South American fruit to flow quicker through Savannah

The Georgia Ports Authority announced Tuesday a new “cold treatment” program to get South American fruits to U.S. markets quicker.

Starting Sept. 1, the port of Savannah will handle fruit from Peru, Chile, Brazil and other countries that has undergone the cold treatment process to prevent the transmission of agricultural pests.

Citrus fruits, grapes and blueberries, under a U.S. Department of Agriculture pilot program, will be chilled for at least 17 days before entering Savannah to protect against fruit flies. Producing countries, as well as transshipment points including Panama, will treat the fruit.

“South American fresh fruit destined to the Southeast market has traditionally been shipped to Northern U.S. ports,” said GPA Executive Director Curtis Foltz. “Delivery to Savannah means fruits won’t have to be trucked as far to reach Southeastern markets, allowing fresher offerings for stores and longer shelf life for consumers.”