Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., said state and federal agencies are finalizing a pilot program to import grapes and blueberries from Peru and Uruguay into Port Miami and Port Everglades starting in October.
Due to regulations, perishables are first brought into the United States through North Atlantic seaports that have cooler climates but if the pilot program is successful, fruit could be shipped directly to South Florida, saving time and money, according to Port Everglades.
“Our ambition is to have this pilot become a success so it can be expanded to other countries and other commodities,” attorney Lee Sandler said on behalf of the Florida Perishables Trade Coalition.
According to the port, the key component in the pilot program is protecting Florida’s citrus industry from fruit flies.
To prevent infestation, the program will ensure the cold-treatment process is completed before the ship arrives in port as well as ensure produce is packed in clean residue-free marine containers and that records are transferred electronically.