices around the world,” he said, “which are fundamental pillars to expanding our base of clients, products and destinations. At DB Schenker Peru, we’re excited about the future.”