U.S.: Peruvian pilot program off to strong start for PortMiami

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U.S.: Peruvian pilot program off to strong start for PortMiami

A pilot program to import Peruvian grapes by sea into southern Florida is now in full swing, with PortMiami expecting to receive around 150 containers of the fruit this season.  red grapes

"It’s a relatively small number, but that's better than zero and that's where we were a year ago," port director Bill Johnson told www.freshfruitportal.com.

"We are obviously hopeful that the pilot program becomes authorized and becomes standard procedure. At this point we feel confident that we'll past the test."

Johnson said his objective was to grow this number to "thousands" in the coming years, with the goal of the port becoming a "major player in the movement of fresh produce".

Peruvian blueberries are also included in the new program with the first shipments set to arrive in January, and rough estimates that 100 containers of the fruit will arrive in this campaign.

The protocol also allows for Uruguayan blueberries and citrus, while the Port of Everglades is also listed as an alternative receiver.

Johnson said the protocol was a tribute to the hard work undertaken by the public and private sectors in partnership, to advance the worthwhile cause of bringing perishables directly into Florida to service the state and the southeastern United States.

"We’ve been working diligently over the last three or four years both at the state levels and the regulatory officials in Washington to be able to develop this initial pilot program, which is in place now."

He said three shipping lines - Seaport Marine, Maersk and APL - were servicing PortMiami as part of the initiative, with a journey time of around 20 days from the Peruvian ports of Callao and Paita, depending on the carrier.

"They start the cold treatment one or two days before leaving, and they stop in Panama for a week where they complete the cold treatment," Johnson said.

"When they are sure the cold treatment is passed, they send the information to the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture), and they ship to Miami.

"The reason is because in Florida we are allowed to receive cold treatment grapes from Peru, but the cold treatment has to be completed before they get into Florida; it's almost the same protocol that is used for California as an example."

Products under consideration

Crowley's Customized Brokers, which was involved in creating the program, recently released the following list of targeted countries and commodities under consideration for the pilot program, emphasizing it was open to other suggestions:

- Peru: Grapes, blueberries, strawberries, mandarins, oranges, tangerines, cherries, kiwifruit, grapefruit, tangelos and clementines.

- Uruguay: Grapes, blueberries, strawberries, apples, kiwis, mandarins, oranges, pears and persimmons.

- Argentina: Grapes, blueberries, strawberries, apples, pears, quinces, plums, mandarins, oranges, peaches, apricots, cherries, kiwifruit and nectarines.

- Colombia: Blueberries, cape gooseberries, grapes, grapefruit, plums, pomegranates, oranges, tangerines, clementines and mandarins.

- South Africa: Oranges, clementines, lemons, tangerines, nectarines, pears, plums, plumcots, grapefruit, peaches, grapes, cherries, blueberries, apricots and apples.

- Spain: Grapes, oranges, clementines, mandarins, kiwifruit, apples, persimmons, grapefruit, ortaniques, ethrogs (citron), tangerines, loquats and verna lemons.

Photo: www.shutterstock.com


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