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Giumarra Berries picks Port of Savannah
Giumarra International Berry has begun moving fresh blueberries from Chile through the Port of Savannah to better serve Atlanta and other Southeastern markets. The first shipment of South American blueberries arrived Jan. 8.“We’re excited to enter this new partnership with Giumarra International Berry, which highlights the Georgia Ports Authority’s commitment to the refrigerated cargo market,” said GPA Executive Director Curtis Foltz. “Because of our direct interstate access, as well as having two Class I rail services on our facility, we can serve the Atlanta and Southeast regions more efficiently by importing this fresh produce directly through the Port of Savannah.”
Importing berries from the Southern Hemisphere since the late 1990s, Giumarra maintains a well established farm network in Chile, Argentina, and other Central and South American countries. The region’s growing season, which runs opposite to the Northern Hemisphere, helps to meet U.S. demand after domestic farms end production.
“Saving money going north and west is the reason we are here. The Port of Savannah has a streamlined flow which is very fast and efficient, and it’s only five minutes from I-95,” said Alan Abe, East Coast General Manager, Giumarra International Berry. “Also, the Georgia Ports Authority gives us a high level of customer service.”
Shipments of conventional and organic blueberries will arrive in Savannah through late March or early April. Giumarra officials are expecting a larger crop than last season, with some experts predicting an increase of 15 percent. Giumarra International Berry has a packing plant in Alma, Ga., which has the ability to pack bulk produce into pack sizes based on customer need in real time.
U.S. blueberry imports are increasing at a rapid pace from Mexico and the Southern Hemisphere and are considered one of the hottest categories in fresh produce, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Chilean blueberry imports have increased $128 million, or nearly two and a half times, in the past four years.
“We are looking forward to the upcoming Chilean blueberry season and we will have a complete Nature’s Partner program of blueberries from the Southern Hemisphere. Our sourcing team works continuously to ensure we have adequate supply, and our volumes will exceed last year’s,” said Tom Richardson, Vice President, Global Development, Giumarra International Berry.
“Giumarra’s program is much like the service we provide to Georgia’s sweet onion producers, who use South American farmers to supply the U.S. market after the domestic growing season has ended,” said Foltz. “In this way, it helps to maintain steady demand while providing the freshest produce for consumers.”
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