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Nelly Yunta promoted to vice president of Customized Brokers

On Oct. 14, Crowley Maritime Corp.’s logistics group announced that it named Nelly Yunta vice president of U.S. imports, customs brokerage and consulting for Customized Brokers, Crowley’s customs brokerage company in Miami, where Ms. Yunta is based. She reports to Crowley’s Steve Collar, senior vice president and general manager, logistics.

Nelly Yunta

In this new position, Ms. Yunta oversees the company’s customs clearance, brokerage and consulting services for customers of all cargo types. She is maintaining her previous responsibilities, including the coordination of operations activities for Customized Brokers, development of policies and procedures, operating results, profit and loss responsibilities, coordination and negotiation of service provider agreements, and business development.

“Nelly is extremely capable and has the right experience to be highly effective in this position,” Mr. Collar said in a press release announcing the promotion. “Combining her experience in the apparel trade with her more recent experience in perishables, Nelly is a perfect fit for this position. This appointment pulls together Crowley’s and Customized Brokers’ superior expertise in high-value apparel and perishable markets for the benefit of our customers. Our goal is to become a one-stop shop for our customers: not only for Customs’ clearance of time-sensitive cargoes, but also to provide the needed consulting services for the complex world of customs regulations.”

Ruben Montanez, senior account executive for Customized Brokers, told The Produce News that the season for Chilean berries began the first week of November.

“Berries will run through the first part of 2012,” he said. “Blueberries especially have enjoyed raised consciousness in the U.S. due to the media coverage on the health benefits. This item is strong and will be increasing in the future.”

The Chilean season also includes stone fruits and grapes, and overall it runs from early November to late February or early March. Mr. Montanez said that the majority of Chilean fruit enters the United States at the port of Philadelphia, although a portion does come into south Florida.

Mr. Montanez said that clearance regulations are about the same on Chilean fruits as they have been in the past, but some food-safety regulations remain to be clarified by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Food & Drug Administration.

“In the meantime, we’re going through the normal established procedures,” he said. “Two issues are being looked at: safety for consumers and processing of the paperwork for clearance.”

He added that Customized Brokers is seeing an increase in business coming its way from Chile. “Business from Chile has increased every year for the past several years,” he noted. “The berry category especially has enjoyed increases in demand in the U.S., with the growth attributed to the health benefits of berries and the media attention paid to the category. We will be seeing a 10 percent increase on Chilean blueberries this year.”

Christy Blanco-Frias, also a senior account executive for Customized Brokers, added that the company definitely expects to see further increases in demand for Chilean fruit in the future. “Exporters in Chile are highly experienced, and they follow the demand trends,” she said. “With U.S. schools promoting nutrition today, we can only expect greater demand in the future.”

Ms. Blanco-Frias added that the company is moving into a larger facility in 2012 where all the Crowley companies will be consolidated under one roof. “This will help us to communicate better within our organization,” she added.

Customized Brokers also recently announced that the company hired Christopher Ryan as its new perishables logistics specialist for the Northeast. Mr. Ryan is based in Pennsauken, NJ. In this position, he is responsible for business development, customer service and maintaining relationships with terminals, government agencies and industry associations in the Northeast, including those in Delaware, Pennsylvania and parts of New York.

Prior to joining Customized Brokers, Mr. Ryan served as a sales and marketing representative for a logistics company in Gloucester, NJ, where he gained experience in both the terminal and brokerage side of the industry, selling warehousing, project cargo, perishables and other services.