Port Canaveral in Cape Canaveral, Fla., has been named an official participant in the Southeast U.S. In-transit Cold Treatment Pilot Program by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

This pilot designation allows entry of in-transit, cold treated containers of agricultural products originating in South America, including blueberries, citrus, and grapes from Peru; blueberries and grapes from Uruguay; and apples, blueberries and pears from Argentina.

“This designation for Port Canaveral is good news for logistics and supply chain managers importing agricultural products to meet the high-demand Central Florida consumer market,” Port CEO Capt. John Murray said in a news release. “With this new designation and the port’s close proximity by land and sea to this high-demand market, transit time of produce and other cold-treated commodities can be dramatically reduced to save time, money, and resources.”

Time savings are a crucial aspect, Murray said.

“Bottom line, these time-sensitive shipments will no longer need to enter ports such as Philadelphia and New York only to be shipped back down to Florida,” he said. “That means, lower container costs, fewer trucks on the highways, and better and fresher products in the marketplace for consumers.”

The USDA In-transit Cold Treatment Program allows direct import into southeastern U.S. ports of certain types of fruits and vegetables from South America, among other countries.

Port Canaveral officials say their facility’s participation in the program provides shippers, carriers and other supply chain logistics managers broader opportunities to take advantage of the port’s diverse cargo handling capabilities. 

USDA’s In-transit Cold Treatment Program enables a limited number of containerized cargoes to enter the Florida market directly after completing a two-week cold treatment process as a safeguard against fruit flies and other pests, as well as acquiring all the required unloading clearances prior to the shipment’s arrival in port.