March 12, 2024 | Industry News

March 2024 Regional Market Report News

Crop Updates

Balsamic Vinegar

The heat and drought that much of Western Europe experienced in the spring and summer of 2023 led to very low grape yields in Italy. IGP Balsamic Vinegar of Modena uses a specific set of seven grape varietals: Lambrusco, Trebbiano, Albana, Ancellota, Fortanna, Montuni, and Sangiovese. This reduction in grape yield has led to a shortage of raw materials, driving up costs. Fortunately, our long-standing partner in this category has taken steps to secure supply and manage costs for 2024 to keep supplying excellent quality balsamic vinegar at competitive costs.

Jasmine Rice

Roland Foods has stayed close to the jasmine rice market since the summer of 2023 when we received initial indications that weather conditions would result in raw material shortages in the fall and winter of 2023, which were expected to cause an increase in market prices. Since our last update, the market price has indeed risen substantially, with market rates in Thailand up 20% since summer 2023. The increase is due, in part, to drought conditions in Southeast Asia resulting in shortages in several rice-producing countries, including Indonesia, which are now importing substantial quantities of rice from surrounding countries to fulfill domestic demand. Roland Foods remains committed to offering high-quality jasmine rice at the best available market prices and we continue to work with our suppliers to secure supply for our customers.


The fishing industry in Peru continues to face significant challenges due to the scarcity of raw materials. We will continue to seek supplies from other areas until the effects of El Niño lessen and maintain ongoing communication with our partners in Peru.

Global Supply Chain and Logistics Updates

Container Volumes Update

As we move further into 2024, the year is off to a robust start for containerized imports, despite the challenges of high freight costs. Traditionally, February through April marks the slowest season for shipping.

A Regional Look on Shipping Lines

In the USA, there has been a noticeable shift of cargo diverting back to the West Coast due to longer transit times affecting East and Gulf Coast ports. These delays are primarily caused by ships sailing around Africa instead of using the Suez Canal.

Latin America rates are holding steady and transit time is maintaining historical averages.

Rates in Asia have surged but are expected to normalize as the Lunar New Year celebration concludes. We are seeing increases in transit time due to container ships having to navigate around Africa instead of passing through the Suez Canal. The increased volume is now being diverted through the Panama Canal.

The Mediterranean region is experiencing challenges with low sailing reliability and emergency surcharges, leading to significant increases in ocean rates. The duration of these surcharges remains uncertain. Despite the complexities, we anticipate that 2024 will be an improvement over previous years, even with ongoing supply chain complications.