Crowley Makes First Major Livestock Shipments to Cuba in 40 Years

Tuesday, August 12, 2003
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 140. 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 Gulfport, Fla.

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