Food on the Move

Box Boom for the Port of New Orleans  

Containerized traffic at the Port of New Orleans hit a record 470,347 TEUs in fiscal 2012 and box business is expected to set another record in 2013. Improved infrastructure, container handling capabilities and additional processing facilities are attracting more cargo, some at the expense of the neighboring Port of Houston.

Meanwhile, three container lines—CMA CGM, CSAV, and Zim—added the Port of New Orleans to their schedules last year, bringing the number of lines that serve the port to eight.

And it’s not just containerized traffic that’s jumping. When it comes to coffee imports, nobody does it better than the Port of New Orleans, which ranks as the leading coffee-handling port in the U.S. with 14 warehouses, more than 5.5 million feet of storage space and six roasting facilities in a 20-mile radius along with packaging facilities.

Last year, Folger’s Coffee invested $70 million in a project that involved the relocation of a facility from Kansas City, MO to the Port of New Orleans.


US, Philippines Resolve Trade Issues Over Food

Trade disputes between the U.S. and Philippines over various food items have been resolved, opening up more export opportunities for U.S. frozen meat as well as Philippine bananas and mangoes. The first shipment of Philippine bananas to the U.S. is scheduled for April.

Meanwhile, U.S. meat producers will be subject to the same standards as domestic producers when American meat is exported to the Philippines. Previously, U.S. producers complained that shipments were subject to stricter standards, which violates global trade rules.


Ethiopian Airlines Opens New Cold Storage Facility

Ethiopian Airlines, the largest cargo operator in Africa, has opened a new state-of-the art cold storage facility that covers 3,700 square meters. The facility can accommodate four aircraft cargo loads at one time and is designed to offer easy access for trucks. Government agencies and inspectors are located in an adjacent building to help streamline the processing of shipments.

“In order to serve the growing exports of perishables in general and horticultural products in particular, we are building new storage and working area facilities and expanding our cargo network and fleet. This is especially good news for exporters of perishable goods such as flowers, vegetables, herbs, fruits and meat. The new perishable cargo warehouse and our new fleet of Boeing 777 freighters have special cooling capabilities and temperature control, enabling our exports to reach their destinations while maintaining their quality and freshness,” said the carrier’s CEO Tewolde GebreMariam.

“In line with our Vision 2025 and our national obligation to support Ethiopian export growth, we have already placed orders for four Boeing 777 freighters and are finalizing preparations to build one of the biggest cargo terminals in the world, serving both dry and perishable cargo, with an annual capacity of 1.2 million tons,” he added.

Currently, Ethiopian Airlines operates six dedicated freighter aircraft to 24 cargo destinations in Africa, the Middle East, Europe and Asia through its two hubs—Addis Ababa and Liège, Belgium.


Cold Train Adds Chicago Office

The “Cold Train” operated by Rail Logistics is opening an office in Chicago to oversee coast-to-coast perishable shipments moving by refrigerated railcars.

Recently, Cold Train tripled the size of it fleet to 300 53-foot refrigerated containers.

The service was launched at Washington’s Port of Quincy in 2010. It takes four to five days to travel between Washington state and the Midwest, and six to seven days from Washington state to the East Coast.


Virginia’s Ag Exports Reach Record High in 2012

China’s demand for soybeans and grains helped propel Virginia’s agricultural exports to a record high in 2012, beating the previous year’s figures by 12 percent.

Todd Haymore, the state’s Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry, remarked that, “By expanding dramatically our global footprint, Virginia has never been better positioned than we are now to build on these successes and capture new export opportunities in the future as demand grows.”

According to Gov. Bob McDonnell, agricultural exports generate roughly $1.40 for every $1 shipped to export partners, which in turn benefits farmers, foresters and the state’s port.

“With the trade offices we’ve established in key global regions and new ones we’ll open this year, as well as the trade missions I will conduct later this year, I expect to see Virginia’s agricultural exports to grow,” said the Governor, who has kept a busy schedule promoting Virginia in foreign markets.

McDonnell is scheduled to lead trade missions to China and Japan this year.

China was the state’s top export market in 2011 and 2012.