Florida's First Ocean-to-Air Transhipment
Already the busiest port of entry in America for international air freight, Miami International Airport will soon be able to receive perishable freight imports by sea as well – a first for any Florida airport – through a permit approved in September by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The first ocean-to-air trans-shipment is expected at MIA before the end of the year.
“Congratulations to MIA and Port Miami, our County’s two largest economic engines, on collaborating to generate new revenue and better serve our local cargo industry,” said Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez. “Innovative programs such as this one also help our business community strengthen ties within the global marketplace.”
Customized Brokers, a subsidiary of Crowley Maritime Corp., partnered with MIA to gain approval for the pilot program, which allows the logistics company to coordinate the ocean shipment of perishable products from Latin America to PortMiami or Port Everglades and then transport them to MIA, where they will depart by air via KLM Cargo or Centurion Cargo to foreign destinations in Europe and Asia. Additionally, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has granted first-ever approval for expedited processing of these ocean shipments before they depart by air.
“We deeply appreciate the USDA and CBP for recognizing the value of this pilot program to both the local and national economy,” said Miami-Dade Aviation Director Emilio T. González. “Cargo shippers now have an additional, expedited channel for transporting perishables through the U.S., which incentivizes them to do more business at MIA and PortMiami – two of our state’s strongest economic engines. The pilot program also continues our efforts to grow cargo at MIA through outside-the-box initiatives.”
The ocean-to-air pilot program will save both time and money for cargo shippers, who will receive expedited air transport for perishable products and will not be required to pay CBP duties. It will also allow European and Asian households to receive produce from Latin America at the peak of freshness, extending in some cases the seasonality for certain available items. The new freight shipments from local seaports will also strengthen MIA’s cargo business, adding to the 1.92 million tons of international air freight handled annually at MIA – the most for any U.S. airport and the 10th most in the world.
“We at Crowley and Customized Brokers continuously look for ways to help speed our customers’ products to market while helping them to grow their distribution footprint,” said Kimberly Wakeman, vice president Customized Brokers. “This pilot program follows wins that we’ve had in securing additional entry points in South Florida, South Carolina and Savannah for certain perishables entering the U.S. from Central and South America. This further expands the distribution of fresh produce into supermarkets across the globe.”
"We've consistently maintained a close relationship with government agencies so that we can be our customer’s advocate when it comes to enhancements in shipping protocols related to movement and clearance of perishables within our stage of operations,” said Nelly Yunta, vice president, Crowley. “We are committed to growing perishable trade in and through Florida ports.”
The pilot program is the latest innovation the Miami-Dade Aviation Department is launching to strengthen MIA’s position as America’s cargo gateway to the world, with others including: Pharma.aero, an association created by MIA and Brussels Airport in May to grow the global pharmaceutical cargo business through a collaborative network of the world’s top airports; a Foreign Trade Zone magnet site designation, which upon approval would allow a variety of manufacturers to lease vacant property at MIA and have their tariffs deferred, reduced or eliminated; and the Cargo Optimization, Redevelopment and Expansion (CORE) Program, a comprehensive concept to modernize MIA’s existing cargo operation and double its capacity.