Chilean Exporters Report Infrastructure Damage

The Chilean Exporters Association (ASOEX) has conducted a survey throughout
Chile to gather reliable information regarding infrastructure, internal
transportation, electrical and port service problems. Preliminary results of this
research have been delivered to the nations authorities, but in summary indicate
important damage in major production areas and infrastructure including packing
stations and cold storage facilities. Seventy-eight per cent of the damage has
occurred in regions VI, VII, Metropolitan Region and VIII, affecting mostly table
grapes, apples, pears and blueberries.

However, it is important to consider that in general, there seems to be a
consensus amongst the industrys exporters and growers that the critical issues
will be resolved within the next five working days, returning to relative normality.
Additionally, companies are showing the expected solidarity and working
together to ensure that the industry will be back on its feet and operating

At the same time the Chilean Government has put in place well-rehearsed plans
and programs to help speed the recovery of operations. Authorities have begun
the task of repairing highways and bridges that are crucial to the transport of fruit
from the growing areas to the Ports. Since the earthquake struck last Saturday,
most areas have remained connected through alternative routes, but there have
been inevitable delays in arrival times.

As of today, the Santiago Airport has begun servicing both incoming and outgoing
flights from almost all major airlines, for international and domestic routes, but
there are important delays which will take a few more days to reach full capacity.

The countrys main port of Valparaiso is loading normally from piers No. 1 2 3
and 6, working at 90% capacity. The northern fruit port of Coquimbo is operating
normally and receiving fresh fruit without any problem redirected from other
ports. Chiles second largest port, San Antonio, is operating at 60% of its capacity
through the terminal EPSA (Empresa Portuaria de San Antonio) via piers 4 5 6
and 7, whilst the STI (San Antonio Terminal Internacional S.A.), is currently lacking
in electrical supply, but is expected to return during the next few hours, and will
then be functioning at 90% capability. The small amounts of fruits which were
destined to the port of Lirqun will have no problem in being forwarded to other
alternative ports.

In regards to the existing fruit inspection sites, destined to the US market, all five
facilities are up and running and receiving fruit for inspection.
According to Ronald Bown, Chairman of the Board of the Chilean Exporters
Association (ASOEX), There are still some production areas, packing and cold
storage facilities, which have either no electrical supply or damages to highway
infrastructure, but through our discussions with authorities, complete electrical
supply should be restored within the next 48 hours. All involved in the growing,
harvesting and shipping of fresh fruit in Chile are committed to hold distribution
disruptions to a minimum.

ASOEX would also like to thank the international fruit community for its
continuing support through this difficult time. We would also like to ensure that
fruit growers and exporters in Chile are committed to reducing the impact of this
terrible tragedy.

Source: The Chilean Exporters Association