Crowley Liner Services
is loading containers of frozen poultry aboard Crowley's ship Express at the Port of Gulfport, Miss., for transport to Havana, Cuba. The vessel is expected to arrive in Cuba at mid-day on Sunday.
This is the first shipment by Crowley for Alimport, the Cuban agency involved with purchasing food products for its country. Alimport contracted with Crowley to transport containerized frozen poultry and dry food products from the United States to Cuba in late November. The poultry being handled was purchased by Alimport and was supplied by Louis Dreyfus Corporation.
Alimport, also known as Empresa Cubana Importadora de Alimentos, purchased the food from U.S. companies in hopes of providing relief for Cubans impacted by Hurricane Michelle, which caused widespread destruction as it passed over the island November 4. Because of Crowley's longstanding history of service to the Caribbean and the fact that the company was the first U.S. carrier to meet all federal requirements to ship licensed cargo to Cuba earlier this year, Alimport invited Crowley to bid on the transportation contract.
Earlier this year, Crowley became the first U.S. carrier to obtain a license from the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the United States Department of the Treasury in Washington, D.C., to provide regularly scheduled common carrier services for licensed cargo from the United States to the Republic of Cuba. The opportunity to participate in the trade was made possible by the"Trade Sanctions Reform and Export Enhancement Act of 2000" signed into law on October 28, 2000 by William J. Clinton, President of the United States of America.
The "Trade Sanctions Reform and Export Enhancement Act of 2000," authorizes OFAC to license the transport of agricultural commodities, medicine, medical devices or other products directly from the United States to the Republic of Cuba. Crowley's license from the OFAC permits certain Crowley executives to travel to Cuba to make whatever arrangements are necessary to ship licensed cargo to Cuba. This includes authorization to enter into contracts with and pay fees to Cuban port authorities, agents, stevedores and similar entities provided such contracts are required in order for the Crowley to provide authorized services.
Crowley began regularly scheduled common carrier service to Cuba in April. Although no direct vessel calls have been made to date, Crowley has transported loads for customers to Mexico and then via third-party carriers to Cuba on Crowley bills of lading.