Asparagus is experiencing a huge resurgence as restaurants open back up in Europe with 2021 exports up 86% over the 2020 harvest. Granted, the 2020 pandemic travel lockdown slashed capacity and really interrupted the season mid-March. However, 2021 was a very challenging season based on continued severely reduced schedules and less available capacity than normal seasons.
Asparagus season varies, but in a typical year north of 10 million pounds of asparagus is exported and the largest volume season runs from January through March. At CFI, our Los Angeles headquarters sees truck after truck laden with asparagus which travels from US – Mexico border in-bond and duty-free where we unload, screen and build it to ship to buyers around the world.
In 2020, the largest regions that imported Mexican asparagus were Europe (Germany, Switzerland, UK, Netherlands, etc), and Asia. 2020 was a particularly difficult year due to COVID with each part of the supply chain affected to an extent. From the packing sheds in Mexico to a shortage of trucks coming into the USA, to the flight schedules from LAX to various parts of the world, the disruption was felt across all commodities. With a lack of passengers, fleet belly capacity was greatly reduced alongside a major reduction in flights, especially to high tourist destinations like Spain.
Forging ahead, the outlook is positive as the world is emerging from under the dark cloud of COVID. At CFI, we are already seeing increased numbers of passenger flights to many regions of the world which ultimately gives us more capacity and options to utilize to move asparagus to each country. As more restaurants open, the demand for asparagus on the menu will help keep the export levels high for this cuisine favorite.
While the world is happy that a sense of normalcy is developing, the difficulties with imports and exports are far from over. This is the time when you need a trusted logistics partner who can secure space using their global network of carrier partnerships. CFI has built a strong safety net of communication, mutual respect, and transparency to avoid the major hiccups that are hitting many shippers trying to secure air and sea freight space. We continue deploying creative solutions, avoiding disruptions, and making sure asparagus moves quickly to maintain the peak of freshness from field to table.