Giumarra International Berry picks Savannah GA port for blueberry imports
January 31, 2013

Giumarra International Berry has begun moving fresh blueberries from Chile through the Port of Savannah GA to better serve Atlanta and other Southeastern markets. The first shipment of South American blueberries arrived January 8.

“We’re excited to enter this new partnership with Giumarra International Berry, which highlights the Georgia Ports Authority’s commitment to the refrigerated cargo market,” said GPA Executive Director Curtis Foltz. “Because of our direct Interstate access, as well as having two Class I rail services on our facility, we can serve the Atlanta and Southeast regions more efficiently by importing this fresh produce directly through the Port of Savannah.”

Importing berries from the Southern Hemisphere since the late 1990s, Giumarra maintains a well-established farm network in Chile, Argentina, and other Central and South American nations. The region’s growing season, which runs opposite to the Northern Hemisphere, helps to meet US demand after domestic farms end production.

“Saving money going north and west is the reason we are here. The Port of Savannah has a streamlined flow which is very fast and efficient, and it’s only five minutes from I-95,” said Alan Abe, East Coast general manager, Giumarra International Berry.

Shipments of conventional and organic blueberries will arrive in Savannah through late March or early April. Giumarra officials are expecting a larger crop than last season, with some experts predicting an increase of 15%. Giumarra International Berry has a packing plant in Alma GA, which has the ability to pack bulk produce into pack sizes based on customer need in real time.

US blueberry imports are increasing at a rapid pace from Mexico and the Southern Hemisphere and are considered one of the hottest categories in fresh produce, according to the US Department of Agriculture. Chilean blueberry imports have increased $128 million—or nearly two-and-a-half times—in the past four years.

Founded in 1922, Giumarra Companies is an international network of fresh produce growers, distributors, and marketers. Privately owned and operated by members of the Giumarra family, it is a full-service, 12-month marketer of blueberries and blackberries grown in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres and offers a variety of produce from Chile, including avocados, blueberries, grapes, stone fruit, cherries, apples, pears, kiwifruit, and citrus. Giumarra is based in Los Angeles CA.

Source: Refrigerated Transporter