As part of its effort to explore alternate transportation methods, Giumarra announces its first load of product delivered by railroad: watermelons.
Giumarra Nogales shipped watermelons grown in Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico to Jessup, MD, by 50-foot refrigerated railcar in May. This marks one of the first time in decades produce grown in Mexico was shipped via train.
By working with Nogales-based Pacific Brokerage, Giumarra coordinated a full shipment of the melons, which arrived at their destination in good condition.
“Although our delivery had a few challenges, we feel the overall success of the trip demonstrates that watermelons are sturdy enough to handle rail shipment, and it may be a viable option for us in the future,” Gil Munguia, division manager of Giumarra Nogales, said in a press release.
Giumarra’s Cesar Pacheco, sales manager of Giumarra Nogales, worked with J.B. Manson of Pacific Brokerage for over three years to seek a railroad company that wanted to be involved with the project. Their efforts found traction with the state of Arizona’s “Arizona/Mexico Commission” and the Port of Tucson.
Through the efforts of Pacheco and Manson, Union Pacific and CSX Corporation agreed to participate in a pilot program with Giumarra.
“With the success of our first run, we hope to push skepticism to the side and grab the attention of the railroads for future projects,” Pacheco said in the release. “We can move one ton of cargo more than 500 miles on a single gallon of diesel using rail. We believe this will help minimize the carbon footprint of long-haul shipping.”
The company noted that one railcar is able to fit up to three truckloads of product.
Giumarra plans to ship honeydew melons, winter squash and cucumbers within the rail pilot program. The next planned shipment is headed for Chicago on a 64-foot railcar.