Maritime transportation companies face many of the same issues as the trucking industry: fuel costs, increasing regulations and container shortages.
During the peak of produce export season from Latin America, some oceangoing companies reported having trouble finding enough refrigerated containers.
Conversely, in February, international shipping giant Maersk Line reported removing 9% of its capacity in the Asia-Europe trade lane because of an oversupply of vessels there and fears that freight rates would drop.
Daniel Cooke, marketing manager for OHL International, Brentwood, Tenn., said the company recently had not been troubled by container shortages or excess vessels in trade lanes.
Rather, Cooke said the biggest concern for OHL’s customers was the time it takes to import fresh produce to the U.S. Part of that concern comes from changing and increasing rules related to importing he said.
OHL International is involved in a working group with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection and privately operated centralized examination stations to streamline the perishable import process, Cooke said. The aim is to make the import process more efficient, to speed up inspection release times and make better use of officer resources, he said.
To help its importing customers attain the shortest possible shipping times, OHL has added maanger Ed Fitzgerald to its perishables handling staff. OHL also has a new vice president for commercial development for perishables, Joe Galeone, who is based in OHL’s Philadelphia office.
Cooke said OHL also launched an Ag Inspection Notification program in January that provides its customers with real-time information on the inspection process so they can better manage their shipments.