For the eighth straight year, the first breakbulk shipment of Chilean winter fruit to arrive in the U.S. came through the Port of Wilmington.
According to Port Spokesman John Haroldson, the m/v Green Italia arrived at the Port on Monday.
“The vessel is what we refer to as a specialized refrigerated ship. It has three hatches and multiple decks; each are temperature-controlled. The fruit is brought in at 32 degree fahrenheit and off-loaded in pallet form and brought into our warehouse which is refrigerated and then distributed,” Haroldson said.
Haroldson says the fruit, 290,000 boxes of fresh cherries, blueberries, apricots, peaches, nectarines and table grapes, is then distributed from the Port to the Midwest, Canada and down South.
Haroldson says Wilmington remains a major port of entry and distribution center for the seasonal importation of fresh Chilean winter fruit. It anticipates receiving at least 25 shiploads of fruit from the Chilean ports of Valparaiso, Coquimbo and Caldera.
“The Chilean winter fruit program which runs December to May is very intensive. The majority of that fruit enters the United States on these refrigerated ships on the Delaware River," said Haroldson. "Probably 75% of the Chilean Winter fruit program comes through either Wilmington or Gloucester, New Jersey.”
Chilean fruit imports are a major piece of business at the Port of Wilmington, supporting nearly 60 jobs and annually generating $51 million in business revenue and $5 million in tax revenue for Delaware and the region.