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MIAMI: October 13, 2016. Miami International Airport has become the first U.S. airport to receive U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) permission to accept sea/air transshipments of perishables that include expedited processing by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

Customized Brokers, a subsidiary of Crowley Maritime, has partnered with MIA to handle perishables from Latin America to Port Miami or Port Everglades for transshipment via KLM Cargo or Centurion Cargo to destinations in Europe and Asia. The first sea/air traffic is expected before the end of the year.

KLM A330-200KLM will return to Miami on October 30 when it begins operating three A330 flights a week to Amsterdam.

"We deeply appreciate the USDA and CBP for recognizing the value of this pilot program to both the local and national economy," said Miami-Dade Aviation director Emilio González. "Cargo shippers now have an additional, expedited channel for transporting perishables through the U.S., which incentivizes them to do more business at MIA and PortMiami – two of our state's strongest economic engines. The pilot program also continues our efforts to grow cargo at MIA through outside-the-box initiatives."

The ocean-to-air pilot program is expected to save shippers time and money as they avoid paying CBP duties on the perishable transshipments, according to an airport spokesman.

"We continuously look for ways to help speed our customers' products to market while helping them to grow their distribution footprint," said Kimberly Wakeman, vice president Customized Brokers. "This pilot program follows wins that we've had in securing additional entry points in South Florida, South Carolina and Savannah for certain perishables entering the U.S. from Central and South America. This further expands the distribution of fresh produce into supermarkets across the globe."

The sea/air program follows the launch in May of Pharma.aero, a collaboration between MIA and Brussels Airport to grow pharma traffic; plans to establish an FTZ magnet site for manufacturers to lease vacant airport property and have their tariffs deferred, reduced or eliminated; and a program to modernize MIA's existing cargo operation and double its capacity.

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