Bringing the Chilean harvest to US markets

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    28 February 2012



The GAC Group's newest alliance partnership in the USA, GAC-Wightman, is helping to deliver the fruits of the Chilean harvest to markets in the States.


LEFT TO RIGHT: Dave Wightman, Bob Bandos, Captain Sergiy Kosyak (Captain of the Centaurus) and CSAV Reefer Division Port Captain USEC - USWC - Andres Montecinos

During the first month of the season, which began in December, GAC-Wightman successfully managed the port calls and cargo operations of five reefer vessels bringing in more than 30,000 tons of Chilean fruit.


They secured the business with Latin America's largest shipping company, Compania Sud Americana de Vapores (CSAV) headquartered in Valparaiso, Chile, after GAC Shipping USA's CEO & President, Bob Bandos and David Wightman, Director of GAC-Wightman Shipping, visited the HQ to explain the benefits offered by their enhanced package of integrated shipping solutions.

Brief season
Under the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) Chilean Grape Marketing Order, fruit shipments from Chile to the USA are permitted only between December and April. After 9 April, some fruit imports are still permitted, but no seedless grapes are allowed in order to allow fair competition for California grapes.

As the grape harvest represents the lion's share of CSAV's business, they wanted a partner that could deliver reliability, accurate timing and prompt turnaround during the brief season - and they found that in GAC-Wightman.


CSAV’s Centaurus vessel at the Tioga Marine Terminal in Philadelphia, Pa. Taken from the bridge of the ship looking down at the cargo hatches, cranes and pallets of fruit on the deck of the ship.

GAC-Wightman works closely with the vessels' captains to ensure the cargoes of grapes, stone fruit and specialty fruits are successfully pre-thawed, fumigated and cleared through USDA inspection at the Tioga Terminal in Philadelphia and Holt Terminal in New Jersey.


Speedy clearance and release is essential to get highly perishable goods to receivers and grocers, and here again GAC-Wightman plays an important role in ensuring there are no delays in berthing and discharge.

Although the fruit season has been affected by a depressed economy, GAC's ship agent managing the CSAV account, Steve Clark, estimates that by the end of the season, they will have handled approximately 800 containers and 120,000 pallets containing more than 100,000 tons of Chilean fruit delivered to grocers nationwide.