While northern Europe is suffering from arctic cold, heavy snowfall or freezing rain, seeds for the agricultural industry are currently ripening in the southern hemisphere. "The seeds must arrive in the northern hemisphere on time for spring in order to reach the market there before the sowing window opens," explains Claus Wendland, Regional Director at a. hartrodt in Santiago de Chile. The "very busy" export season begins in mid-February and lasts until mid-April. The largest volume is supplied by a. hartrodt Chile to seed companies in the USA and Canada, and business is also developing in Europe.
Specialized in seed exports for 25 years
a. hartrodt Chile has specialized in seed exports for 25 years. "We handle this niche business in our sea freight and air freight export department with two people each," says Claus Wendland. The experienced team is very familiar with all phytosanitary processes, including phytosanitary certificates. According to Claus Wendland, the Chilean subsidiary is "known to all seed producers".
Often last-minute air freight instead of sea freight
a. hartrodt Chile mainly ships rapeseed to Canada and corn, sweet corn, beans and sunflower seeds to the USA. For both markets, 1,150 TEU were shipped from Chile between mid-February and mid-April 2023. "Because the seeds don't always reach the market on time by sea, customers often switch to air freight at the last minute," reports Claus Wendland. Last season, the team managed 850 tons of air freight to Miami, where Pro Ag Logistics handles distribution for the USA/Canada. The US partner was able to develop business with a. hartrodt's European offices, including exports USA–France/Czech Republic.
Claus Wendland expects a "weaker season" in 2024 because this time fewer crops were planted in Chile: "We are expecting around 800 to 900 TEU and not a large volume of air freight so far." However, this could change "overnight".