Cuban Freight Data Confirms Sugar Industry Woes
Sept 6 – Cuba's transportation of raw sugar by train declined 16.3
percent and by truck 10.4 percent through June, compared with the same
period in 2009, the government said on Monday, confirming the industry's
According to the National Statistics Office report on freight traffic
for the first six months of the year 732,000 tonnes of raw sugar was
moved by train and 311,000 by truck, compared with 875,000 tonnes and
347,000 tonnes respectively in 2009
The Cuban sugar harvest over the last few years has run from December
into June, but more than 95 percent of the crop is ground between
January and the middle of May.
For example, the data suggest around 1.2 million tonnes of raw sugar was
moved by train and truck during the first six months of 2009, while the
government reported final output was 1.34 million tonnes.
According to the report 1.04 million tonnes of raw sugar was moved
during the same period in 2010, which would indicate final output was
just over 1.1 million tonnes.
While 2010 results will not be available for a year, Reuters estimated
in June that output fell to between 1.1 million and 1.2 million tonnes
during this year's harvest, based on local media reports and sources.
This year's harvest was the worst in more than a century, the Communist
party newspaper, Granma, reported in May, while sources close to the
industry report it will be reorganized and foreign investment allowed
for the first time since mills and land were nationalized in 1959.
Cuba exported 740,400 tonnes of raw sugar last year, garnering $216
million, down slightly from 2008, the 2009 statistical abstract posted
on the Office web page said, while importing $11 million worth of
refined sugar products, presumably low-grade whites.