Pier deal should increase efficiencies, decrease costs

06/10/2011 12:41:00 PM
Dan Gailbraith

The produce industry stands to benefit from Peru’s new contract with a major shipping company that will invest in and manage a pier at a major port, which should result in increased efficiencies and decreased costs.

APM Terminals, a subsidiary of Copenhagen-based shipping company A.P. Moller-Maersk A/S, signed an agreement in early May to develop and operate a $1.1 billion pier at the Terminal Muelle Norte (North Quay) at the port of Callao, Peru, according to an online Bloomberg report.

The 30-year contract includes a total concession of nearly $749 million, said Beatriz Tubino, agricultural exports manager, Exporters Association, Lima, Peru.

APM is expected to begin operations in Callao in July.

About 65% of Peru’s fresh agricultural exports, including produce, flowers and fish, go through Callao, Tubino said. That includes about $435 million worth of fresh agricultural products, such as citrus.

A majority of Peru’s citrus exports — about 95% — go through Callao, said Sergio del Castillo, general manager, Lima-based Citrus Growers Association of Peru, or ProCitrus.

The agreement should improve the fresh produce export process by creating additional services for reefers, boosting capacity for large vessels, shortening transit times, and creating more competition, more efficient operations, and cost savings, Tubino said.

APM’s investment in and operations of the pier should also decrease port rates, increase efficiencies of export logistics and improve Peruvian growers’ ability to compete on the global market, Castillo said.

Del Castillo said that more than 80% of ProCitrus exports to the U.S. are part of a buyer’s program, and its products are shipped in 5-pound boxes, consumer bags or 10- to 15-kilogram boxes, according to clients’ needs.

Only fruit for the spot market is shipped in bulk cartons, he said.

Chincha, Peru-based grower-shipper La Calera’s fruit is shipped in 30-pound boxes and is sometimes repacked by the company’s Miami-based import entity, Andean Sun Produce Inc., into 6 x 5-pound or 10 x 3-pound bags, said Estuardo Masias, owner.

Miami-based Customized Brokers Inc., a subsidiary of Crowley Maritime Corp., Jacksonville, Fla., facilitates efficient U.S. customs clearance of imported fruits and vegetables.

Customized Brokers mainly handles refrigerated produce, including Peruvian clementines, said Nelly Yunta, general manger.

“We are in constant contact to let (importers) know the status of the import and when it is arriving,” she said. “Our portion (of customs clearance) is to expedite the release through the port and make it as fast as we can.”


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