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Ports of the Delaware River thriving on global produce trade

PHILADELPHIA — International produce trade is thriving, and the ports of the Delaware River are serving that growth and expanding services for the global fruit trade.

Countries like Peru and Uruguay are growing in their role to export fresh fruits and vegetables to the United States. Chile remains an enormous produce supplier, with that trade now spread across the calendar year. Central American and South American banana trade is as strong as always. South Africa, Spain and Morocco are building their export volumes to the United States. Argentina, Ecuador, Honduras, Costa Rica Guatemala and Brazil are among Latin America’s strong suppliers of fresh produce. All of these countries, and more, are shipping product through the ports of the Delaware River.

Dole, Chiquita, Del Monte, Turbana and Banacol all ship bananas into Wilmington, DE, Gloucester City, NJ, and Philadelphia, and bananas received into the river are reportedly up.

Summertime — and wintertime — soft-peel citrus has become a major commodity for seaports and their service providers here.

The perishable freight service providers along the Delaware River “do an excellent job” for international fresh fruit and vegetable traders, according to Robert Palaima, the president of Delaware River Stevedores Inc., based in Philadelphia. “We are blessed to be in the heart of a huge megalopolis, which has a huge concentration of people and a large part of the nation’s GDP.” Palaima said seaports in southern New Jersey, Philadelphia and Wilmington have continued to invest in expansion and “there is great highway access. We enjoy a plethora of trucking options. We have great backhauls.”

“We have the infrastructure to cater to the perishable cargo industry and a large pool of experienced labor to draw from,” he said. The close proximity of the key ports “can more efficiently and effectively allocate labor from the government to have inspectors be available to assist the movement of cargo.” If the ports were “more far-flung it would be difficult.”

Palaima said there is an advantage in having port facilities in three states because it involves more national political allies than would be the case if only one state were involved.

Cooperating groups, such as the Chilean Chamber and the Maritime Exchange for the Delaware River & Bay can quickly and cooperatively bring new issues to their national representatives. Those representatives are able to “understand these issues and work well in representing us.”

Thomas Holt III, who is in business development for Holt Logistics Corp. in Gloucester City, said “all the facilities on the Delaware River have done well. This is a big fruit port. We have had relationships” with the fruit industry “for 40 years. The facilities are geared to handle fruit.”

Holt said that the stevedores, warehousemen and inspections “are quality people. Everybody works together in the whole system for a superior product.” In addition to a fine infrastructure “we have good relationships with the government agencies whose personnel understand the produce business and help expedite trade.”

Holt credits independent cold storages — such as Manfredi Cold Storage in Kennett Square, PA, and Lucca Freezer & Cold Storage Inc., in Mullica Hill, NJ — for increasing the efficiency of the ports with not only large, modern cold storages but also repacking and other services to benefit the “reefer niche.”

Chris Ryan, business development manager of perishables for OHL International, indicated that seaport operations in Wilmington, Chester, PA, Philadelphia and Gloucester City “all do a great job. We have a ton of cold storage space. The infrastructure is here and our customers know why they bring their freight here. They know we know how to handle it.”

Ryan said the volume of fresh produce imported into the Delaware River seaports this year will increase. “Uruguay will start exporting more summer citrus. They shipped five or six trial containers last year. This year they plan to ship a lot more. Peru is a big growth market. Costa Rica is always a staple with pineapples and bananas. Ecuador is a staple. Chile is huge, as well, and we value that relationship.”

Food Lion's free grocery giveaway

Each day through July 29, Food Lion is giving one customer at each of its participating stores the opportunity to win up to $100 in free groceries during the grocer’s “MVP Free Grocery Giveaway.” One grand prize winner will also receive a year’s supply of free groceries.

More than 15,000 winning customers will enjoy immediate savings of up to $100, not to exceed their grocery bill, at checkout, through this “pay it forward” program. All participants are also immediately entered into the drawing to win the grand prize of a year’s supply of groceries.

To enter, customers simply purchase any five participating items in one transaction and scan their MVP card at checkout. Participating items are clearly tagged on store shelves and are also listed in a booklet that can be found in stores.

The promotion is running at all participating Food Lion stores. There is no purchase necessary, and the official rules, including the participating stores and the free method of entry, can be found at

Loblaw Cos. names Galen G. Weston president

The board of directors of Loblaw Cos. Ltd. announced that Galen G. Weston, executive chairman, has been appointed as president, effective immediately. Thomas O'Neill, lead independent director, confirmed the appointment as part of a series of management changes at the company.

As executive chairman, Weston is responsible for setting the strategic direction of the company and in leading the board. In assuming the position of president, Weston will also be responsible for the execution of the company's strategy, leadership of the management team and its overall business performance.

Weston has an extensive background in Canadian retail, and an intimate knowledge of the business and its talent. He has been the strategic architect of reshaping the grocery business, as well as transforming Loblaw into a diversified portfolio of complementary businesses, including the creation of Choice Properties and the acquisition of Shoppers Drug Mart.

"I am excited about the future, and the opportunity to execute on the strategic vision we have built for the company," Weston said in a press release. "I am confident that Loblaw will continue to advance its business both financially and operationally and be well positioned to create long-term sustainable value."

The company also announced the following additional management changes

Vicente Trius, president since August 2011, will be leaving the business for family reasons to return to Brazil. In commenting on Trius's departure, Weston said, "Vicente has made an enormous impact on virtually every aspect of our business in the time that he has been with the company. Our businesses are stronger, our customer proposition more compelling, and our operating effectiveness much improved. He has set a strong foundation for the future.

"When we release our second quarter results next week," continued Weston, "You will see that Vicente and the team have delivered another solid quarter in a very competitive supermarket environment, with synergies, SAP and efficiencies on track. With the business in very good shape, Vicente felt it was the right time to leave Loblaw. I respect his decision, and on behalf of the Board and all of our colleagues in the business, I thank him for his many contributions."

As part of the new management structure to support the company's evolving business, Weston appointed seasoned operational leaders to assume the following key roles:

Additionally, Richard Dufresne will assume the role of chief financial officer of Loblaw, and he will retain his role as CFO at George Weston; Sarah Davis, previously CFO, will become chief administrative officer; Grant Froese, previously chief administrative officer, becomes chief operating officer of the company; and Mike Motz, currently executive vice president and chief merchandising officer, will become the president of Shoppers Drug Mart. The rest of the broader management team remain unchanged.

"I am very confident in the exceptionally talented team at Loblaw," said Weston. "This positions us well to leverage the potential of the new retail organization and drive financial performance."

The Produce Mom welcomes Chelan Fresh to family of partners

Chelan Fresh Marketing has joined The Produce Mom family of partners. The partnership was established with a primary goal of marketing the Rockit apple, which has been promoted on The Produce Mom's blog, social media and WISH-TV/Indy Style news segments.

The Rockit apple promotions were well-received.

Jeff Ryg, Kroger Central Division, praised The Produce Mom's campaigns: "She creates buzz. Our shoppers are fans and followers of The Produce Mom. I have great confidence in our ability to sell a product when The Produce Mom is talking about it. It's exciting for me to see so many of Kroger's valued partners joining The Produce Mom Family of Partners."

After the success of the Rockit Apple promotion, Chelan Fresh invited The Produce Mom to join its annual cherry harvest tour. This year's tour took place July 13-15 in the Lake Chelan area. Chelan Fresh invites individuals representing positions of industry influence to participate in its ag tourism and education program. This year's guests included registered dietitians, food stylists, bloggers, consumers, as well as policy and commission representatives.

"We at Chelan Fresh are proud to support The Produce Mom,” Kathryn Grandy of Chelan Fresh said in a press release.  “It's very exciting to witness the way her social campaigns and consumer marketing style benefit our brand.  We have great respect for all fellow members of The Produce Mom Family and we look forward to working with The Produce Mom to increase the consumption of fresh produce.”
“I am very passionate about introducing consumers to new and exciting items in the produce department, such as the Rockit apple,” Lori Taylor, The Produce Mom, said in a press release. “The experience at Chelan Fresh was invaluable to me and all the followers of The Produce Mom. I love demonstrating to consumers the protocol and care that is necessary to bring a fresh produce item from the farms to our home kitchens. Our industry’s dedication to sustainability and food safety is beyond admirable.”

Turbana taps into community opinion to find new social program to support

25Klogo-copyCorporations often donate money to charities or non-profits, but it’s rare to find an organization that lets the consumer decide where their support should go. Turbana, a premier banana producer,  is taking its social movement “Growing Smiles, Sharing Goodness” to a new level by encouraging the community to speak up and choose causes close to their own hearts and homes.25kGroupPromo-copy The community cause that receives the most votes will win a $25,000 sponsorship, and Turbana will work with community members to instate a program that supports the cause.

Dubbed “Win 25K For Your Cause,” this interactive contest gives the community a chance to speak up, take action and have a big effect. The contest is fully housed within Turbana’s Facebook, and it is driven by consumer engagement, votes and shares throughout the period of July 1-Aug. 12. Consumers visiting the tab are invited to “tally” themselves into Turbana’s ongoing “Growing Smiles, Sharing Goodness” movement, which focuses on empowering individuals to do good for their communities. During the voting period, they can nominate a cause of their choice or vote for a cause that has already been nominated.

Since Turbana’s main focus is on inspiring healthier, happier communities, it’s only appropriate that the company takes on such an ambitious call-to-action. Born from a cooperative of farmers seeking a better standard of living, Turbana takes pride in empowering the communities in which it is present.

“Win 25K For Your Cause” will empower individuals to make a difference by bringing light to community organizations that need support, while simultaneously bringing about positive change in their local areas. Turbana aims to produce a snowball effect by using the company’s own enthusiasm and passion for community involvement to inspire individuals to participate in giving back to their communities across the nation.