Despite the Washington cherry crop being 20% lighter this season, the UK's largest importer J O Sims is still expecting to handle more than 200,000 9kg cartons.
MD Christopher Sims said the reduced crop was due to a combination of wet and windy weather during pollination and some isolated incidences of frost damage.
Exports have escaped the threat of increased duty this season that could have arisen through the EU/US trade sanctions row.
However, Sims said, if the row was not resolved a 15% rise could be in place in 2003.
Meanwhile, he still expects the first Bings to arrive in early July, although other importers may well start earlier. While fruit is airfreighted, Stemilt Growers, which Sims represents, will be bagging at source for UK supermarkets and shipping in atmosphere packaging. Final quality checks and pricing will still take place at Sims' depot in Spalding.