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Australian stonefruit rides high

Exports climb to record levels over 2018/19 season, with shipments to mainland China propelling the growth

It’s been a vintage season for Australian stonefruit exports, with volumes climbing to 22,861 tonnes between July 2018 and April 2019, according to data prepared by Fresh Intelligence Consulting.

The performance betters the previous record of 20,600 tonnes set in 2003 for the 10-month period, within which the bulk of Australia’s stonefruit harvest and exports take place.

The 2018/19 volume represents a 29 per cent increase on the 2017/18 campaign, while the overall value of trade (A$88.68m in 2018/19) rose 37 per cent year-on-year.

Mainland China continues to emerge as a focal point for the Australian industry, with exports to the Asian nation climbing 88 per cent year-on-year to 9,348 tonnes over the 2018/19 campaign. This translated to a market share of 40.9 per cent.

Singapore ranked second on the list of export destinations by volume, taking 2,530 tonnes, 5 per cent up on 2017/18.

Strong export growth was reported in Saudi Arabia (volumes up 42 per cent to 1,957 tonnes) and Indonesia (up 60 per cent to 993 tonnes).

Peaches and nectarines accounted for 69 per cent of the export shipments, while plums represented 29 per cent.

Peak industry body Summerfruit Australia (SAL) recently appointed Trevor Ranford as its new chief executive. Ranford replaces John Moore, who will continue to work with SAL on improving export market access for Australian growers.

Ranford has over 40 years of experience in the horticulture industry, including various executive roles with organisations in the pipfruit and cherry industries.

Click here to see graph

Source: http://www.fruitnet.com/asiafruit

Author: Matthew Jones


Australia: Freight costs are crippling competitiveness

Freight and logistics have been identified as the largest single cost item in the production of many agricultural products. This fact has led to concerns about Australia's competitiveness on the international commodities market.

A report by Deloitte Access Economics, commissioned by AgriFutures Australia, investigated farm transport costs from paddock to port for a sector that sees roughly two-thirds of food and fibre exported.

AgriFutures Australia managing director, John Harvey, said freight costs were critical to maintaining Australia's global competitiveness and would continue to impact agriculture's export performance into the future: "In Australia, freight costs are highest for grains at 27.5% of gross income, and fruit and vegetables at 21%. By comparison, poultry a domestic market, has the lowest relative farm freight costs, totalling 1% of gross income.”

"Knowing how much farmers pay for transporting their produce to consumers is crucial to measure the competitiveness of Australian farmers and to find out where the transport of agricultural goods faces pinch points and bottlenecks."

Mr Harvey said the report showed Australia has comparatively higher freight costs for many of its key commodities, compared to international competitors: "It's hurting our bottom line. Strategic planning and regulatory framework are required to ensure infrastructure can be efficiently utilised by industry."

National Farmers' Federation chief executive officer, Tony Mahar, said the supply chain research provided a benchmark of Australia's performance and its ability to compete on agricultural transport costs at a global level: "NFF welcomes AgriFutures Australia's work in this space as it gives us solid data about the agricultural sector and challenges faced by different industries. It is critical to look beyond the 'now' to consider future agricultural freight issues and to highlight possible options for potential improvement in transport infrastructure and regulation within the agricultural sector."

More case studies can be found in The Impact of Freight Costs on Australian Farms report produced under AgriFutures Australia's National Rural Issues Program.

Source: goodfruitandvegetables.com.au  via www.freshplaza.com 

Freshmax Group opens new facility

Sydney site boosts leading Australasian group’s packaging, ripening and cold storage operations

Valleyfresh Australia, part of the Freshmax Group, officially opened its new Sydney Service and Distribution Centre on 29 May.

The 6,500m2 purpose-built facility will boost the company’s packaging, ripening and cold storage operations, adding to its existing facilities in Melbourne and Brisbane.

The Marsden Park site is strategically located within the Greater Western Sydney growth corridor, positioning the Valleyfresh and Freshmax businesses close to key production hubs, transport networks and retail distribution centres.

“This [facility] makes us really relevant in this market now,” Freshmax Group CEO, Murray McCallum, told more than 100 guests who attended the opening. “It will act as a springboard for our growth in New South Wales.”

The warehouse component of facility has ripening capacity for 480 pallets, plus coolroom storage for a further 400 pallets.

A dedicated packing room, fitted out with equipment from Italian manufacturer Sorma and its Australian agent J-Tech, will not only cater for Freshmax’s domestic and international orders, but also its growing third-party packing operation.

“This site is the first of its kind and scale in the Sydney area. It sets us up to expand our third-party services offering for the region, whilst continuing to deliver superb service to our national retail partners,” McCallum added.

Built in accordance with Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service (AQIS) requirements, the centre will soon be accredited to handle audits on import and export consignments, with rapid cooling and fumigation facilities on site.

Valleyfresh Australia general manager, Simon Powell, thanked the wide range of parties that contributed to the construction of the facility, which has taken two and a half years to complete.

“It has been a long road, but the partners we have worked with have supported us the whole way,” Powell said.

Source: http://www.fruitnet.com/asiafruit

Author: Matthew Jones

Hort Connections a “one-stop shop” for entire industry

The upcoming Hort Connections 2019 in Australia looks set to be the biggest and most international edition yet, serving as a key meeting point for members from across the global fruit and vegetable supply chain.

The third-annual installment of the industry conference and trade show, which is co-organized by industry body AUSVEG and the Produce Marketing Association Australia-New Zealand (PMA A-NZ), will take place at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre from June 24-26.

Attendance figures have seen incremental growth since Hort Connections was established in 2017, as a fusion between AUSVEG’s National Horticulture Convention and the PMA A-NZ’s Fresh Connections.

More than 3,000 people are expected to attend this year’s event, which will feature a large range of thought-provoking educational talks on numerous issues related to the produce industry. The event will also feature a full trade show with hundreds of companies exhibiting as well as industry tours to local retailers and farms.

“It’s gone from strength to strength for us in terms of people coming to the event,” said AUSVEG national marketing manager Nathan McIntyre.

“We’ve seen steady growth each year and the industry feedback that we’ve received has been really strong. We’ve done the right thing by combining the events together to create one big event for everyone to come to at the same point in time, rather than several different events that take a lot of time and resources to get people to attend. It’s a one-stop shop for all of horticulture.”

The event’s theme this year is ‘Growing our Food Future’, with many of the educational sessions to be focused on topics like sustainability, how food will be grown in the years to come, producing more with less, and reducing waste.

There will also be keynote addresses from leading local and global agricultural thought leaders, including former Masterchef winner Adam Liaw, Foodbank Australia CEO Brianna Casey and athlete and inspirational speaker Samantha Gash.

“We have a really strong breadth of content. We bring our speaker content up into different areas of the supply chain so that no matter who is attending, they get some value out of being part of that conference,” McIntyre said.

“We’ll also have around 200 exhibiting companies who’ll attend this year in Melbourne and that makes it a very attractive proposition for growers and anyone in the supply chain to come and get the latest information on products and services that are relevant to their business.”

Ample networking opportunities at Hort Connections
In addition, attendees will enjoy ample networking opportunities with people from around the world.

“Hort Connections is the largest event in Australian horticulture and are building our international presence, which is an important component for us as well,” McIntyre said.

He explained there would be a large number of buyers from key Asian markets and a strong presence of people from other regions like New Zealand, Europe and India.

“For people within the horticulture or fresh produce industry in Australia in any capacity, we have built what we feel is a fantastic event that is the largest in the industry,” he said.

“If you wanted to get in front of a lot of prominent growers, if they’re your customers, then they’ll be there at Hort Connections. And if you’re a grower wanting to find out about the latest products and services in the industry, then all those people will be there on the trade show floor.”

For overseas attendees, McIntyre noted that there is a rising number of international companies exhibiting on the trade floor amid growing demand for products and technology from elsewhere in the world.

“We’re finding that Australian farmers have got a real interest for different technologies that might be coming out of some other regions that are not available as of yet,” he said.

“I think if there are companies that have some technologies available that might provide solutions to these growers, they would definitely be receptive to hearing about how they can potentially fix some of the problems they’re facing in their businesses. We encourage them to come along and be part of this event.”

For more information, visit www.hortconnections.com.au 


Source: https://www.freshfruitportal.com 

Global Freight Demand to Triple by 2050

Global demand for transport will continue to grow dramatically over the next three decades, with global freight demand expected to triple by 2050, according to projections by the International Transport Forum (ITF), an intergovernmental think tank.

The ITF Transport Outlook 2019 predicts that a further rapid growth of e-commerce could increase global freight volumes by between two and 11 percent by 2050, depending on the transport mode used. Freight-related CO2 emissions would increase by four percent. Conversely, the large-scale uptake of 3D printing in manufacturing and for home use could reduce global freight volumes by 28 percent and related CO2 emissions by 27 percent. However, a high level of uptake is not very likely.

New trade routes could affect global trade volumes and related CO2 emissions marginally, but could have a big impact on logistics chains and transport infrastructure. The combined introduction of new technologies and improvements in logistical efficiency could lower freight-related CO2 emissions by 60 percent in 2050 compared to current projections.

Of the 108 trillion tonne-kilometers transported worldwide in 2015, 70 percent traveled by sea, 18 percent by road, nine percent by rail and two percent by inland waterway. Less than 0.25 percent of global freight in tonne-kilometers is transported by air. The projected compound annual growth rate of freight is anticipated to be 3.4 percent through 2050.

Air freight, while representing a marginal share of total freight transport, will have the highest compound annual growth rate of all modes through 2030 (5.5 percent) and 2050 (4.5 percent). Its growth is driven by larger shares of high-value goods being transported by air, most notably in China.

Seaborne trade volumes grew four percent in 2017, the fastest rate since 2012. An estimated 10.7 billion tonnes were transported by sea that year. In terms of tonne-kilometres, global shipping activity amounted to over 58 trillion in 2017, an increase of five percent on 2016. An estimated 752 million TEUs were shipped through container ports. The size of the global ship fleet also grew 3.3 percent in 2017, but the growth in capacity was surpassed by increased freight volumes.

Maritime shipping will remain the largest contributor to global tonne-kilometres. Ships will carry out more than three-quarters of all goods movements by 2050. The remaining goods will be transported by road (17 percent) and rail (seven percent). Maritime shipping covers most of the movement of goods over long distances, and this will continue to be the case in the coming years. The current demand pathway projects that maritime freight transport will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 3.6 percent through 2050. This will lead to a near tripling of maritime trade volumes by 2050.

The economic value of freight flows in the North Pacific and Indian Oceans will increase nearly four-fold between 2015 and 2050. Approximately one third of all maritime freight movements in 2050 will take place in these two regions. The North Atlantic Ocean will remain the third-busiest maritime corridor, with 15 percent of maritime freight movements in 2050, some 38 trillion tonne-kilometres.

Slower-than-expected growth in international trade has led to overcapacity in certain maritime transport sectors and locations. Since capital investments in the shipping industry cannot be easily recuperated, companies may seek to cut costs in other ways in order to maintain profitability. This could lead to shipping operators concentrating on a limited number of ports and routes, which in turn could strain the capacity of these ports. Current demand pathway projections indicate that scheduled investments in port capacity should be capable of accommodating maritime freight demand through 2030 in most areas of the world except in South Asia.

Inland waterway freight traffic in China is projected to remain well above that of any other continent. The volume of inland waterway freight in China was estimated at 4.4 trillion tonne-kilometres in 2017, a 10.9 percent increase from 2016.


Source: www.maritime-executive.com


China hits back with tariffs

Following a recent increase to 25 per cent on Chinese goods to the US, China has retaliated against US imports
China has retaliated to a tariff increase from the US made last Friday 9 May, following a lag in agreement to level-out overall trade between the two nations.

Tariffs on around US$60bn of goods imported from the US to China will now be impacted. These do not include fresh fruits and vegetables but impact a number of processed fruit items and agricultural products, and add to the overall trade tension.

China’s ministry of finance said in a statement that the measures had led to escalation of trade frictions, contrary to the consensus between China and the United States on resolving trade differences through consultations. It said the move has jeopardised the interests of both sides and not met the general expectations of the international community.

The ministry noted that according to national foreign trade law and tariff regulations, the State Council Tariff Commission has decided on 1 June, 2019 tariffs will subsequently increase on imported goods.

There are four separate increases on different listed items. There will be a 25 per cent increase in tariff on 2,493 items; 20 per cent increase on 1,078 items, 10 per cent increase on 947 items, and a 5 per cent increase on 595 items.

A number of frozen fruit and vegetable lines like peas, spinach, berries, nuts, sweet potato and corn are impacted, as well as processing equipment like washing, sorting and grading machinery.

Feeling the strain

The ongoing tariff dispute, now in place for over a year, has made a mark on fresh produce trade between the two nations.

Data analysed by Fresh Intelligence Consulting shows China is becoming less reliant on the US as a supplier of imported fruit. Its main imports by value are cherries, oranges, table grapes and apples.

In 12 months to March 2019 China imported 79,439 tonnes of fresh fruit valued at US$219.3m. That was 47 per cent lower in value terms than in the same period the year prior.

In the first quarter of 2019, orange imports were 80 per cent lower in value compared with the same quarter in 2018, down to 7,500 tonnes from 33,000 tonnes respectively.

Egypt was noted as picking up some of the additional volume with a 10,000 tonne increase in the march quarter of 2019 compared with the year prior.

Source: http://www.fruitnet.com/asiafruit

Author: Camellia Aebischer

US implements 25 per cent tariff

Threatened increase in tariffs on Chinese goods now in place with deal still pending between US and China

US president, Donald Trump, has implemented taxes of 25 per cent on US$200bn worth of goods, including cauliflower, carrots, leeks, turnips, mushrooms, garlic, onions, nuts, peaches, strawberries, raspberries and cranberries.

Tariff increases came into play last Friday 10 May, up from a previous 10 per cent. South China Morning Post reported goods already bound for the US from China will not need to adhere to the 25 per cent tax providing they can prove goods were purchased before last Friday.

The decision has come after the US and China could not reach a trading agreement, following a year of back and forth turmoil, ignited by increased tariffs on steel and aluminium imports from China by Trump.

BBC News reported that Deborah Elms, executive director at the Asian Trade Centre was quick to point out that the rise in tariffs is likely to have a negative effect on US companies and consumers.

“Those are all US companies who are suddenly facing a 25 per cent increase in cost, and then you have to remember that the Chinese are going to retaliate,” she said.

Following the increase on US$200bn of goods, Reuters reported Trump has ordered a tariff hike on all remaining imports from China to the US, which will impact an additional US$300bn of goods. The final decision on this order has not yet been made, according to reports.

Source: http://www.fruitnet.com/asiafruit

Author: Camellia Aebischer


Seeka's kiwifruit harvest in full swing

Seeka's kiwifruit harvest is in full swing across both New Zealand and Australia with the company cautiously assessing the effect of the dry summer with both countries experiencing hot dry conditions. Rainfall in New Zealand was unseasonably low through the first quarter, and in Australia, Shepparton was in drought conditions with temperatures regularly above 40 degrees.

Generally, harvest 2019 began early attributed to dry late summer conditions. In New Zealand; the SunGold harvest is nearing completion with Seeka over 96% packed. Attention is now focusing on Hayward.

In the case of Hayward, Seeka has processed approximately 30% of its crop. Yields from early orchards were below estimate and the company is watching the next phase of the harvest to ascertain full year crop volume.

Seeka has significantly refurbished its Oakside site including a significant machine upgrade, and had constructed a new packhouse and packing machine at its newly acquired Kerikeri site. Both machines have commissioned well and hit their targeted volumes.

The company also purchased the business of Aongatete Coolstores Limited just prior to the season adding between 4m and 4.5m trays of supply to the group. The Aongatete purchase included experienced staff supported by loyal growers.

Safety through the early part of the season had been a particular focus for Seeka as part of its sustainability drive. The SunGold crop which is increasing in volume puts pressure on labour numbers for a short period. A labour shortage has been declared, and has resulted in some easing of the shortage, but some shifts remain difficult to fully resource. Adding to this pressure, the structure of the early season meant that post-harvest operators worked long hours to achieve premiums for their growers in achieving payment deadlines. Seeka has advocated changes to the structure to deliver a better safety profile.

Seeka has completed the harvest of its Red variety which was successfully picked, packed and exported to Australia. The spectacular fruit has a striking red central star burst on a golden background and with its sweet, berry flavour which has been well received by consumers.

The harvest of Seeka's green kiwifruit grown in Australia is also underway for the domestic and export markets. The team has worked well under dry conditions to produce a great quality crop.

Given the early start, the season is expected to finish in late May. Seeka is satisfied with the service delivered to our growers to date and the fruit's quality and performance to the market. It looks forward to continuing a safe and successful 2019 kiwifruit harvest.

For more information:
Kim McFadden


Source: www.freshplaza.com 

Australian grapes grow in Korea

Export volumes of Australian table grapes have nearly quadrupled to Korea following tariff-free access.

In 2018 the Taste Australia campaign was brought to Korea to introduce Australia's premium grapes to Korean consumers.

Initially, the campaign was run and grapes stocked exclusively, at Hyundai Department Stores, but this year export volumes have increased and Korean retailers Emart and Shinsegae Department Store have joined Hyundai as stockists.

Grapes can be purchased at all Emart outlets, and selected Hyundai and Shinsegae stores, as well as a number of franchise fruit shops and wholesale markets. Samples of table grapes were handed out between 28 March and 14 April to consumers in-store covering a range of different varieties.

In 2018 the import duty for Australian table grapes was also eliminated under the Korea-Australia Free Trade Agreement.

Australia’s table grape export season runs from January to May, and in the year ending June 2018, export volumes to Korea had almost quadrupled, up 379 per cent; albeit, from a small base, and in line with eliminations of the tariff, which reduced from 45 per cent to 6 per cent in 2017.

Since 2017, Australian table grapes have been promoted in the Korean market under a new brand name, Tams Gold. The name is a combination of the word ‘tams-rudba’, which Austrade says translates to ‘attractive, nice, ripe and delicious looking’, and the word gold which symbolises the golden/green colour of grapes.

At the time of the re-brand, Australian ambassador to Korea, James Choi, said the aim of the branding was to help assist Korean importers to satisfy the demand for quality grapes in Korea.

Joon Choi of major importer Soo Il Commerce said in mid-March he was gearing up for an aggressive approach toward grape promotions and has noted growth in the category due to increased volumes from the US.

Choi also said a range of new grape varieties entering Korea has peaked consumer interest.

This article was originally published in the June 2019 edition of Asiafruit Magazine


Author: Camellia Aebischer

Outperforming our competitors crucial for vegetable industry

Maintaining and expanding our export market access is crucial for the ongoing growth of Australia’s vegetable and potato export industry, according to peak industry body AUSVEG.

Vegetable export volume has risen more than 15 per cent last year due to strong growth from Singapore, Japan and Thailand, with carrots being the strongest export performer at 113,000 tonnes and increasing in value by 5.1 per cent to $98 million in export value.
But AUSVEG National Manager – Export Development Michael Coote said there is still plenty of room for vegetable and potato exports to grow.

“With improved prioritisation of Australian vegetable products in trade negotiations, our industry can continue to reach new heights,” Mr Coote said. “Australia has built a strong reputation as a quality exporter of fresh produce but it must continue to gain access to more markets so our growers can continue to benefit.”

Mr Coote said improving access for vegetables to markets such as Japan and Korea, while increasing volumes to existing markets across Asia and the Middle East would also pay dividends for vegetable growers around the country.

“New and emerging markets are essential to the survival of our domestic vegetable industry,” he said.

Supply chain costs continue to increase following government policy changes, such as through the recent implementation of security screening requirements for all international air-freight cargo. AUSVEG has asked government to place greater prioritisation of horticulture products in trade negotiations and to also implement an industry/government committee which oversees whole-of-government regulatory cost increases.

“Australia is in a competitive global environment and it must be able to provide quality fresh produce at an affordable price,” Mr Coote said.
“So any potential cost increases which can flow back to the grower can severely impact their global competitiveness and profitability. That is why an industry/government-led committee to oversee any regulatory costs would be beneficial.”

AUSVEG’s 2019 Federal Election priorities can be viewed at: https://ausveg.com.au/sprout-growing-a-better-future/

Source: www.freshplaza.com 

Indian mango exports - Mango consignments leaving for US & Australia

As Alphonso mangoes are in great demand in many markets abroad, they form a substantial chunk of India’s export basket. The mango export season has started in Maharashtra, with 28 tons of the fruit leaving for American and Australian shores.

Officers of the Maharashtra State Agricultural Marketing Board (MSAMB) said they are aiming for a 15-20 per cent increase compared to last year’s exports. This year, Board officials have set a target of 800 tons of exports for US markets.

MSAMB officials said the 28 tons of mangoes, meant for American and Australian markets, have been treated in an irradiation facility in Vashi. Similarly, 7.5 tons of mangoes for Russian and New Zealand markets have received the vapour heat treatment.

In order to facilitate exports, the MSAMB recently organised two workshops in Konkan for farmers, as well as for buyers and sellers. Workshops were also conducted on how to produce export-quality fruits.

Source: indianexpress.com via www.freshplaza.com 

AHEIA pleased that government focus has turned to horticulture exports

The Australian Horticulture Exporter's and Importers' Association has welcomed the Federal Coalition Government's multi-million-dollar commitment to growing horticulture exports, provided in this month's budget.

A total of $29.4 million worth of measures were announced, to target agricultural sectors with high export growth potential. Exact details are still vague, given the Federal Government went into caretaker mode soon after the budget was released, due to the pending election on May 18. The AHEIA says this is the first time it can remember focus being placed on horticulture exports.

"It's great to see horticulture is taking the spotlight on the agriculture trade agenda because it is an incredibly positive story for the Australian economy," CEO Dominic Jenkin said. "It hasn't attracted as much attention (in the past) so it was great to see that as the centrepiece of agriculture trade announcements. Furthermore, the focus on gaining additional market access and improving the conditions for trade into our major markets. However, there is precious little detail in the statement, so time will tell where the investments go, and the quality of those investments."

One of the major commitments was to provide $11.4 million over four years to break through the technical and scientific trade barriers so Australian fruit and vegetables can get market access into more countries. The AHEIA welcomes any way to streamline that process.

“Horticultural trade is often limited by sanitary and phytosanitary measures,” Mr Jenkin said. “This can occur as either delays in the assessment and establishment of appropriate measures, or the imposition of impractical measures. Investment in improving horticultural market access and trade should promote greater transparency and understanding in the application of phytosanitary measures. This would include timely approval of market access applications and to promptly and transparently conduct risk assessments when required. Attention should be paid to improving the technical dialogue with our trading partners to ensure the most practicable solutions are selected and implemented."

He added that the problem with that is that is that while the process is intended to be purely scientific, it can often become political, in terms of "the way that it is drafted, the timeliness, and whom they engage to draft it".

"Market access is an inherently political process, and trade in every sense is reciprocal," he said. "We will need to have a hard look at access and conditions that we impose upon exporters to our market, and our operational practices to support that trade. So, I think it is relational, so I think we need to be spending money to improve the relationship with our most important trading partners. We have been challenged by our broader government perspectives, in terms of our relationships with our more important trading partners. It's important that we move to improve those, and show real value to our trading partners, show we care about what they are interested in and compromise to find mutual benefits, rather than engage in confrontational approaches."

Mr Jenkin would also like to see a greater focus on improving relationships with trading partners, which can sometimes involve delicate political negotiations.

"Relationships are rarely maintained through the pragmatic argument of facts, but rather deep understanding," he said. "If we know only our own needs and we ignore the needs of our trading partners we cannot expect relationships to prosper. We must look deeply in order to identify and understand the needs, aspirations and adversities they encounter. This is the groundwork required for relationships to prosper."

The Federal Government stated that only 18 per cent of horticulture production was exported, meaning that there is huge potential for growth. The industry is currently taking a diverse approach, supplying to around 30 countries. However, one of the most important areas for growth in recent years has of course been China.

The AHEIA says one of the eventual key winners of this investment will be regional communities.

"At the end of the day, it is all flowing back to the farms and our regional communities," Mr Jenkin said. "In horticulture, up to 50 per cent of the cost of production is the labour component. Whilst it is a huge problem in terms of accessing this labour, it is also a positive for the communities that support those populations. It is extremely positive to see the investment in this area, and we would certainly welcome engagement with any government around the world in improving horticulture trade. Trade also means importing products as well, and we see maintaining that balance is vital in maintaining our status in our most important markets."

For more information
Dominic Jenkin
Australian Horticulture Exporter's and Importers' Association
Phone: +61 423 394 476

Publication date: 4/17/2019
Author: matthew@freshplaza.com
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