AAPA Seaports Advisory

Trade Expansion: Savannah

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Savannah Receives First Citrus Imports from Peru

The first containers of imported produce to undergo cold-treatment have arrived at the Port of Savannah, carrying tangelos from Peru for an Atlanta-based wholesale produce distributor, J.J. Jardina.

Shipped from Andean Sun Produce farms in Ica, Peru, the tangelos are part of a U.S. Department of Agriculture pilot program, in which citrus, grapes and blueberries are chilled for at least 17 days prior to entry into the U.S. to protect against fruit flies. Removing potential pests via cold treatment reduces the need for pesticides.

The process may be performed in producing countries, including Peru, Chile and Brazil, or at transshipment points such as Panama. The fruit will move in refrigerated containers held just over freezing during transit aboard cargo vessels, effectively cutting the time fruit must remain stationary for treatment.

"The importation of citrus products after successful cold-treatment while in-route from South America highlights U.S. Customs and Border Protection's commitment to working with federal, state, and trade stakeholders," said CBP Savannah Area Port Director Lisa Beth Brown. "These combined efforts resulted in successful innovation and trade facilitation without compromise to CBP's mission to protect domestic agriculture from potential introduction of harmful pests and disease."

Nelly Yunta, vice president of Customized Brokers, which brought the cargo to Savannah, said the choice to use GPA came down to market proximity and customer service.

"The Port of Savannah was a strategic decision for the pilot program not only because of its convenient location, but because of its eagerness to bring the program online there," Mr. Yunta said. "They put in a lot of effort to make it happen, and already have processes in place to handle the new cargo efficiently. Citrus shippers will ultimately benefit from this new location, regardless of who they choose as a carrier. It's a good thing for the Southeastern region."

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