Over the past three weeks Crowley Liner Services
has transported more than 400 head of cattle, plus sheep and bison, from the United States to Havana, Cuba - the first shipments of livestock direct from the U.S. in more than 40 years.
The three livestock shipments originated from Crowley's port facilities in
Gulfport, Miss., and Port Everglades and Jacksonville, Fla.
The voyage from Gulfport on July 25 included 140 head of cattle, three
bulls, 12 bison, and one shorthorn sheep. The trip actually began with 139
head of cattle, but a calf born during transit pushed the total number to
One hundred twenty-eight head of cattle were transported from Port
Everglades on July 31, and most recently, 136 head of cattle departed
Jacksonville on August 9 and arrived in Havana yesterday.
The livestock in all of these shipments was carried in specially designed,
animal-friendly, "cowtainers." These modified 40-foot shipping containers
have open-air windows for ventilation, roof racks for storing hay to eat,
and plenty of water to drink. To ensure the well-being of all the animals, a
handler was present onboard the ships during each voyage.
The animals were purchased from various U.S. companies by Alimport, the
Cuban government's food import company, and shipped under the agricultural
export exception to the Cuban embargo. The livestock shipment agreements
were worked out during the U.S. Food and Agribusiness Exhibition Trade Fair
held last year in Havana. Based on those agreements, Crowley expects to
handle additional livestock shipments for the foreseeable future.
"Crowley's livestock shipments to Cuba are significant for our company as
well as for U.S.-Cuban trade," said Crowley Vice President Jay Brickman.
"The movement of live animals required a great amount of logistical
planning. We've transported animals before, so we were pleased to be able to
bring our expertise to the table here."
In 2001 Crowley became the first U.S. carrier to obtain a license from the
Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) to provide regularly scheduled
common carrier services for licensed cargo from the United States to Cuba,
and on December 16, 2001, became the first carrier to call directly on Cuba
from the United States in 40 years.
Since then, the company has shipped to Cuba a myriad of cargoes such as
frozen poultry, apples, grocery store products, dry food commodities,
playground equipment, cotton, lumber, and other humanitarian goods.
Cuba is now part of Crowley's regular sailing schedule
and receives a port
call every ten days from Jacksonville, Fla., and every other week from