AAPA Seaports Advisory

Trade Development: Savannah

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Savannah adds Peruvian grapes to import perishables

The Port of Savannah is now receiving grapes from Peru, adding to the list of imported cold-treated perishables using Savannah as a port of entry.

"Savannah currently handles avocados, citrus and sweet onions from Peru," said Georgia Ports Authority Executive Director Curtis Foltz. "With the introduction of Peruvian red globe grapes, we are now receiving all of the category leaders from Peru."

The grapes, from Andean Sun Produce farms in Ica and Piura, Peru, fall under a U.S. Department of Agriculture program, in which citrus, grapes and blueberries are chilled for at least 17 days prior to entry into the United States. Removing potential pests by cold treatment reduces the need for pesticides.

"Weather conditions in Peru allows us to grow and harvest grapes throughout the year; but because of market needs our season goes from October to December in the north and from January to March in the south," said Edward Villar of Andean Sun Produce.

The Miami-based company is the U.S. marketing agent under the "Gold Cup" brand for La Calera and Talsa, two large Peruvian growers of citrus, blueberries, avocados, grapes and mangos. For the trial run on grapes, produce wholesaler J.J. Jardina imported the red globe variety. Matt Jardina, of the Atlanta-based company, said using the Port of Savannah saves time and freight costs.

According to Mr. Villar, Andean Sun plans to move all the varieties it grows of red and green seedless grapes and "will continue to use the Port of Savannah for our summer citrus season, and we are close to starting with blueberries."

Mr. Villar said the USDA program to allow cold-treated produce to enter through more U.S. ports will relieve congestion at older ports of entry, while shortening the supply chain between producers and final consumers. "Our goal is to deliver our fruit to our clients faster, fresher, and at competitive prices, cutting logistics costs," he said.

"We've worked with Customs and the USDA to ensure inspection capabilities are all in place so we can offload a vessel, inspect it and get it out in six hours," said Chris Logan, the port authority’s GPA senior director of trade development for beneficial cargo owner sales. "We're optimistic that the strong success we've had in receiving perishables will only encourage more perishables in the future."

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