News and insight for North America's fresh produce buyers
Carl Collen

BY CARL COLLEN

Friday 20th September 2013, 03:27 Central Time

Tampa eyes pineapple potential

Raul Alfonso of the Tampa Port Authority will speak at the upcoming IPO Global Pineapple Conference in Costa Rica

Tampa eyes pineapple potential

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The Tampa Port Authority (TPA) has revealed that it will participate as a sponsor at the annual IPO Global Pineapple Conference in Costa Rica, as it looks to champion a new tie-up with business partner Green Express.

The event is an annual programme created by the International Pineapple Organization (IPO), to be held on 1 November at the San José Marriott Hotel, in San José.

As part of the port authority’s participation in the conference, Raul Alfonso, the TPA’s executive vice-president and chief commercial officer, will take part in a panel discussion on the fresh produce industry’s long-standing logistics and distribution challenges.

In August, the port authority signed a letter of intent with Green Express to develop an express rail service for refrigerated cargo between the Port of Tampa and the American Midwest market.

The agreement addresses the development of an on-dock transload and rail-served facility connecting Tampa to the Midwest region, offering great efficiencies to the food and agricultural industry in Florida and the Midwest markets, as well as providing ocean carriers serving these markets with a more efficient option.

“I am extremely honoured to be a part of a panel to talk openly about challenges facing the fresh produce industry and how we can work together as service and logistics professionals to create greater efficiencies, such as what we are venturing to do with our partners Green Express and Iowa Pacific Holdings, in Tampa," Alfonso explained. "It’s very exciting to be a part of meaningful dialog in an open forum that will spark new ideas and result in increased business opportunities for all involved."

Nick Pacitti, vice-president of business development for Green Express, said that his group was excited to be partnering with Iowa Pacific Holdings and the Port of Tampa in presenting a logistics platform that will give the pineapple industry get product to market faster and more efficiently.

"Through our direct and quick route to the Port of Tampa on our refrigerated boxcars, the express GX train will reduce transit times by as much as six days or more, which accounts for about 20 per cent of a pineapple’s quality shelf life," he noted. "When time and temperature matter, the GX platform can deliver on the quality promise.”

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