“This season, the fresh produce item with the highest volume from Chile coming into the U.S. is blueberries,” said Nelly Yunta, vice president of sales, marketing and customer care, liner and logistics business groups for Crowley Maritime Corporation in Jacksonville, FL.
“Last year, we also had a high volume of blueberry imports from Chile, and so there has not been much change in that regard. Volumes for this commodity continue to be high this season,” she added.
Customized Brokers, the customs brokerage and consulting division of Crowley Maritime Corporation, is located in Miami. In February, the company announced the opening of a new cold-storage warehouse facility at its Miami location.
The facility, known as Crowley Fresh, features multiple humidity- and temperature-controlled coolers. It is open around the clock to store and handle perishables imported from or exported to Latin America, South America, the Caribbean, Europe, Asia and the Far East.
The state-of-the-art facility is ideal for perishable storage or may be used as an in-transit consolidation or deconsolidation point.
Crowley Fresh features high-tech cooling and monitoring equipment, including forced-air precooling, which can be adjusted to meet and maintain varying temperature requirements. With 400,000 total cubic feet of refrigerated space, the facility also offers additional storage space for cargo supplies and non-refrigerated materials.
“When you’re shipping temperature-sensitive goods, every second counts,” said Ms. Yunta. “Shippers of perishables need a reliable and committed cold-chain logistics partner who has industry-leading specialized equipment and experience. We can offer this and more, including a diverse suite of additional logistics capabilities, such as Customs brokerage, air freight and trucking services. For South Florida perishable customers, Crowley is truly a one-stop-shop shipping and logistics provider.”
Ms. Yunta added that the company has successfully begun operating at the facility, and it looks forward to always providing a one-stop-shop solution to its perishables customers who may need a spacious and secure facility with state-of-the-art equipment for their goods in cases of overflow or just to keep their product fresh.
Customized Brokers caters heavily to the clearance of fruits and vegetables coming into the United States, but it is able to clear anything that is imported.
Ms. Yunta stressed that time is essential when dealing with fresh products, which is why having the right systems and processes in place help ensure that everything is done in a timely and efficient manner.
“Every minute wasted puts the cargo at risk of reducing its freshness,” she added. “When you have a proper system in order, you can do things in a timely and efficient manner and ensure that your customer is happy.”
Customized Brokers always works to stay on top of the necessary permits and paperwork well ahead of time to ensure that the cargo it is clearing doesn’t sit around and is released as soon as possible.
“Being aware of these regulations and making sure all permits and paperwork are in order is definitely one of the ways we make sure we have a smooth and efficient way of expediting the release of all the cargo we clear,” said Ms. Yunta.
Maintaining strong relationships with U.S. government agencies is also very important to the company, “because we know it will only help all of us be more efficient, and in the end provide the customer with reliable services,” she said. “Thanks to our collaboration with government agencies we are able to inform our customers in a timely manner about new regulations that will affect them. And we are able to address issues affecting our customers and the trade and find solutions together. This form of open communication and collaboration is imperative to improving and continuing to streamline the processes in our industry.”
Chilean blueberries, stone fruit and grapes typically run from December through March. Ms. Yunta noted that the company has not noticed any significant changes in issues related to diseases or insects in Chile this year and that movements have been smooth and without problems.