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Bob Larson Jetting Cherries to Asia Pt 2
by Bob Larson, click here for bio

Program: Fruit Grower Report
Date: July 09, 2018

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With today’s Fruit Grower Report, I’m Bob Larson. 747’s filled with Northwest cherries are flying out of Grant County International Airport this harvest season, instead of Sea-Tac, in a test run to see if it makes sense to move operations closer to the orchards.

Port of Moses Lake director Jeff Bishop says Sea-Tac does have certain advantages…

BISHOP … “So, traditionally it’s just been easier because there’s more options with aircraft. There’s commercial passenger service that can utilize the belly cargo for. So, there’s just more charter-related options in Sea-Tac than there has been in Moses Lake. You have to really dedicate a charter to Moses Lake to be able to handle it. So, something has to happen in the business model that will offset that cost availability of the

available charters in Sea-Tac.”

Bishop says the most critical component is the cold chain to protect the cherries…

BISHOP … “Our current customer is CPA Cargo which is one of our fixed-base operators and they’ve converted some of their existing hangars to cold storage. So, if the test goes well, there may very well be some extra effort in the future to build additional facilities.”

But, Bishop says only time will tell …

BISHOP … “So, the question’s going to be who would be investing in building the cold storage? That remains to be seen, but after we get done with the season and the parties that are involved in it have a chance to take a look at the data and evaluate it, then we’ll all come together and make a decision as to whether or not to expand the program into next year.”

Bishop says the trade war impacts cherries a little differently than other fruit because the Chinese see them as more of a luxury item than a commodity.

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