Philadelphia Port Conducts Mexican Inbound Trade Mission
The Philadelphia Regional Port Authority (PRPA) is enjoying positive developments and generating useful leads as a result of its recent three-day seminar-style trade mission to help grow trade between Pennsylvania, the U.S. Northeast, Canada and Mexico, via the new SeaLand Atlantico service, which calls at the Port’s Packer Avenue Marine Terminal.
The trade mission, conducted Tuesday, June 14 through Thursday, June 16, brought Mexican produce growers and meat packers together with buyers from throughout the United States. In addition, officials of PRPA, Holt Logistics LLC (operators of PRPA’s Packer Avenue Marine Terminal), SeaLand, USDA, U.S. Customs, and the Mexican consulate made presentations. Private transportation service providers, the trade group Ship Philadelphia First, and other relevant parties also attended.
Surpassing expectations, the number attending the event was 134, and included 40 representatives from Mexico.
“While a large aim of our trade mission was to promote our new SeaLand Service and its ability to serve the needs of shippers moving cargo, particularly perishables, from Mexico to the U.S. northeast, we wanted to start by simply bringing growers and buyers together, because that is a useful thing for everybody,” said PRPA Director of Marketing Sean Mahoney. “Already we have received numerous comments from attendees on how valuable they found the trade mission, and how much business they conducted during the one-on-one meetings that were a key component of the event.”
With a structure in place to advance traditional business operations between Mexican growers and regional buyers in Pennsylvania and through the U.S. northeast, the trade mission then undertook a key secondary mission: changing minds about how cargo can move between Mexico and the U.S. Northeast, and how a new shipping service at the port of Philadelphia could be the main tool in making shippers think in new ways.
Specifically, the port’s weekly SeaLand Atlantico service, which started earlier this year, targets cargoes that have traditionally moved via truck between Mexico and the northeast, in particular perishable cargoes. Thus far, the service has shown promise in the form of growing cargo volumes, but port and business officials wanted to better publicize the new service to the regional shipping community.
SeaLand’s Atlantico service connects the Mexican ports of Veracruz and Altamira with the port of Philadelphia, moving cargoes such as avocados, limes and meat, as well as a variety of other commercial cargoes. The all-water transit to the Port of Philadelphia eliminates the traditional truck transport of these cargoes, bringing about many benefits, including improved supply chain integrity, increased cargo payload on an all-water service, elimination of cargo damage to perishables, a smaller caarbon footprint, and great connectivity through the port’s highway and rail connections.
In addition to presentations and one-on-one business meetings, there were also dinners, general networking events, and tours of port facilities and private warehouses, including the many businesses of the Philadelphia Wholesale Produce Market.
Among those giving high marks to the three-day event were notable Mexican broker and freight forwarder Fernando M. Barrenechea, and Carlos Giralt Cabrales of the Mexican consulate in Philadelphia. Barrenechea noted that he regularly attends major produce conferences around the world and found PRPA’s event more valuable.
“We conducted a very solid event to facilitate and promote Pennsylvania/Mexico trade in general, which also functioned as a strong tool to introduce and promote our new SeaLand Atlantico service, which we hope will soon be a major component of that trade,” said Mahoney.
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