Port of Philadelphia welcomes first shipment of Brazilian beef to U.S.
UPDATED: OCTOBER 15, 2016 10:44 A.M.
Officials of the Philadelphia Regional Port Authority (PRPA) and other port industry leaders today welcomed an historic shipment: the first container of fresh beef from Brazil to enter the United States.
The Hamburg Sud vessel Monte Aconcagua discharged the cargo at PRPA’s Packer Avenue Marine Terminal on October 14, 2016. Packer Avenue Marine Terminal is operated by Greenwich Terminals, LLC.
Following close to two decades of negotiations between the USDA and U.S. meat importers, the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service—it recently determined that fresh Brazilian beef, either chilled or frozen, now meets its standards for quality and safety and can now be imported into the United States. The initial shipment that arrived at the Port of Philadelphia today consisted of frozen Brazilian beef (specifically front cuts).
This initial beef shipment is a product of JBS, a global leader in beef processing and one of a handful of private firms approved by the USDA for the sale and handling of the product. Initial projections point to about 3,000 tons of Brazilian meat per month arriving at the Port of Philadelphia in the coming months. The cargo will be loaded out at Brazil’s Port of Itapoá and will be transported to the Port of Philadelphia on Hamburg Sud vessels. Hamburg Sud has been a longtime ocean carrier at the Port of Philadelphia, servicing several worldwide trade lanes.
“Hamburg Sud has been serving Philadelphia since 1957 and the selection of Hamburg Sud and the Port of Philadelphia by JBS to handle the first shipment of frozen Brazilian beef to the United States is a testament to the leadership role both parties play in the refrigerated cargo supply chain,” said Juergen Pump, Senior Vice President of Hamburg Sud North America, Inc. “We are very pleased to have been nominated to be the ocean carrier of choice and are looking forward to doing our part in providing high-quality transportation services for the meat industry and to the Port of Philadelphia.”
U.S. manufacturers will utilize Brazilian beef for a variety of end uses, including toppings for frozen pizza and other food products containing beef. Brazilian beef, which is generally leaner than U.S. beef, will also be combined with its fattier U.S. counterpart to produce a leaner ground beef product for U.S. consumers to purchase at their supermarkets’ meat counters.
Greenwich Terminals, LLC is PRPA’s private sector partner and operates the Authority’s Packer Avenue Marine Terminal, where future beef shipments will arrive. “After years of work to get Brazil’s meat products into the U.S., we are extremely proud to be a part of the logistics chain serving this cargo,” said David Whene, President of Greenwich Terminals, LLC. “We are proud that Greenwich Terminals, along with the Holt family, have a worldwide reputation for efficiency and innovation in the area of refrigerated shipping and cold chain logistics, and to be trusted by JBS for these first shipments of Brazilian beef into our U.S. markets is something we don’t take lightly. We’re going to do excellent work for them.”
PRPA officials are optimistic about this latest business development, which will build on other recent cargo successes. “I’m pleased that we, as a port community, were able to work effectively with Greenwich Terminals, trade interests like the Meat Importers Council of America, and others to help bring this cargo to the Port,” said Jeff Theobald, Chief Executive officer of PRPA. “It’s proof positive that Philadelphia is a leader in the handling of refrigerated cargoes, and this is certainly a significant cargo that we will need to handle efficiently as we work to grow the Port’s cargo volumes to new levels.”
Mullica Hill Cold Storage is another private-sector partner integrally involved with this new cargo. “As a USDA FSIS import inspection station and a global third party logistics provider, we are very excited to see Brazil’s equivalency determination and entrance of raw beef imports to the United States,” said Daniel Sorbello, Director, North American Protein Imports, at Mullica Hill Cold Storage in Mullica Hill, New Jersey. “We are honored and fortunate to be able to assist the facilitation of this initial JBS shipment to the Port of Philadelphia, via Hamburg Sud, but even more encouraged to see the initiation of a new trade lane that will further enhance a diversified portfolio of quality protein products being supplied to the U.S. consumer. Mullica Hill Cold Storage and the global Agro Merchants Group congratulate JBS, Hamburg Sud and the Philadelphia Regional Port Authority on this maiden voyage and all the inherent symbolism that follows this arrival between Brazil and the United States.”
Strong working relationships with meat import interests will also encourage exports of U.S. beef abroad, as the movement of refrigerated vessels in both directions encourages cargo movement in both directions as well. With U.S. beef imports totaling $6.2 billion (1.1 million tons in product weight) in 2015 and exports totaling $5.2 billion (716,000 tons), the gap between imports and exports is expected to narrow in 2016 as higher U.S. beef supplies support increased exports and decreased imports.
The Philadelphia Regional Port Authority (PRPA) is an independent agency of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania charged with the management, maintenance, marketing, and promotion of publicly-owned port facilities along the Delaware River in Philadelphia, as well as strategic planning throughout the port district. PRPA works with its terminal operators to modernize, expand, and improve it facilities, and to market those facilities to prospective port users. Port cargoes and the activities they generate are responsible for thousands of direct and indirect jobs in the Philadelphia area and throughout Pennsylvania.