The overall market situation in Europe was difficult in the third quarter of 2018 due to the bad weather conditions. Long periods of heat and extreme drought – also in the Lower Rhine Region and in Limburg – resulted in low supply volumes. The unfavourable weather conditions had an influence on the offered quantities, the time of sale and the quality of `Freiland´ products, especially in the first half of the quarter. At the same time, restrained customer demand led to lower prices. The market situation in Straelen-Herongen improved from mid-August onwards, so that the sales figures in the last two weeks of August were above the previous year's level. Veiling Rhein-Maas recorded a normal business performance in September but closed the month on a positive note compared to the previous year. Due to the very strong and record-breaking previous year, Veiling Rhein-Maas generated product revenues of 272.4 million euros in the first nine months of 2018, roughly comparable to the previous year's figures.
Digital sales channels
The digital sales channel Clock pre sales continues to develop positively. Veiling Rhein-Maas is on schedule despite the hot summer weeks, what means that the sales target of 10 million euros until the end of 2018 remains realistic. At present, 571 auction customers have received access data for Clock pre sales and more and more log in daily to view and reserve the available products. The turnover via Remote Buying had a cumulative share in total revenues of 28% during the first nine months of 2018, a small increase compared to the same period last year. Therefore, customer interest in the digital sales channel Remote Buying remains almost stable.
Current situation and market outlook
The last weeks have shown a normalisation of the market for imported products. The prices at Veiling Rhein-Maas have stabilised and the supply from Kenya and Ethiopia has picked up steadily after the end of the rainy season.
The Ethiopian green industry had to face some serious export problems within the last months caused by the political changes in the country. There has been an encouraging dialogue between the industry and higher government officials and the situation seems to have stabilised for the time being.
Suppliers from Kenya are currently struggling with the increasing cost of fertilizers, chemicals and fuel. Freight rates have also increased while the availability of freight capacity could become a challenge in the coming season. Veiling Rhein-Maas has again started to organise consolidated shipments that are directly sent to Maastricht in order to reduce freight costs and ease the logistics chain.