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  September 30th, 2015 | Written by

Port Tampa Bay Joins USDA Cold Treatment Program for Imported Produce

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  • Imports of fruit from South America were historically restricted to northeastern ports, then trucked to the southeast.
  • Pilot program allowing produce to enter Florida ports began in 2013 and will now be expanded to include Port Tampa Bay.
  • Port Tampa Bay is Florida’s largest port, handling bulk, break bulk, containers, and ro/ro cargoes.

Port Tampa Bay has been approved to begin participating in the cold treatment program the U.S. Department of Agriculture to handle imports of select types of refrigerated produce from South America effective October 1.

Imports of grapes, blueberries, apples, pears and citrus from Peru, Uruguay and Argentina were historically restricted to entry via northeastern U.S. ports and then trucked to the markets in the southeast, including Florida. A pilot program allowing cold treated produce to enter via ports in South Florida which began in 2013 will now be expanded to also include Port Tampa Bay.

“Our participation in this program dovetails nicely with our plans to develop new on-dock cold storage capacity and the new post-Panamax container cranes to be delivered early next year”, noted Raul Alfonso Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer for Port Tampa Bay. “We look forward to providing our customers, both here in Florida and beyond, with new, more efficient supply chain solutions for their perishable products.”

In August, the Port Tampa Bay Board of Commissioners unanimously approved a new lease with Port Logistics Tampa Bay to develop a new 130,000 square foot state-of-the-art on-dock cold storage facility to handle refrigerated imports and exports.

Port Tampa Bay is Florida’s largest port supporting 80,000 jobs and generating $15 billion in annual economic impact. The port handles a bulk, break bulk, containers, and roll-on/roll-off cargoes.