Article by: Hari Yellina
Weekly fluctuations in airfreight costs make it extremely difficult for Israel-based exporter Bless S.R. Ltd to provide consistent prices for fresh herbs to consumers in Eastern Europe and Asia. Because of the Russian war in Ukraine, freight prices are uncertain, which has an impact on the edible flowers they sell to Asia. According to Ira Gonen, sales manager of Bless S.R. Ltd, she is required to contact key clients on a weekly basis to alter rates due to fluctuating freight costs. “Due to the war, prices change a lot. Every week, the cost of freight fluctuates. I have to contact my clients on a weekly basis to let customers know if the pricing has changed or not. I’ll have to raise the prices in accordance with freight charges.”
Throughout the year, Bless S.R. Ltd exports fresh herbs. Basil, rocket, thyme, rosemary, sage, lemon, mint, parsley, and dill are among the herbs used. “These herbs are shipped to the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, and Hungary in Eastern Europe.” Portugal and Italy are two European countries that receive the plants. We ship about a tonne to each Eastern European country. We also have the Salicornia product, which we sell in Japan and the Netherlands. This product is suitable for use with seafood. “We can also provide a wide variety of exotic fruit to our customers,” Gonen adds.
The company has a warehouse at Tel Aviv’s Ben-Gurion International Airport, from which it can easily airfreight fresh herbs and exotic fruit to other markets. “This gives us better control over incoming and outgoing produce, as well as the flexibility to accommodate client requests for air shipments at various times,” Gonen explains. “We have large clients in Eastern Europe who have a weekly standard order.” Our most important market is Russia, which buys 10 tonnes each week. For the time being, our exports to that country are fine. Singapore, South Korea, Hong Kong, and Taiwan are our other Asian markets, each receiving roughly one tonne each week. “These are our long-term clients who have been with us for at least five years,” Gonen explains.
During the spring and summer, she explains, demand for fresh herbs in the rest of Europe shifts to the local variety, especially around June. “It all depends on the weather in Europe.” When customers contact us for products, it might be a month later or a month early.” “Edible flowers are a unique product that we offer. We send a lot of goods to Asian markets including Hong Kong, Singapore, and Russia. In Europe, we don’t have a market for this,” Gonen explains.