Traverse City, Mich.-based North Bay Produce, Inc., in mid-December received the largest international air shipment of produce ever recorded at the MidAmerica Airport in St. Louis.
North Bay’s facility at the airport, located in Mascoutah, Ill, was recently expanded from 36,000 square feet to 53,000 square feet, according to a joint news release from North Bay Produce and the MidAmerica St. Louis Airport.
North Bay received 250,000 pounds of blueberries on two flights from Santiago, Chile on Dec. 9, according to the release. Centurion Cargo flew a 747 and a MD11 into the airport with the blueberry shipment, which had a value of about $1.3 million, Mark Girardin, president of North Bay Produce, said in the release.
“These blueberries are arriving just in time for retail Christmas promotions throughout the U.S. and Canada,” he said in the release.
Jon Wall, manager of facilities and compliance for North Bay Produce, said the firm’s expansion at the airport was designed to provide more capacity to receive larger planes. The airport has parallel runways of 8,000 and 10,000 feet, according to the release.
For exports, Wall said the expanded space will allow the firm to build out pallets prepared for air shipments. The North Bay Produce facility at the airport also is approved as a cold treatment facility, which allows North Bay to store imported fruit at 32 degrees for 11 days to treat for pests before the cargo is released in the U.S.