Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Container Shipping Set for a Boost as US Customs Regulations Change on Perishable Freight

Cargo at Port Could Soon Reach Record Levels as Rules Change and Panama Opening Looms Closer
Shipping News Feature

US – PERU – The Port of Miami is better known for its cruise line facilities than its cargo shipping and container handling but last month during a Peru Investors Forum held in the city executives from PortMiami met with representatives from Peru to discuss options for increased ocean freight trade between the South American country and the Port. In the past, certain Peruvian products could only enter the U.S. via certain North Eastern ports, however on October 1st a new pilot programme will go into effect allowing ‘cold treated’ products to be imported directly through the Florida port.

Thanks to the efforts of U.S. Customs and Border Patrol, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the Florida Perishables Trade Coalition, a group formed by industry stakeholders in January last year specifically to lobby for changes such as this, grapes and blueberries will travel directly from Peru to PortMiami. The produce will be cooled prior to its departure from Peru and will arrive ready for immediate distribution and sale. Cold treatment is a process performed on fruits and vegetables that entails sustained refrigeration sufficient to kill pests associated with imported fruits and vegetables.

Over the past several years, PortMiami together with officials from Peru along with importers, growers and customs brokers have been working toward increasing the imports of Peruvian fruits to the United States and this milestone agreement will save growers and importers both time and money with goods arriving fresher and faster. Bill Johnson, Director of PortMiami, commented:

“It is great to see that the combined efforts of the U.S. and Peruvian governments have paid off. Thanks to the efficient processing of cargo at PortMiami, this produce will be able to reach 70% of the U.S. population in four days or less. This opens up opportunities for both our countries and we look forward to increasing bi-lateral trade.”

The Floridian port is making efforts to keep ahead of market trends, by deepening its approach channel to fifty feet the port claims to be the closest port in the US capable of berthing the new generation container vessels en route to and from the enlarged Panama Canal, due to open to the bigger vessels in 2014/5. This, it says, gives those with an interest in the Asian markets a significant advantage in terms of shipping times.

By linking up with the intermodal Florida East Coast rail network shippers can look forward to both time and emission savings according to PortMiami, which says the rail link consistently provides the most reliable freight transportation service between Southeast U.S. markets and the world, claiming the on-dock intermodal rail facility can provide shippers with absolute lead times that match or exceed those of trucking.

With international transhipment options available to link Latin America and the Caribbean to European markets, PortMiami claims to be in an ideal position to boost, what has been up to now, the second string to its bow.

Photo: The ‘Tunnel Breakout’ in May 2013, Miami is scheduled to complete this ambitious project in one year’s time. The tunnel will link the port with the Florida’s interstate highway system, removing trucks from the city streets and carrying it under Biscayne Bay.