U.S.: Crowley achieves "milestone" with Florida's first ocean-to-air perishables transshipment

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U.S.: Crowley achieves

U.S.-based logistics company Crowley Maritime Corporation has successfully carried out Florida's first perishables ocean-to-air transshipment from Central America to Europe, and a representative says there is potential to bring a similar program to other regions of the world.

Crowley's subsidiary Customized Brokers shipped a 10-metric-ton (MT) consignment of snow peas from Guatemala to Port Everglades, following which they were flown from Miami International Airport to Amsterdam.

Speaking to Fresh Fruit Portal, Customized Brokers vice president Nelly Yunta explained the new program had been developed in response to customers' needs, and was intended to save shippers both time and money.

Airfreight capacity from Guatemala is a limiting factor for many of the country's fresh fruit and vegetable exporters, she explained. But given the far higher capacity at Miami International Airport and the relative proximity between the two areas it made sense to combine the two methods of transportation.

She said seafreight transit from Guatemala to Port Everglades took two days, whereas it would take 15 days to reach the Netherlands from the Central American country entirely via ocean.

While Yunta also explained there was potential for Customized Brokers to bring a similar ocean-to-air perishables program to other parts of the world, she said that for the time being it would focus on Central America.

The refrigerated cargo arrived in Port Everglades aboard Crowley’s cargo ship Tucana J, was trucked to MIA and then departed for Amsterdam via Centurion Cargo in early February.

The shipping program was also developed alongside the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

Future shipments on the program will depart either to destinations in Europe or Asia.

In a statement, Crowley's director of reefer logistics Janet Ramos said the ocean-to-air pilot program was "another innovative program created by Customized Brokers as a solution to their customers moving perishable cargo from Latin America to Europe."

"Once again we listened to our customers’ needs and created solutions for them to have fresh produce on the shelves,” she said.

"We worked very hard to be the first company obtaining this permit, and the value we bring with this program that set us apart from our competitors is that everything is coordinated through our own divisions through a single phone call.

"Having multiple sailings from Central America provides an excellent option to our customers to reach to many destinations in Europe. Crowley ‘People Who Know’ have come up once again with solutions to our customers wanting to have alternatives to their supply chain."

Meanwhile, Customized Brokers vice president Kimberly Wakeman hailed the shipment as a "milestone" that demonstrates the company's "ability to provide far-reaching services".

Last year, the USDA approved the program’s permit, and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agreed to expedite processing of the ocean shipments before their air departures.

Crowley says shippers will receive expedited air transport for perishable products without paying CBP duties, since the cargo travels in-bond.

The company also highlighted that it became one of the first U.S. private companies to be certified and validated by CBP as part of its new Marine Port Terminal Operator (MPTO) designation, known as the AQUA Lane program, at its Port Everglades terminal.

With CBP approval 12 hours prior to a ship’s estimated arrival, the company can now begin cargo discharge and load back upon docking in Port Everglades, increasing the speed of port turn times and expediting cargo movement.

The new program follows successful expansion of services expanding the clearance of certain produce requiring cold-treatment from Peru, Uruguay and Argentina into South Florida as well as South Carolina's Port of Charleston and Georgia's Port of Savannah.


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