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Promoexport Presents Cost Saving Options For Cruise Lines

Representatives from four product lines to help increase ship provisioning in San Juan


April 18, 2002
Copyright © 2002 CARIBBEAN BUSINESS. All Rights Reserved.

An untapped potential benefit to the island’s economy from the cruise industry is for local manufacturers and distributors to supply food and beverage to these cruise lines.

Cruise lines do little provisioning in San Juan. Many cruise ships using San Juan as a homeport do their provisioning in St. Thomas, where they have a storing port and don’t have to deal with dock unions.

Although the cruise lines do not actually buy their supplies from St. Thomas, they pay harbor fees and salaries to move cargo containers there. Products purchased in bulk on the U.S. mainland are shipped to St. Thomas to be loaded onto the vessels.

That’s why at a meeting at the Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables, PromoExport Executive Director Antonio Sosa Pascual presented a cost saving alternative to the cruise lines for their food and beverage provisioning operation.

Historically, each individual vendor has approached the cruise lines to sell its products. Now, Sosa Pascual has selected one spokesperson for each of the four product lines.

In the beverage distribution structure, Coca Cola of Puerto Rico will be in charge, Caribbean Produce represents fruits and vegetables line, Legrand was selected to head the dry food service, and Packers Provision would take charge of the refrigerated and frozen food products.

Under the beverage division there are companies such as Industria Lechera, Campo Fresco, Colon Brothers, Suiza Dairy, Tres Monjitas, Chocolate Cortes, Cerveceria India, Bacardi Corp, and Destileria Serralles.

Pollos Picu and Empresas Picu are under the refrigerated and frozen products distribution structure and Molinos de Puerto Rico, Goya de Puerto Rico, Pan American Grain, and Los Cidrines are in the dry food service division.

"We [Royal Caribbean] are open to the idea," said John Tercek, vice president of commercial development for Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. "The way the government has organized this presentation makes a lot of sense."

The food distribution industry in Puerto Rico has maintained its position as one of the strongest and most vital industries within the local economy. Of the estimated $36.6 billion in personal consumption expenditures in 2000, expenditures on food represented $5.5 billion, or 15% of the total compared to $3.9 billion in 1992.

Sosa Pascual also said that five of the top 10 largest, locally owned businesses in Puerto Rico were in the food & beverage distribution industry. And the market for wholesale food distribution on the island is estimated at $2 billion, with an estimated $300 million composed of refrigerated and frozen food products.

"The government through the Export Development Corp., Puerto Rico Ports Authority, and the Tourism Co. are developing new incentives packages to promote the cruise industry focusing on the following—provisioning and pre- and post-stay programs and free trade zone storage is available to develop competitive price structure," Sosa Pascual said. "Puerto Rico has the elements to make cruise lines food service more cost efficient such as quality inspection at ship side, freshness, extended shelf life, food safety by federal and local regulations, capacity to claim unforeseen demands, specialized dockside warehousing, infrastructure and service 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year."

This Caribbean Business article appears courtesy of Casiano Communications.
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