PHILADELPHIA —Turbana Corp. has upgraded its Philadelphia port warehousing operations.

The improvements allow the Miami-based Turbana to more efficiently unload ships full of containers and pallets of bananas, pineapples and other tropical fruits and vegetables.







<DIV style="float:right"> Doug Ohlemeier </DIV><BR><BR> <b> Boxes of pineapple and bananas being stored in racks in the warehouse at Miami-based Turbana Corp.’s Philadelphia port operation. The banana and tropicals importer recently installed a cooler humidification and racking system that better ripens the fruit. The pressurized racking system holds fruit longer and fans on top of the racking force air through the pallets to prevent uneven ripening.  </b>http://thepacker.com/ccmsimages/PackerSite/ArticlePhotos/turbanaphl_ohle...">

Doug Ohlemeier

Boxes of pineapple and bananas being stored in racks in the warehouse at Miami-based Turbana Corp.’s Philadelphia port operation. The banana and tropicals importer recently installed a cooler humidification and racking system that better ripens the fruit. The pressurized racking system holds fruit longer and fans on top of the racking force air through the pallets to prevent uneven ripening.

Turbana spent a year installing a cooler humidification and racking system that properly hydrates the fruit.

By forcing air through the product, the pressurized racking system holds fruit longer by controlling mold through ethylene extraction. Fans on top of the racking force air through the pallets to prevent uneven ripening.

The system, which is inside the 150,000-square-foot warehouse, keeps temperatures consistent throughout the pallets, and prevents customers from receiving dehydrated fruit or shrinkage, said James Haas, Turbana’s Philadelphia port manager.

He said handling provides customers better quality of fruit and avoids the need to operate large warehouses.

Turbana also unloads its ships, which arrive weekly from Columbia and Costa Rica, with a recently installed shore-side crane. The crane more efficiently unloads containers and pallets versus using cranes installed on the ships, Haas said.

Turbana relocated its import operations from Bridgeport, Conn., to Pier 82 at the Port of Philadelphia during the spring of 2008.

“We are poised for growth here,” Haas said. “Improved productivity is one of the reasons we moved from Connecticut. And we haven’t been disappointed.”

Fruit is unloaded from ships within a day and a half and is moved within 80 feet from vessel to warehouse, a more compact arrangement than other operations that allows crews to unload product in rainy condition without compromising the product, Haas said.

The racking system holds up to 28 pallets per bay. Turbana runs fruit through the system within six days.

Haas declined to state the investment cost, but called it significant.

Turbana distributes fruit from the pier facility to customers in the Northeast, Southeast and Midwest.