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Northwest cherry growers gained airlift capacity into China with the launch today of weekly service between Seattle and Shanghai on China Eastern Airlines.  The new service serving Seattle-Tacoma International Airport will carry more than 400 metric tons of cherries to China from Northwest shippers.chinaeasternair-logo

In addition, China Eastern runs an e-commerce site, Eastern Origin Express,  seeking to provide a means for consumers to order agricultural products directly from producers from around the world, an effort to reduce costs, improve efficiency and maintain product quality.

The inaugural flight of Seattle-Shangai service was scheduled for a welcome ceremony in Shanghai on June 12. On the following day, China Eastern Airlines’ passengers will be provided free northwest cherry tastings on selected flights.

Northwest Cherry Growers, which markets cherries for growers, welcomed the news.

“The northwest cherry harvest season is just the beginning,” said Keith Hu, director of international operations at Northwest Cherry Growers. “We’re excited to provide the first agricultural product exported to China as part of China Eastern’s new service, and we look forward to providing 1.3 billion Chinese citizens delicious northwest cherries.”

Here is the full press release:

CHINA EASTERN AIRLINES ANNOUNCES INAUGURAL DIRECT SEATTLE TO SHANGHAI NORTHWEST AMERICAN CHERRY CHARTER

 

First in a series of flights that will create new methods and speed for the entry of

U.S. agricultural products into the Chinese market

 

SEATTLE, WA – Today, China Eastern Airlines announced the inaugural flight of the Northwest American Cherry Charter and the launch of their innovative new e-commerce service, “EAL Origin Express.”

This flight, the first in what will become a weekly route, will create a new method and speed in the entry of American agricultural products into China. The weekly charter flight from Seattle to Shanghai will deliver more than 400 metric tons of cherries to China directly from northwest factories throughout the growing season.

China Eastern Airlines’ e-commerce site, Eastern Origin Express, utilizes the airline’s 500 cargo and passenger planes reaching more than 2,000 destinations home and abroad. The new model enables consumers to purchase agricultural products like milk, fruit and meat worldwide. By collecting orders in a pre-sale format, sourcing products at their origins, delivering them by air, and distributing the goods on the ground, the company increases efficiency, curtails costs, and simplifies the trade process, all while guaranteeing product quality

“China Eastern Airlines’ new business model establishes a direct linkage between products and end consumers,” said Li Yangming, chief operation officer of China Eastern Airlines. “The new trade format will contribute to the prosperity of Sino-US trade, benefit Washington farmers and the local economy and introduce Chinese citizens to a variety of high-quality American agricultural and aquatic products.”

The Northwest American Cherry Charter is part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) effort to bring more temperature-sensitive products into the Chinese market. Target products include cherries from Washington State, milk and cheese from California, and live king crab and chilled wild salmon fish from Alaska.

“These are high value cold chain products that require fast delivery and clearance at the port of Shanghai,” said Keith Schneller, director of the USDA’s Agricultural Trade Office, Shanghai. “China Eastern Airlines has unique advantages in terms of sourcing the products directly. And we’re proud to partner with them in bringing more American products to Chinese consumers.”

A welcome ceremony will be held in Shanghai on June 12 followed by a speedy customs clearance and delivery of the northwest cherries. Beginning June 13, China Eastern Airlines’ passengers will be provided free northwest cherry tastings on select flights.

“The northwest cherry harvest season is just the beginning,” said Keith Hu, director of international operations at Northwest Cherry Growers. “We’re excited to provide the first agricultural product exported to China as part of China Eastern’s new service, and we look forward to providing 1.3 billion Chinese citizens delicious northwest cherries.”