News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Tues. Nov. 24, 2020: When it comes to online casinos, there has arguably never been a better time to get involved in this burgeoning industry. Whether as a player or a casino business, this is an industry that is growing rapidly and as such, it offers something to please everyone.
Across the globe, players are flocking to the web to enjoy online casino games. Yet the practice is more easily accessible in some countries than others. In Europe, players are more or less free to enjoy whatever games they like, whenever they want to! In other nations, such as much of the USA, online gambling remains largely illegal and punishable with harsh penalties.
In other areas, such as Latin America, online gambling falls somewhere in between these two extremes. In this article, we will take a close look at online casino gaming across the region of Latin America. We will look to provide in-depth answers to the question: Is playing online casino legal in Latin America?
So, without further ado, let’s take a look at the first element in our rundown of online casino gaming across the region of Latin America.
Across the Latin American world, players love to enjoy all kinds of online casino games! From slots to poker to roulette, players in Central and South America, as well as across the Caribbean, love to play online casinos.
One of the most widely enjoyed games in Latin America is roulette, with players seemingly enamoured with the thrills that this casino game provides in spades. Check out some of the web’s top online roulette games using this link.
Is playing online casino legal in Latin America?
As in much of the world, playing online casino in Latin America is largely very easy. The majority of countries in Latin America permit online casino gaming in some way or another. Indeed, even those nations that have safeguards against playing rarely act to prevent gamers from enjoying online casino games.
Only two nations in the region have regulatory bodies for online casinos. These are Argentina and Peru. In these nations, it is best to stick to local casino sites as they are much more likely to be safe. Across the rest of the region, players are free to play sites from pretty much anywhere in the world, providing the sites accept players from the Latin American nation in question.
As with many other countries, any regulations preventing online gambling in Latin America are usually aimed at stopping casinos from operating rather than the players. Huge companies such as 888 Casino and 22Bet are open to players from certain Latin American countries, so players from this region should have no issues accessing high-quality gaming options!
Overall, the online casino situation in Latin America is one of the easiest to navigate. Largely, it is perfectly fine to play online casinos in Latin America and players should have no worries about enjoying their top games in this part of the world!
An internal email obtained by The New York Times onOct. 30 says migrant children from South America are being transferred to Mexico, where they may have no family to retrieve them. This violates American Public Health Service (PHS) policies.
On March 20, the Trump administration announced that it will no longer detain most undocumented immigrants at the border in efforts to combat the threat of COVID-19 in detention facilities and to personnel. The objective was to begin rapidly sending people who illegally cross the United States borders back to their home countries and would halt the processing of undocumented migrants at ports of entry. U.S. border authorities have been expelling migrant children from other countries into Mexico, violating a diplomatic agreement with Mexico, and testing the limits of immigration and child welfare laws. The details of the expulsions were laid out in a sharply critical internal email transmitted between senior border patrol officials, stating that the actions have been taking place under an aggressive border closure directive set forth by the Trump administration. According to the New York Times, the email stated that the spread of COVID-19 is the motivating factor.
Chad Wolf, the acting secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), said the United States would also close the legal entry points along the border with Mexico and Canada to tourism. American citizens, lawful permanent residents, and those crossing a border seeking medical treatment or attend educational institutions would not be affected. Commercial traffic would remain open and port officers would stop processing those without legal authority to be in the United States, including asylum seekers, The New York Times reports.
On May 27, Refugees International issued a statement detailing the indefinite suspension of protection for asylum seekers, stating they “strenuously object to the administration’s exploitation of the COVID-19 pandemic as a pretext to implement indefinite, illegal and life-threatening restrictions on humanitarian protections at the southern U.S. border.”
The order was issued by the CDC and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as an action notice.It states:
“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a component of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), announces the issuance of an Order under Section 362 and 365 of the Public Health Service Act that suspends the introduction of certain persons from countries where an outbreak of a communicable disease exists. The Order was issued on March 20, 2020.”
According to Sections 362 and 365 of the Public Health Service (PHS) Act and their implementing regulations, the CDC director is authorized to suspend the introduction of “persons into the United States when the Director determines that the existence of a communicable disease in a foreign country or place creates a serious danger of the introduction of such disease into the United States” and the danger is increased by the introduction of persons from the foreign country or place.
The suspension of such persons’ introductions was deemed “necessary to protect the public health” and was applied to persons traveling from Canada or Mexico who would otherwise be introduced into a congregate setting in a land Port of Entry (POE) or a Border Patrol station at or near the United States borders. The order refers to “those persons” who are subject to immigration processing in the land POEs and Border Patrol stations andwho are typically classified as “aliens who lack valid travel documents and are therefore inadmissible.” They are held in the common areas of the facilities, keptin close proximity to one another for days as they undergo immigration processing. The expressed concern was that the common areas of the detention facilities were not designed for or equipped to quarantine, isolate or enable social distancing by persons who have been diagnosed or may possibly be infected with COVID-19.
According to the DHS newsroom, within six weeks, DHS used the CDC order to block and remove at least 21,000 people in detainment centers. The Human Rights First non-profit organization states that it’s highly likely that thousands of asylum-seekers have been included in this estimate.
Over 1,000unaccompanied children and minors are being expelled to places where they face the risk of kidnapping, rape and murder, without the legally required opportunity to seek protection in the United States, according to the New York Times.
Under the CDC order, border officers are expelling some Central American children and asylum seekers to Mexico, as well as refusing to accept protection requests from Cameroonians, Cubans, Eritreans, Venezuelans and other asylum seekers. Human Rights First reports that they have been blocking screenings for asylum seekers returned to Mexico under the so-called Migrant Protection Protocols, including those kidnapped and tortured there.
The Kids in Need of Defense (KIND) organization visited both formal and informal refugee camps and shelters in Tijuana, Mexico in Dec. 2018 to examine the conditions that the unaccompanied children are facing in U.S. custody. They found children living in squalid conditions, in grave danger, in fear and suffering greatly while waiting to be allowed to present at the port of entry. Not only are the children facing food insecurity and are left without running water, but they are also living outside in cold and wet conditions for weeks. As a result, many of the children needed medical care. Some unaccompanied children were (and still are) systematically prevented from applying for protection in the U.S., a significant violation of U.S. and international law.
According to the Texas Tribune, some children have tested positive for COVID-19 since arriving atthe facilities and are facing deportation. Administration officials have said that they can’t risk infected children spreading COVID-19 through the system. Yet even after children test negative for the virus, they aren’t being allowed to access the usual protections.
Just Security reports that these expulsions blatantly violate U.S. law and treaty obligations to protect those seeking humanitarian protection. House members of the Foreign Affairs Committeehave written that the administration’s legal justification is “deeply flawed” and “raises serious questions about the Administration’s respect for the rule of law.”
The United Nations addressed the issue of asylum-seeking at the beginning of the COVID-19 global pandemic on March 16, 2020, when posting the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) guidelines for international COVID-19 response to refworld.org.These guidelines state:
“This paper sets out key legal considerations, based on international refugee and human rights law, on access to territory for persons seeking international protection in the context of measures taken by States to restrict the entry of non-nationals for the protection of public health in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. It reconfirms thatwhile States may put in place measures which may include a health screening or testing of persons seeking international protection upon entry and/or putting them in quarantine, such measures may not result in denying them an effective opportunity to seek asylum or result in refoulment.”
This means thatthe right to seek asylum isbased on the principle of non-refoulment or the forcible return of refugees or asylum seekers to a country where they are liable to be subjected to persecution. This guideline was set forth by the UN to prohibit, without discrimination, any state conduct leading to the “return in any manner whatsoever” of refugeesto an unsafe foreign territory, including rejection at the frontier or non-admission to the territory.
In what has already been a drier-than-normal planting season for the main-producing regions of South America, dry conditions look to continue for at least parts of the region. Continued dry conditions are concerning as we are entering a period where there are higher moisture requirements for crops. The next two weeks will be critical for some of Brazil’s soybean and corn growing areas as stress will quickly build if a drier pattern continues.
For the seven-day period of November 20–26, 2020, precipitation will continue at a deficit across much of Brazil’s main producing states, including Sao Paulo, Mato Grosso, and Mato Grosso do Sul. However, there may be some favorable wetter conditions in Rio Grande do Sul with wetter trends extending into some of the main-producing states of Argentina. Drier-than-normal conditions in Argentina will be reserved to far northern and western locations of the country.
Although wetter trends are expected in the short-term across far southern Brazil and main-producing regions in Argentina, the long-term pattern favors drier-than-normal conditions due, in large part, to a strong La Niña. In fact, current forecasts indicate that La Niña will strengthen further by January 2021, which reinforces the forecast for drier-than-normal conditions, particularly across southern Brazil and northeastern Argentina.
MEXICO CITY — Joe Biden’s election will impact Latin America in several ways. One is a change in tone. Another is foreign policy per se, which given the asymmetry between the United States and the rest of the hemisphere, is always significant. And more so today, in view of the growing need for a multilateral approach to the Coronavirus pandemic.
But perhaps the most important one is inspiration, or the transmission of ideas. This has historical precedents.
In the early 1930s, after Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s election and the New Deal, Latin America took note of events in the United States. Everyone was suffering from the Depression’s devastating effects: skyrocketing unemployment, collapsing commodity prices, institutional breakdown.
Coups had toppled governments in Brazil and Argentina; later, authoritarian regimes fell in Chile and Cuba. The region would find inspiration in Washington. Politicians like Lázaro Cárdenas in Mexico, Getúlio Vargas in Brazil, Ramón Grau San Martín in Cuba, the Popular Front and Pedro Aguirre Cerda in Chile and others all put forward New Deal-like approaches, some more radical than F.D.R.’s, some more moderate. This American “soft power” complemented the Good Neighbor Policy.
But in the 1980s, the United States influence headed in the opposite direction. In one Latin American country after another, the foreign debt crisis and Ronald Reagan’s election gave birth to “Reagonomics in the tropics,” or what came to be known as the Washington Consensus or neoliberalism. Carlos Salinas in Mexico, Carlos Menem in Argentina, the Pinochet dictatorship in Chile, all followed the United States’ example, most of the time more radically.
With Mr. Biden, a new response to the pandemic and the ensuing economic contraction, together with a deeper push to repair and expand the tattered American social safety net, may provoke a corresponding change in Latin America.
A lack of a clear mandate for Mr. Biden, as well as the likely results in the Senate, could derail this scenario. A poor substitute would be a so-called “change in tone.” Instead of Trump’s “bullying,” Mr. Biden would restore an era of “mutual respect,” “shared responsibility” and “willingness to listen.”
The region needs inspiration and foreign policy from Washington, not platitudes or mealy-mouthed slogans. Mr. Trump placated Latin American presidents like Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil, Andrés Manuel López Obrador of Mexico and Nayib Bukele of El Salvador, who considered him an ally. Mr. Biden should — and surely will — change United States foreign policy toward the region significantly,despite a possible Senate Republican majority.
The most important issue for Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean will be immigration and asylum policy. President López Obrador of Mexico willingly followed Mr. Trump’s instructions on stopping the flow of Central American migrants. He harbored nearly 80,000 asylum or emigration seekers from Central America, Cuba, Haiti and other nations in miserable camps along the United States-Mexico border. Nonetheless, his country will be relieved when the Migrant Protection Protocol or “Remain in Mexico” is eliminated.
Hopefully, unaccompanied children from other countries will no longer be sent to Mexico, nor to their own countries without a hearing in the United States. Bona fide asylum applicants will be heard and processed. The United States will adhere to the growing international consensus on criminal violence, intradomestic violence and climate change as legitimate grounds for asylum.
Most important, Mr. Biden has pledged to send a bill to Congress with a “path to citizenship” for the eleven million undocumented aliens in the United States, a vast majority from Mexico, Central American and the Caribbean. He has also said he will insist on the Obama administration’s definitive Dreamer legalization, benefiting more than 700,000 young people, mainly Mexicans or Central Americans, with a path to citizenship.
If Mr. Biden delivers on another promise, a significant chunk of resources will be transferred to the “Northern Triangle” nations of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. The $4 billion he has earmarked are way superior to the sums he distributed during the Obama administration as the head of the Alliance for Prosperity. They will not necessarily halt migration, let alone violence, but the difference in approach will be immediately apparent.
Likewise, on drug enforcement, even if Mr. Biden continues the traditional American war on drugs far away from United States borders, the announced legalization of marijuana will send a dramatically different message to every Latin American drug-producing or transiting country. Such a radical change, at a federal level, in the American drug-enforcement policy and attitudes, will inevitably generate discussion and reform in many places. The region continues to be plagued by astronomical rates of violence and corruption traceable to the drug wars it wages at Washington’s urging.
On issues that also matter to South American countries, and of course the Caribbean, it seems likely that Mr. Biden, if we believe his foreign policy speakers, will seek to return to Obama’s normalization of relations with Cuba. He may insist a bit more than Mr. Obama on human rights and democracy, but mainly seek to restore tourist trade, financial and political ties with Havana. But he might also insist that Raúl Castro cooperate with Washington and the rest of Latin America, especially Colombia, in finding a solution to the dramatic Venezuelan crisis.
The latter is perhaps the most delicate issue for Mr. Biden in Latin America. On the one hand, every attempt to do away with the dictatorship of Nicolás Maduro has failed. On the other, the economic, social, political and humanitarian situation in Venezuela deteriorates by the day. Clearly, the only exit lies in free, fair and internationally supervised presidential elections, without Mr. Maduro and with guarantees for Chavismo and the longstanding Cuban benefactors of Venezuelan petroleum largess. Every attempt to put this outcome on the negotiating table has failed. Mr. Biden could conceivably make it work. Trying to bring in China, along with Cuba, and neutralizing declining Russian support, as well as recruiting Mexican and Argentine backing for a solution along the grounds just mentioned, might do the trick. A long shot, but the only one around.
Another long shot involves President Bolsonaro of Brazil and convincing him to modify his stance on climate change. As long as the Amazon is considered a domestic Brazilian matter, and logging and grazing companies are allowed to burn forest as they see fit, any “green minded” American administration will be at odds with Brazil. This will require a great deal of diplomatic heavy lifting. Mr. Biden will probably end the Trump-Bolsonaro love affair, which has brought no benefit to Brazil, to the United States nor to a world that sorely needs the protection of its Amazon lung.
Mr. Biden inspires Latin America by advocating the values the United States should stand for: human rights, democracy, fighting corruption, managing climate change. Second, by being a foundational president and rebuilding an American welfare state worthy of the name, giving the millions of socially disenfranchised Biden and Trump voters the social safety net they deserve. And finally, he can inspire Latin Americans who have always embraced multilateralism by returning to multilateralism whether it be to institutions or to values.A mouthful? Yes: Latin America should expect nothing less.
Jorge G. Castañeda is the author of “America Through Foreign Eyes.” He is a professor at New York University and a contributing opinion writer who covers Latin American politics and culture.
News Americas, BRASILIA, Brazil, Mon, Nov. 23, 2020: “The culture of hate and racism needs to be combated at its source and the full weight of the law should be used to punish those that promote hate and racism,” says Rodrigo Maia, the speaker of Brazil’s lower house of Congress.
His comment come amid the killing of another Black man in Brazil, this time at a Carrefour Brasil supermarket in the southern Brazilian city of Porto Alegre on Friday, Nov. 20, 2020.
More than 1,000 demonstrators attacked the on Friday after security guards beat the man, later identified as 40-year-old Joao Alberto Silveira Freitas, to death.
The killing occurred after a store employee called security after the man threatened to attack her, cable news channel GloboNews said, citing the Rio Grande do Sul state military police.
News website G1 later reported that an initial analysis by the state forensics institute indicated the cause of death could be asphyxiation.
The killing sparked protest which turned violent on Friday evening as the demonstrators smashed windows and delivery vehicles in the supermarket’s parking area.
In Sao Paulo, dozens of protesters smashed the front windows of a Carrefour store with rocks, pulled off the front doors and stormed the building, spilling products into the aisles before dispersing. In Rio de Janeiro, roughly 200 shouting protesters gathered outside of another Carrefour store location.
In a statement on Friday, the local unit of France’s Carrefour SA said it deeply regretted what it called a brutal death and said it immediately took steps to ensure those responsible were legally punished.
It said it would terminate the contract with the security firm, fire the employee in charge of the store at the time of the incident, and close the store as a mark of respect.
In a series of tweets in Portuguese on Friday night, the Chairman and CEO of Carrefour, Alexandre Bompard, said that the images posted on social media were “unbearable.”
“Internal measures have immediately been implemented by the Carrefour Brazil, notably towards the security company involved. These measures do not go far enough. My values, and the values of Carrefour do not allow for racism and violence,” Bompard said.
He called for a complete review of employee and sub-contractors’ training on security, diversity and tolerance values.
“I have asked the teams of Carrefour Brazil to fully cooperate with judicial authorities to get to the bottom of this odious action,” he added.
Nov. 20th ironically is honored in many parts of Brazil as Black Awareness Day. Black Brazilians are almost three times as likely to be victims of homicide, according to 2019 government data.
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Little known South American country Suriname, a Dutch colony which gained independence on 15 December 1954, is becoming one of the world’s hottest offshore drilling locations. The country shares the Guyana-Suriname Basin with former British colony Guyana and saw a series of high-quality oil discoveries made this year. Globally diversified oil producer Apache announced three major oil discoveries. All were made in offshore Suriname Block 58, in which Apache has a 50% interest with French supermajor Total owning the other half. The finds are comprised of the January Maka Central-1 well, April Sapakara West-1 well and July Kwaskwasi-1 well. Apache has described the crude oil discovered as being light with API gravity of 34 degrees to 45 degrees. Importantly, the U.S. upstream energy company characterized those discoveries as a “substantial resource,” pointing to the considerable oil potential held by the oil acreage. Block 58 is adjacent to the Stabroek Block in offshore Guyana, where ExxonMobil has made a series of world-class oil discoveries which are estimated to have more than 8 billion barrels of recoverable oil resources. Block 58 is located on the same hydrocarbon trend as Stabroek, indicating that further discoveries are waiting to be made. This is broadly supported by the U.S. Geological Survey which estimates mean undiscovered oil resources of over 15 billion barrels in the Guyana-Suriname Basin.
Those discoveries saw Apache choose to ramp-up activity in offshore Suriname, commencing drilling of the KesKesi well in Block 58 during September 2020 and planning a fifth, Bonboni, for the northern part of the block. In Apache’s third-quarter 2020 results its chief executive officer and president John J. Christmann IV stated, “Apache has strategically chosen to direct a significant portion of our upstream capital investment to our large-scale opportunity in Suriname.” That underscores the considerable potential believed to be held by Apache’s oil assets in offshore Suriname. Apache also announced earlier this month that it has filed appraisal plans for the Maka and Sapakara oil finds, while the Kwaskwasi plan should be submitted by year-end. The U.S. upstream oil company also has a 45% stake in neighboring Block 53 where 30% is owned by Malaysian state-controlled energy company Petronas and the remaining 25% interest by Spanish oil company Cepsa.
Apache and Total are not the only international energy companies conducting exploration drilling in offshore Suriname. In October 2020, Petronas spudded its first well, Sloanea-1, in Block 52 where it has a 50% interest. The remaining 50% was acquired by Exxon in a May 2020 farmout deal with the Malaysian energy company. This boosts the oil supermajor’s presence in offshore Suriname which commenced in 2017 when it acquired Block 59. The global oil supermajor’s interest in the impoverished former Dutch colony, after experiencing significant offshore success in Guyana, speaks volumes about Suriname’s petroleum potential. Petronas also owns 100% of Block 48.
UK-based oil explorer and producer Tullow Oil acquired licenses for offshore blocks 47, 54 and 62 in Suriname. During 2017, Tullow announced the completion of the Araku-1 exploration well on Block 54 in which the company has 30% alongside the 50% owned by Norway’s Equinor and the remaining 20% held by Noble Energy. No oil was discovered, but Tullow was confident that the presence of condensate indicated that the block held promise. Tullow announced it is planning to drill the Goliathberg-Voltzberg North well in offshore Suriname Block 47 during the fourth quarter 2020. The UK based driller remains hopeful that its exploration activities will emulate the success of Apache and Total in Block 58.
These developments indicate that exploration activity in Suriname is heating up and it will be given a solid boost by higher oil prices with Brent having rallied to around $44 per barrel. That is significantly higher than the $35 per barrel breakeven costs estimated for the Stabroek Block which borders offshore Suriname blocks 58 and 42. There is every indication that as drilling technology, energy infrastructure and knowledge of the Guyana -Suriname Basin improves, that breakeven prices for offshore Suriname will be similar. That, along with it expected to produce light lower sulfur content crude oil grades than onshore operations in South America, will make Suriname an attractive investment destination for international oil majors. Suriname’s state-controlled oil company and petroleum regulator Staatsolie on 16 November 2020 announced shallow offshore 2020/2021 bid round. There are eight shallow water blocks on offer, comprising 13,524 square kilometers south of Block 58. The data room opens on 30 November 2020 and bids are expected to be received by 30 April next year. This will open-up under-explored and unexploited acreage which is believed to contain considerable petroleum potential.
These are important developments for deeply impoverished Suriname, which has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic. A 2019 gross domestic product of just under $4 billion makes it one of the poorest countries in South America. The IMF forecast that because of the considerable fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic Suriname’s economy will shrink by 13% during 2020, one of the worst declines in the region. This will trigger even greater poverty and place considerable pressure on Paramaribo’s finances. Increased oil exploration activity in offshore Suriname, coupled with the potential for a major oil boom mirroring that underway in Guyana could not have arrived at a better time. Those developments will add to the considerable momentum driving South America’s existing offshore oil boom making it a leading location globally for offshore oil. If Suriname’s government can effectively exploit the country’s potentially vast offshore petroleum wealth its economy will grow rapidly, boosting wealth and reducing poverty in the former Dutch colony.
* Soybeans at highest since June 2016, up 12% this month
* Strong demand and dry South American weather support
* Corn hits highest since July 2019, wheat rises
(Rewrites throughout with U.S. market open, adds quote, updates
prices, changes byline, changes dateline from PARIS/SINGAPORE)
CHICAGO, Nov 20 (Reuters) – U.S. soybean futures rose for a
sixth consecutive session on Friday and hit a four-year high on
dry conditions in key South American crop areas and concerns
about dwindling U.S. supplies.
Corn and wheat followed soybeans higher, although
end-of-week profit-taking pulled all three markets from earlier
Soybeans and corn are poised for weekly gains for a third
straight week, while wheat is on pace to reverse last week’s
“There is a scarcity concern in the market this year,” said
Rabobank commodity analyst Michael Magdovitz.
“We’re getting into the period when there is a higher
moisture requirement for the Brazilian crop and when there is
not so much U.S. crop left to be sold.”
While some rain has reached Brazilian and Argentine grain
belts, more moisture was seen as needed to complete soybean and
corn planting and boost crop development.
Argentine soy planting advanced sharply over the past week
after rains in key drought-hit areas, the Buenos Aires Grains
Exchange said on Thursday, though much of the country remained
“The South American forecast still looks dry for most of
Argentina, and warmer than expected. It’s a very concerning
weather forecast,” said Brian Hoops, president of U.S. broker
Midwest Market Solutions.
Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) January soybean futures
was up 5-1/4 cents at $11.82-3/4 a bushel at noon CST (1800 GMT)
after peaking earlier at $11.96.3/4, the highest for a
most-active contract since June 13, 2016.
December corn futures were a penny higher at $4.23-1/2
a bushel after reaching a session high of $4.28, the loftiest
level for a most active contract since July 24, 2019.
CBOT December wheat gained 4-3/4 cents to $5.96-1/2 a
(Additional reporting by Gus Trompiz in Paris and Naveen
Thukral in Singapore
Editing by David Goodman and Kirsten Donovan)
The battle to transport South American cherries is under way, with exporters firmly focused on Chinese markets, where the yields are best.
It’s a strong season, according to Chile Economico, with cherry production up some 36% year on year to 310,352 tonnes, with some 90% destined for China in a season that lasts almost up to Chinese new year in February.
Capacity – both air and sea – is now pouring into Santiago, and while Seabury data shows a slump in freighter capacity in Latin America in weeks 44 and 45, logistics executives report that both Kalitta Air and Atlas Air have added capacity, but air freight rates have so far remained weak, despite demand.
“Rates in South America have been really funny,” said one GSA that focuses on the trade. “There’s not many passenger flights, but rates have been barely increasing. No one is chasing ‘Covid rates’.”
He added that China had raised concerns about the possibility of Covid-infected perishables coming out of South America, which had contributed to “confusion” in the market. And he said Chinese carriers had kept prices low, with importers wary of paying top-dollar air freight rates.
“The Chinese refuse to pay high rates. The price should be about $5.50/kg, but no one will pay it. Cherries are crucial for Chile’s economy, and the Chinese are playing games with strategic export commodities.
“But rates are now going up.”
Additional capacity has been helped by the fast-growing ecommerce sector.
“Emirates has put multiple passenger freighters into Santiago, full of e-commerce from China, which is unexpected capacity but it has helped exporters,” said Eric Hartmann, chief executive of Air-Mann in Santiago.
He said the beginning of the season was critical for air freight.
“There are high expectations this year, and the cherries are looking really nice. The returns are so good at the start of the season, exporters are only looking at China. The sales are made in China, including the freight cost decisions, but until recently there’s been less capacity in the market.”
The air freight season for cherries lasts only until the first ship out of Santiago reaches China, three weeks from now. Sea freight accounts for about 95% of the cherry exports, but famously, 2020 has seen extraordinarily high freight rates across a wide variety of sea tradelanes.
MSC has added capacity this year to the traditional Cherry Express service, which goes from Santiago to Hong Kong for transhipment in 23 days, and reaches Nansha in 25 days and Shanghai in 26. The Cherry Express is operated by Hapag-Lloyd, ONE and HMM with MSC, taking a quarter of the capacity each.
This year MSC has added two extra vessels for weeks 49 and 51. MSC Alessia will be calling at Shanghai and Hong Kong, while in week 51, MSC Fiammetta will be calling at Nansha and Hong Kong.
Both ships are currently deployed on the US east coast South America string 1, according to eeSea data. They have 500 reefer plugs, offering additional payload across both ships of 27,700 tonnes, or some 8% of Chile’s total cherry export market.
MSC said that it would provide sanitised containers to ensure no Covid contamination.
“Cherries have become an increasingly popular fruit in China as consumer spending power rises across the country. Furthermore, the timing of the Cherry Express leads up nicely to the Chinese New Year. Red Chilean cherries are especially popular during this period with consumers as the red fruit symbolises prosperity and fortune,” said Pikkei Yuen, inbound sales manager.