Ben Adams, Jr.

The international view from the cold food chain’s perspective

THE FOOD AND FOOD INGREDIENTS kept cold, dry, and secure at Adams Cold Storage in Auburndale truly are international in flavor and increasingly international in origin. Increased foreign trade, the result of 20 free trade and other agreements negotiated by the U.S. government, makes it possible for products from all over the world to pass through our public refrigerated warehouse almost as easily as food grown right here in Florida.

The bulk of the food we store comes from U.S.-based growers, processors, and distributors, but at any given time throughout the year our inventory can include:

• Meats, fish, and shellfish from Newfoundland, Mexico, Asia, and the South Pacific;

• Breads, danishes, croissants, pretzels, and confectionery items out of Europe;

• Food-grade oils, essential oils, and sauces from a variety of foreign places; and

• Drums and bins of fruit concentrates (apple, grape, mango, and kiwi, for example) from South America, Germany, China, India, and Asia.

Free trade isn’t a one-way street. An increasing number of our domestic customers are approved — or being approved — to distribute their food products through established U.S. foreign trade zones (ports of entry and exit) to international destinations.

Interestingly, the explosion in international trade has made it necessary for shippers to become much more efficient in the way they ply the waters with cargo. Shipping companies are responding to the need, and reacting to the recent opening of the widened and deepened Panama Canal, by ordering container vessels that are absolutely massive in size.

While they aren’t the largest seagoing vessels in world, the New Panamax — or Super Panamax — cargo ships are much larger than the Panamax ships that the Panama Canal has accommodated since it opened in 1914. Panamax ships could be as long as 965 feet and as wide as 106 feet, with a draft (minimum water depth) of 39.5 feet. By comparison, a Super Panamax ship can be 1,200 feet long and 161 feet wide, with a draft of 50 feet.

When it comes to capacity, a Panamax ship can carry 5,000 20-foot-equivalent-unit (TEU) containers, while a Super Panamax ship can carry 12,000 TEUs.

It’s a hungry world out there, and dozens — if not hundreds — of Super Panamax ship captains soon will be doing their part to help feed it.

This column is sponsored by Adams Cold Storage.


column by BEN ADAMS, JR.

BIO: Ben Adams, Jr. is an owner and president of Adams Cold Storage, LLC, in Auburndale. He has been directly involved in citrus production, warehousing and distribution, as well as state and community support, since 1980. His facility incorporates about 200,000 square feet of multitemperature warehousing, with an extensive expansion project currently under way.

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