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Governor Welcomes Moroccan Ambassador

Posted On: Monday, November 19th, 2012

Categories: International Trade Office of Governor Markell

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Markell, Coons at Port of Wilmington

Fresh Clementines & Continued Cargo Growth Support Port Jobs

Governor Welcomes Moroccan AmbassadorWilmington – Governor Jack Markell, Senator Chris Coons and other Delaware officials today welcomed Ambassador Mohamed Rachad Bouhlal of the Kingdom of Morocco to the Port of Wilmington.

It’s a great honor to be here today to welcome the arrival of these clementines and to celebrate the increasingly strong economic partnership– a partnership that this shipment symbolizes– between Morocco and the United States,” said Ambassador Rachad Bouhlal.

The Port of Wilmington is the exclusive port of entry for clementines from Fresh Fruit Maroc – the leading consortium representing Moroccan produce exporters. The cargo brings in $5.6 million in annual revenue and is responsible for approximately 100 quality jobs.

“Moroccan cargo has employed people here in Delaware for more than a decade,” said Governor Markell.  “We’re pleased to have the opportunity to thank Ambassador Bouhlal and the team from Fresh Fruit Maroc. Our trade with Morocco is thriving and I look forward to continuing our partnership, creating jobs and keeping Americans supplied with healthy produce all winter.”

The previous clementine season, which ran from late October 2011 through February 2012, saw 22,964 tons of clementines enter the Port of Wilmington, a 114% increase over the previous year.

“Cultivating positive trade relationships is key to growing Delaware’s economy,” Senator Chris Coons said. “The Moroccan cargo that comes through the Port of Wilmington generates millions in revenue in the U.S. every year and supports jobs right here in Delaware. I am pleased to help welcome Ambassador Bouhlal and the team from Fresh Fruit Maroc to Delaware today, and to help continue to develop this flourishing partnership.” Senator Coons is chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on African Affairs.

Fresh Clementines and Continued Cargo Growth Support Port Jobs

The delegation was joined by Agriculture Secretary Edwin Kee and Delaware State Housing Authority Secretary Anas Ben Addi, who is originally from Morocco and played a key role in facilitating the relationship with Ambassador Bouhlal.  Secretary Alan Levin, who is Chair of the Diamond State Port Corporation, led the tour of the Port.

“We are fortunate to have the top seaport for fruit and the largest on-dock cold storage complex in North America,” said Secretary Levin

In the 2011-2012 season, Fresh Fruit Maroc inaugurated a breakbulk clementine program, instead of containers, for the U.S. market.  Using the Port’s cold treatment facilities and expertise to comply with USDA import protocol, this change significantly improved the reliability of delivery times to U.S.-based marketing and distribution companies..  “From Delaware, Moroccan clementines can reach more than 200 million North American consumers in less than 24 hours.  Efforts by Fresh Fruit Maroc, Port personnel and companies like LGS Sales to find innovative ways to improve efficiency have been key to growth.”

Since this trade partnership commenced in 2000, Fresh Fruit Maroc and their growers have shipped more than 242,000 pallets of clementines, with a commercial value exceeding $345 million.

Port of Wilmington, Delaware’s Trade with Morocco
Fact Sheet

The Port of Wilmington, Delaware

  • A 308 acre, 10 berth multi-purpose, modern marine terminal located at the confluence of the Delaware and Christina Rivers.
  • Owned and operated by the Diamond State Port Corp.
  • North America’s #1 fruit, juice concentrates and tropical fruit seaport.
  • A major distribution center providing an overnight delivery to 200 million North American consumers of fruit and juice.
  • North America’s largest on-dock cold storage complex aggregating 800,000 sf. (74,322m²).

Trade Partnership with Morocco

  • The Port of Wilmington is the exclusive discharge port for Fresh Fruit Maroc (FFM) clementines in North America.
  • Since start-up of this trade in the year 2000, FFM and their growers and exporters have shipped to the Port of Wilmington over 242,000 pallets of Moroccan clementines with a commercial value exceeding $345 million.
  • The Moroccan clementine import season spans the period from late October through January or February.
  • Moroccan clementines are transported to the Port palletized and carried onboard specialized reefer ships, discharged upon arrival, stored in the Port’s refrigerated warehouses and distributed by truck to premier retailers in Canada and in the U.S.
  • Economic impact of Moroccan cargo imports via the Delaware’s seaport:
    • 100 family sustaining jobs
    • $5.6 million in annual business revenue
    • $5.3 million in annual personal income
    • $0.5 million in annual state & regional tax
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