With more than 500 new reefer containers and Foreign Trade Zone status for its warehouse in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Crowley Maritime Corp. officials say they can move more fresh produce faster than ever.
The Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ) status means Crowley’s warehouse and distribution center in San Juan can receive, store and process cargo without it being subject to formal U.S. Customs entry procedures and duties until it enters the U.S. supply chain, according to a news release.
“(This status) allows Crowley to offer additional services and benefits to both domestic and international customers,” logistics general manager Ayesha Diaz said in the release. “These expanded capabilities and services allow us to work with new customers that we were not able to serve in the past.”
Cargo can now remain at the facility for an unlimited amount of time, instead of being subject to a 14-day deadline associated with bonded cargoes. Crowley has had operations in Puerto Rico since 1954 and currently has more than 300 employees there, according to the release.
Crowley also has plans to build two larger, faster combination container ships — powered by liquefied natural gas — for its Puerto Rico trade line, according to the release. The roll-on/roll-off ships for the will replace triple-deck towed barges.
To move more cargo on the ground, Crowley has added 537 new refrigerated containers to its fleet, which is a net increase of 200 containers. Steve Collar, senior vice president and general manager, said in the release that Crowley’s fresh produce customers in Central America, Puerto Rico and the Caribbean will be better served by the new 40-foot long “high cube” containers.
The containers have Carrier brand PrimeLINE refrigeration units and are among Crowley’s 44,000 pieces of owned and leased intermodal equipment, according to the release.