International citrus transport and storage

Antonio Marco is an international citrus fruit transport company specialising in temperature-controlled distribution. The main origins for the transport of citrus fruits from Spain are: Tarragona, Castellon, Valencia, Alicante, Murcia, Murcia, Almeria, Cordoba, Seville and Huelva as the most relevant.

Citrus is a family of fruits that includes a wide variety of fruit trees such as oranges, lemons, grapefruit and mandarins, among others. Coming from subtropical regions, citrus fruits have a very low resistance to cold (between 3-5ºC below zero the plant dies). During the coldest months, citrus fruits present a period of quiescence, a resting state characterised by the inability of the plant to grow, although its vital functions are still active. This process leads to the stimulation of the branches that flower in spring.

Citrus – Which are the fruit trees of the citrus family in Spain?

The main citrus fruits produced in our country include oranges, lemons and grapefruit. But, without a doubt, the star product of the Spanish citrus offer is the mandarin/clementine (remember that the clementine comes from a cross between the orange and the mandarin), which occupies the second place in world production, only surpassed by China.

Citrus families by production

Citrus fruits are usually found in the same areas, but depending on their typology, this varies. The citrus growing area for oranges is the region of Valencia, and for lemons, for example, the region of Murcia.

  • Orange accounts for around half of the total Spanish citrus production, Valencia is its star region, the southern region such as Seville and Huelva are net contributors to Spain’s total production
  • Mandarin The provinces of Valencia, Huelva and Seville account for the largest area of Spanish production.
  • Pomegranate In the southern area of Alicante, with the mollar pomegranate having its PDO in Elche, or the Valencian mollar with its own PDO. Other areas where pomegranate is gaining presence are in Andalusia, especially in the area of Cordoba.
  • Grapefruit The Region of Murcia is the largest producer in the national market, accounting for around a third of the world’s production. Other areas where it is produced are in the Valencian Community and Andalusia.
  • Lemon Murcia is the main producing region in Europe, accounting for 64% of the national lemon contribution to the Community total. The south of Alicante and the province of Malaga also contribute to the production of this fruit.

International transport of citrus fruit

  • Germany One of the main consumers of citrus fruit at European level, the volume of its market is clearly larger, its citrus fruit par excellence is lemon and orange. Citrus transport from Spain to Germany
  • France The French country has a great preference for oranges, it is often called the sweet country, preference for oranges, a clear importer of Spanish oranges. Transport of citrus fruit from Spain to France.
  • The Netherlands and Belgium These countries are the main ports in Europe, clear importers of citrus fruit on a world scale, they are the least consumers of citrus fruit, but a large part of citrus fruit exports to countries such as Russia, among others, pass through their hands. Citrus transport from Spain, Holland and Belgium.
  • United Kingdom A clear importer of mandarin-oranges, there is a growing demand for pomegranates at the beginning of the season with more acid varieties such as Smith. Transport of citrus fruit from Spain to the United Kingdom

Temperature-controlled storage of citrus fruit

  • Orange Temperatures in the storage chambers are always recommended above 4 degrees. Storage has two limitations: the temperature must never reach the freezing temperature, which is between 1.5 and 2ºC, and the sensitivity to low temperatures of some physiological alterations. The optimum temperature is around 4-8ºC depending on the client’s needs.
  • Mandarin Low temperatures are usually applied to mandarins stored with the aim of extending their useful life, these temperatures reduce transpiration and avoid the proliferation of fungus. Mandarins are similar to oranges in terms of storage temperature, between 4 and 8 degrees.
  • Pomegranate Pomegranate requires a storage temperature between 4 and 6°C for a maximum of 2-3 months inclusive; for longer storage it is recommended to go closer to 10 degrees, but there is not much knowledge about this from our experience.
  • Lemon Lemon storage below 8 degrees is not very common, quite susceptible to cold damage. It causes black areas on the product, necrosed on the rind. Therefore, lemons are normally stored between 8-12ºC.
  • Grapefruit As with lemons, grapefruit must not be stored at temperatures below 8ºC as it develops defects, spots on the skin. Therefore, grapefruits are usually stored at temperatures between 8-15ºC and a relative humidity of 90-95%.

In case you want to know what our Director says regarding the citrus market and its transport, do not hesitate to read his interview for Fruchthandel Magazin

If you want to read more about these citrus fruits, you can go to our next posts.