The Port of Savannah, Ga., can now serve as a point of entry for Chilean blueberries.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture cleared the port for the berries, and it joins ports in South Florida, Philadelphia/New York and Los Angeles’ Port of Long Beach, according to a news release from the Port of Savannah.
“Because Savannah is hundreds of miles closer to major southeastern markets such as Atlanta, landing chilled cargo at Garden City Terminal (Savannah) means fruit reaches consumers faster, cheaper and fresher, with total transit time reduced by three to seven days,” Georgia Ports Authority Executive Director Griff Lynch said in the release.
The ports authority is working with the USDA and Customs and Border Protection officials to increase the commodities and countries that can ship to Savannah. Other fresh produce arriving at the port are apples, avocados, bananas, citrus, grapes, mangos and pears.
Chilean blueberries are handled at a PortFresh Logistics facility, 15 miles from the Garden City Terminal. PortFresh CEO Brian Kastick said the location can reduce transportation costs by up to $1,700 for each load arriving through the Georgia port.
“For importers, shipping product to a port that is closer to the consumer market creates a more efficient supply chain and reduces overall costs,” Kastick said in the release.
Chilean blueberry exports totaled 103,000 tons in 2016-17, and the U.S. is the leading market for the exported berries.