First Special Reefer Cargo Arrives at Savannah - Global Trade Magazine
  October 22nd, 2015 | Written by

First Special Reefer Cargo Arrives at Savannah

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  • USDA pilot calls for citrus, grapes and blueberries to be chilled for at least 17 days prior to entry into the U.S.
  • Fruit moves in refrigerated containers during transit aboard cargo vessels, cutting stationary treatment time.
  • Before USDA program, deliveries of South American produce were made to northern U.S. ports.

The first containers of imported produce to undergo a special cold-treatment have arrived at the Port of Savannah’s Garden City Terminal.

The containers, loaded with tangelos from Peru, arrived in Savannah from Andean Sun Produce farms in Ica, Peru, as part of a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) pilot program that calls for citrus, grapes and blueberries to be chilled for at least 17 days prior to entry into the U.S.

The process, which reduces the need for pesticides, protects against fruit flies and can be completed in producing countries – including Peru, Chile and Brazil – or at transshipment points such as Panama, according to the Georgia Ports Authority (GPA).

The fruit moves in refrigerated containers held just over freezing during transit aboard cargo vessels, effectively cutting the time fruit must remain stationary for treatment.

Besides faster delivery, the pilot program also cuts logistics-related emissions by reducing truck miles and allowing more efficient shipments. Previously, deliveries of South American produce were made to northern U.S. ports, and then trucked down to states like Georgia, Tennessee and the Carolinas.
“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 Lisa Beth Brown, the agency’s Savannah Area Port Director

The combined efforts, she said, “have 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.”
Savannah’s Garden City Terminal features 84 refrigerated container racks and 733 chassis plug-ins, powering 2,749 refrigerated boxes at a time. Another 20 racks should be complete by the end of the year, adding 480 refrigerated container slots, according to the GPA.

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