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CrowleyFresh team: Ready for upcoming fall-winter berry season

CrowleyFresh, which opened in Miami in early 2013, is a joint offering by Crowley Maritime Corp., headquartered in Jacksonville, FL, and Customized Brokers, a Customs brokerage company also in Miami. CrowleyFresh offers perishable shippers a new state-of-the-art, cold storage warehouse facility with multiple humidity and temperature-controlled coolers.

chile blueberriesChilean blueberries being handled at the CrowleyFresh facility in Miami.Eduardo Campos, director of CrowleyFresh, said it is an innovative facility that can service cargoes arriving in South Florida from Latin and South America, the Caribbean, Europe, Asia and the Far East, with destinations throughout the world.

“The facility is fully certified by industry regulators to ensure food safety and the highest quality services,” said Campos. “In addition to these cold-storage solutions, Crowley’s liner and logistics team can offer a full suite of complementary services, including liner shipping, LTL trucking, distribution Customs brokerage and more.”

Campos said that every year is different in the imported berry category. Last year saw some problems with the quality of the fruit due to a very wet and rainy season, which resulted in much of the fruit being damaged.

“This year all indications show that the weather conditions are looking good, which will likely lead to a high-quality season,” said Campos. “In terms of an increase or decrease in the number of imports, simply stated, the U.S. market dictates the demand.”

The berries cleared by Customized Brokers originate from Argentina, Uruguay and Chile. New this year is Peru, which will be importing its first season’s worth of blueberries. Campos said that of these countries, Argentina and Chile provide the most imports, mostly via air and ocean transportation.

“From the aforementioned companies, blueberries surge first in late September,” he said. “Then raspberries start in the middle to late November. Cherries start in late November, after Thanksgiving. There is a two to three week fluctuation each year, but the dates from year to year remain relatively close.”

Campos explained that this year, Argentina has been granted permission to treat perishables with reduced amounts of the fumigant methyl bromide and lower temperatures.

“These regulation changes are positive in that they will ensure higher quality fruit upon arrival in the U.S.,” he said. “Additionally, cold treatment required for perishable fruits from Peru and Chile will now be allowed to clear through South Florida instead of Philadelphia [see article this section]. This change is part of a pilot program spearheaded by the Florida Perishables Coalition, which includes Nelly Yunta, vice president of sales, marketing and customer care for Crowley Maritime.”

The benefits of the pilot program include shorter transit times for time-sensitive perishables from these areas and lower transportation costs for shippers, ultimately resulting in lower prices and a higher-quality product for consumers.

“The berries imported by Crowley arrive in our Miami facilities for distribution throughout the U.S., including locations in California, Texas, New York, Philadelphia, Massachusetts as well as other ports of entry,” Campos added.

A new driving rack system was recently installed at the CrowleyFresh facility, which now allows for 900 new pallet positions.

“The advantages allow for maximized space of the facility, while at the same time allowing better rotation of the products,” said Campos. “The new system is ideal for any type of perishable coming through the CrowleyFresh facility.

“The CrowleyFresh team is fully staffed and trained, and ready for the upcoming fall and winter season,” he added.