US’s busiest seaport expects to handle 85,000 tonnes of Chilean fruit this winter

The first 2024 vessel of Chilean fruit arrived at the Port of Los Angeles this week, carrying more than 5,300 pallets of grapes and stonefruit. The port is currently the only US West Coast port receiving specialised refrigerated cargo ships that carry palletised fruit from Chile.

Chilean fruit bound for US

“We have become the main stop for Chilean fruit imports on the West Coast that gets distributed as far north as Canada and as far east as Texas,” said Port of Los Angeles executive director Gene Seroka.

“Being able to accommodate and efficiently process a variety of cargo for our customers – such as the fresh breakbulk shipment today – continues to be an important priority for our Port.”

In 2021, the Port of Los Angeles invested nearly US$1m to upgrade its breakbulk building at Berths 54-55, a marine terminal operated by SSA Marine. The building serves as the port’s main staging area for pallets of Chilean produce, which SSA Marine then quickly distributes using the port’s vast network of refrigerated trucking services and coldstorage facilities.

For more than 25 years now, Chilean growers have relied on this dedicated port terminal to deliver their fresh produce to North America’s consumer markets.

On 3 January, the Ivar Reefer, operated by Cool Carriers, departed from the Port of Coquimbo, the first of dozens of vessels that will be arriving at the Port of Los Angeles through the winter season, which runs from January through early April.

The Port of Los Angeles is North America’s leading trade gateway and has ranked as the No. 1 container port in the US for 23 consecutive years. In 2022, the port facilitated US$311bn in trade and handled a total of 9.9m container units, the second busiest calendar year in the its 116-year history.