U.S.: Charleston Port to join pilot import program for South American fruit
A pilot program for Latin American fruit that requires cold treatment may expand to include the port of Charleston in South Carolina, growing on a program that has been rolled out in South Florida and Savannah, Georgia.
In a release, Crowley Maritime Corp. subsidiary Customized Brokers said it could begin clearing certain produce from Peru, Uruguay and Argentina into the port this spring.
The pilot is part of an initiative with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services (APHIS), cutting the need for chemical fumigation while also eliminating the potential for potential pest incursions.
The treatment begins with pre-cooling dockside at the point of export or once the produce is aboard the vessel, then refrigerating the cargo at acceptable temperatures for the duration of transit and, finally, keeping it at near-freezing temperatures for around two weeks upon arrival portside in the U.S.
Once formally implemented, Customized Brokers will be authorized to clear citrus, blueberries and grapes from Peru; blueberries and grapes from Uruguay; and blueberries, apples and pears from Argentina.
As with previous implementations, containers that do not pass cold treatment will be prohibited from entering the port and will not be offloaded from vessels. Instead, failed containers will be allowed transit via sea to a Northeastern port for retreatment, or, they will be re-exported to the country of origin.
“We’ve worked diligently with the Florida Perishable Trade Coalition to make the cold-treatment program a reality,” said Customized Brokers vice president Nelly Yunta.
"Each time the program expands to include another port of entry or an additional commodity, it’s a huge win for consumers looking to have fresh produce on their tables throughout the year.”
The Florida Perishable Trades Coalition is a non-profit association co-founded by Crowley, Customized Brokers, Seaboard Marine and Port Miami, developed to increase trade in perishable products through Florida’s air and seaports as an alternative to congested Northeast ports.
Prior to the program’s start in 2013, these perishables were required to enter Northeastern ports for cold treatment and clearance, but then had to be transported to southern states for distribution into stores.
Headline photo: Port of Charleston, taken by Jonathan Lamb, via Wikimedia Creative Commons