Chilean Ambassador Felipe Bulnes, Delaware Gov. Jack Markell, and other officials welcomed this year’s first shipment of Chilean winter fruit to the US on Pacific Seaways’ chartered refrigerated vessel m/v Polarstream.
The Port of Wilmington is the nation’s leading marine terminal for imports of perishable cargoes and a major port of entry and distribution center for Chilean fruit.Chile’s harvest period in the southern hemisphere, between late November and April , complements the North American consumer demand for imports of fruit. The ship will discharge nearly 6,600 pallets of table grapes, blueberries, cherries, peaches, nectarines, apricots and plums at the Port of Wilmington.
The port handled 15.9 million cases of Chilean fruit with an estimated retail value of $600 million during the 2011-2012 season. The cargo was stored in the port’s 800,000 square foot on-dock cold-store, North America’s largest, before distribution as far north as Canada’s maritime provinces and as far west as the Mississippi River.
Chilean fruit trade supports 750 jobs, and generates $40 million in personal income, $42 million in business revenue and $4 million in tax revenue for the state and the region.