“You get tired of eating the same that you’ve been eating all your life.”
He explained, people’s habits changed during the pandemic, and it helped to drive up demand for tropical fruits, which is what he imports from South America to large supermarket chains.
“And with that extra demand came more pressure on us to bring more fruit.”
In contrast to Los Angeles, South Florida is seeing ship traffic flow faster, but Ocampo faces another problem at the ports.
“What we have seen is after the containers are at the port, released because we’re having a shortage of drivers that can move out the cargo from the port.”
Port Everglades expects this volume to stay up for some time.
“What we’re seeing now as the recovery continues are record container movements, the counts for the months of June, July and August have at Port Everglades have been records,” Jonathan Daniels, Port Everglades CEO said.
In fact last year, Port Everglades brought in new cranes, ones that will unload even bigger ships.
“Our connectivity is actually fantastic with the Florida east coast railroads, connecting to the CSX system, our access to the 595, really puts us at an advantage to bring cargo in quickly and distribute it to get it off-site,” Daniels said.
But more manufacturing and produce is expected to come from Latin America.
“So the cost to manufacture a box went up, the container to freight went up, labor has gone up in these countries, so it’s complicated, I think we’re going to see more and more increases in terms of food pricing,” Ocampo added.
It’s a bittersweet situation for HLB Specialities, demand is up, but this pandemic has them facing new challenges.
October 5, 2021
By Jacqueline Quynh