Published on : Saturday, February 4, 2017
On February 2, Miami International Airport (MIA) welcomed Florida’s first-ever ocean-to-air perishables trans-shipment – the latest innovation launched by the global cargo hub to strengthen and diversify its cargo business. The first trans-shipment included nearly 10 tons of peas from Guatemala, which arrived aboard the Crowley Maritime Corp. vessel Tucana J at Port Everglades on January 30, was trucked to MIA, and then departed to Amsterdam via Centurion Cargo on February 2.
Already the busiest U.S. airport for international air freight and 10th busiest in the world, the new trans-shipment pilot program now allows MIA to receive perishable freight by sea as well – a first for any Florida airport. Last year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) approved the program’s permit, and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agreed to expedite processing of the ocean shipments before their air departures.
“We greatly appreciate our cargo and federal agency partners for collaborating with us in this exciting new chapter of MIA’s growth,” said Miami-Dade Aviation Director Emilio T. González. “We continue to explore innovative concepts like the Ocean-to-Air program, which have immense potential to generate new revenue and business ties around the world.”
Miami-based Customized Brokers, a subsidiary of Crowley Maritime Corp., partnered with MIA to win approval for the program. The logistics firm can now coordinate ocean shipments of perishable products from Latin America to Port Everglades and then transport them to MIA, where they will depart by air to freighters serving Europe, Asia and the Middle East.
“This is a milestone that shows Customized Brokers’ ability to provide far-reaching services that speed customers’ products to market,” said Kimberly Wakeman, Vice President, Customized Brokers. “By listening to our customers, our unmatched ability to provide ocean transport and logistics services has been enhanced to help customers grow their global supply chains and reach grocers worldwide.”
The ocean-to-air pilot program will save both time and money for cargo shippers, who will receive expedited air transport for perishable products without paying CBP duties. The program also allows European and Asian households to receive Latin America produce at the peak of freshness, extending in some cases the seasonality for certain products. Additionally, the new ocean freight shipments will expand MIA’s overall cargo operations, which continue to handle more perishable imports than all other U.S. airports combined.
“The new program exemplifies Crowley’s ability to grow trade of perishables from Central America to Florida ports thanks to our knowledge of shipping requirements, clearance protocols and efficient handling,” said Nelly Yunta, Vice President, Crowley. “Because of our strong relationships with government agencies, Crowley and Customized Brokers have always acted as effective advocates for customers who need to ship from Latin America to U.S. ports to reach the market.”
The pilot program is one of many cargo business development initiatives MIA has launched recently, including: Pharma.aero, an association created by MIA and Brussels Airport in May to grow the global pharmaceutical cargo business through a collaborative network of the world’s top airports; a Foreign Trade Zone magnet site designation, which upon approval would allow a variety of manufacturers to lease vacant property at MIA and have their tariffs deferred, reduced or eliminated; and the Cargo Optimization, Redevelopment and Expansion (CORE) Program, a comprehensive concept to modernize MIA’s existing cargo operation and double its capacity.