There were many shining eyes and smiling faces at Avianca Cargo’s freight facilities in Miami last week, on the occasion of an important event: The handing over of the CEIV Fresh certification from IATA representatives. With this document, the Colombian freight carrier becomes the first Latin American airline confirmed by the IATA experts to fully comply with the highest quality standards demanded by the international aviation organization when it comes to processing and flying perishables. It is a major achievement because of the paramount importance of this commodity for the cargo unit of the Latin American airline.
According to Avianca export data, every second shipment processed and flown by the airline either to the U.S. or Europe, consists of fresh flowers, fruits, fish, or meat. Therefore, IATA’s CEIV
Fresh certification is a recognition of the progress achieved so far in ensuring the quality of these goods. Concurrently, it is an encouragement to further improve and the fine-tune the supply
chain for this delicate commodity. The CEIV Fresh certification is part of Avianca Cargo’s transformation plan to achieve excellence in all fields of air freight. Its strategy to become best in
class in the handling of perishable products is an essential part of its procedures, culture, training, infrastructure, and monitoring to always guarantee the freshness of these goods along the
entire supply chain, states the management.
Safe food production and distribution has become paramount
Now, Miami and Bogota have become the carrier’s first certified stations, where the vast majority of this produce is processed. Medellin and Quito are next on the list and will be certified by the end of this year, announces Avianca Cargo in a release. Latin America has become a global leader in the production and exportation of perishables. For Avianca, the goods come from exporters spread all across the subcontinent, from Argentina and Chile in the South to Ecuador and Colombia in the North. Particularly in view of the global crisis and the disruption of many supply chains, the safe production of food and its fast distribution to consumer markets is becoming increasingly important nowadays. “At Avianca Cargo, we are constantly seeking to operate under the highest quality standards in each process we carry out. This is a highly relevant milestone and now we are very proud to have received the CEIV Fresh certification from IATA, Miami International Airport, and all our allies who are a fundamental part of the supply chain of perishable transport,” stated Gabriel Oliva, CEO of Avianca Cargo, on the occasion of obtaining the document. The executive went on to say: “We continue transforming our business and we want to continue being the best ally of our clients by transporting their products that are sensitive to time and temperature, under the highest quality standards. We continue to work every day to promote the development of Latin American economies and be a quality reference in the region.”
Shipping perishables requires great expertise
His statement reflects a longstanding evolution in food production and the international division of labor. In Europe and most other regions, until the 20th century, only non-perishable and preserved foods were traded. Therefore, perishable goods such as meat and milk were only produced and marketed locally. Yet, from the early 20th century, refrigerated transportation revolutionized the availability of fresh produce from around the world; first by sea freight and later by air. Perishable goods such as fruit, vegetables, or meat, which was abundant in South America, was now able to safely travel as far as Europe and the United States. Many forwarding agents and airlines have since specialized in these transports, acquiring great expertise in doing so.
Miami has turned into a hot spot for handling perishables
This historic development of perishable production and distribution was acknowledged by Peter Cerdá, VP, Regional Americas IATA, when handing over the CEIV Fresh document to Avianca’s Gabriel Oliva: “Air cargo plays a very important role for the economies in the region. In many countries, agricultural exports contribute significantly to the socio-economic development. Almost 70% of all goods shipped via air freight between Latin America and North America, consist of perishable products. Without the cooperation and collaboration of companies in the cold chain, and without harmonized global guidelines and standards followed by all, the risks of something going wrong are quite high. The industry has recognized this challenge and the benefits of this certification. That is why we congratulate Avianca Cargo for taking this step and obtaining its CEIV Fresh Certification.”
The official presentation of the certificate ended with a short statement delivered by Ralph Cutie, Director, and CEO of MIA, who said: “Congratulations to Avianca Cargo for the recognition earned due to its outstanding dedication to cargo handling. We’re the busiest airport in terms of perishable cargo, handling 69% of all perishable imports coming into the country; therefore, we’re proud to celebrate this great global achievement with Avianca Cargo’s Miami station.”
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