Port Tampa Bay, Tampa, Fla., will begin participating in USDA’s cold treatment program to import select types of refrigerated produce from South America, effective Oct. 1. Traditionally, imports of grapes, blueberries, apples, pears and citrus from Peru, Uruguay and Argentina were restricted to entry via northeastern U.S. ports and then trucked to the markets in the southeast, including Florida. A pilot program allowing cold treated produce to enter via ports in South Florida, which began in 2013, will now be expanded to also include Port Tampa Bay. 

“Our participation in this program dovetails nicely with our plans to develop new on-dock cold storage capacity and the new post-Panamax container cranes to be delivered early next year,” says Raul Alfonso, executive vice president and chief commercial officer. “We look forward to providing our customers, both here in Florida and beyond, with new, more efficient supply chain solutions for their perishable products.” 

In August, the Port Tampa Bay Board of Commissioners unanimously approved a new lease with Port Logistics Tampa Bay to develop a new 130,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art on-dock cold storage facility to handle refrigerated imports and exports.