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EPC Leadership Class tours Philly port, wholesale market

The fourth Eastern Produce Council Leadership Class saw first-hand the increasing complexity of the produce logistics and distribution system with a tour of the Philadelphia Wholesale Produce Market and Holt Logistics on March 22.

“This tour is the kick-off event of our leadership program and provides crucial insight into these parts of the supply chain,” said Susan McAleavey Sarlund, EPC executive director. “We are excited to mentor another great class this year with diverse backgrounds and experiences.”

The group began its program at PWPM with a presentation on the market’s function and benefits from Mark Smith, PWPM general manager. Smith explained how the fully enclosed facility harnesses technology and why it is unique in the terminal market arena. The group then walked the concourse and met with various market merchants.

The next stop on the tour was Holt Logistics Corp. at the Gloucester Marine Terminal in Gloucester City, NJ. After lunch, Sander Daniel, marketing at Holt, explained the various facilities and the value-added services encompassing the Philadelphia port and its role and importance in the import supply chain. “Geographically we are in the largest economic region on the planet,” he said. “We are also adjacent to the second largest DC hub in the U.S. Additionally, we are skilled at handling perishables — about 55 percent of imported containers at Packer Marine Terminal are refrigerated and we have on-dock CBP-Ag inspection facilities.”

Participants gleaned new insight from the real-world nature of the tour. “I was very excited to visit the port in particular because I have purchased imported product and had never been to the port,” said Noelle Neary, category manager at Wakefern in Elizabeth, NJ. “I loved learning about the different areas of the port and how there are specific USDA and fumigation areas as well as learning that the turnaround time at the port does not begin until the container is unloaded, transferred in ownership and plugged in.”

Daniel escorted the participants on a visit to some areas of the Gloucester City port, including a tour of the Del Monte facility given by John McCann, vice president Northeast region for Del Monte Fresh Produce and EPC member. McCann explained the company’s system of receiving, processing and shipping imported product and treated the class to delicious samples of ripe Del Monte pineapple and cantaloupe.

Dan Oettinger, retail supervisor with JOH in Paramus, NJ, was impressed with the measures employed for the safety and transport of food. “This is my first time visiting a facility like Del Monte’s,” he said. "It’s been eye-opening to see what it takes to secure delivery of our products.”

The EPC’s respected program delivers a dual-medium learning environment and includes various tours and classroom learning activities throughout the year. “It was great to see how the participants were already very engaged with one another and the tours,” said McAleavey Sarlund.

Participants selected for this year’s program: Mohammed Bouzaidi of Global Fresh Vision LLC; John Carapella Jr. of Sierra Produce; Shanna Deegan of Suja Juice; Catherine DeLettera with Zespri; Louis Getzelman of Canyon Sales Co. LLC; Patrick Hallock of Four Seasons Produce; Brendan Haslam of Bolthouse Farms; Peter Machala of Wakefern Food Corp.; Krystal McCusker of The Oppenheimer Group; Juliet Moran with Suja Juice; Noelle Neary of Wakefern Food Corp.; Dan Oettinger with JOH Metro; Garett Sebor of Key Food Stores; Kate Watson of The Oppenheimer Group; and Shawn Wen with Zespri. Also participating in the tour were current EPC Vice President Theresa Lowden, executive vice president of produce and floral at JOH, and EPC board member Al Murray.

Photo: Susan McAleavey Sarlund of EPC; John Carapella Jr. of Sierra Produce; Theresa Lowden with JOH; Brendan Haslam of Bolthouse Farms; Peter Machala of Wakefern Food Corp.; Shanna Deegan of Suja Juice; Dan Oettinger with JOH Metro; Krystal McCusker of The Oppenheimer Group; Kate Watson of The Oppenheimer Group; Shawn Wen with Zespri; Catherine DeLettera with Zespri; Louis Getzelman of Canyon Sales Co.; Juliet Moran with Suja Juice; Garett Sebor of Key Food Stores; Noelle Neary of Wakefern Food Corp.; Mohammed Bouzaidi of Global Fresh Vision; and Al Murray, EPC board member.

 

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