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Spotlight Series: Miriam Borja-Fisher of Western Fumigation

Tuesday, August 31st, 2021

 

SPOTLIGHT SERIES: 

Miriam Borja-Fisher 
Senior Business Development Manager at Western Fumigation and
Chilean & American Chamber of Commerce Treasurer

 

 

CACC: How did your experiences lead you to your role at Western Fumigation? Did you always envision yourself involved in this industry?

Miriam Borja-Fisher (M.B.F.): No one embarks on a career path with the intention of going into the fumigation business. And, I must say, when I first arrived at Western in 2002, I hadn’t realized commercial-scale fumigation of commodities was “a thing.” Fresh out of college, my experience focused on the financial and the marketing/ public relations industries, having started my career first with American Express, then Ted Bates Worldwide, and Australia & New Zealand Banking group, in New York City.

Once I left The City, and acquired an MBA, I started morphing into what would most prepare me for my work with Western. I moved to the Princeton, N.J. area and began working for a UK start-up biotech company called Biotrace, Inc. I was hired to open up “The Americas” market for them, and with a fax machine and some rented office furniture, I began making inroads first in the US, and then in Latin America.

By the time I was finished at Biotrace, the company had grown successfully from zero to a multi-million-dollar operation, which was then sold to 3M. The need to be resourceful and to build networks during my time with that company is what most prepared me for my work with Western.

As my mentor at Western, Barbara Hunter, always said to me, “you’ll never be bored, here at Western. Just when you think you’ve got it all figured out, something will hit and you’re back fighting fires.” She was certainly telling the truth. Now, in my 20th year with Western Fumigation, I can definitely say there is always something that requires innovative and creative thinking.

CACC: How is your work at Western Fumigation connected to Chile and how does it support Chilean trade?

M.B.F.: A major part of our work in the Philadelphia/Delaware River region involves treatment of commodities arriving at the ports from Chile. This movement of food supplies requires the careful orchestration of an array of stakeholders, both at origin and on arrival. Western is a cog in the wheel that keeps everything moving efficiently to market. Western is known for its advocacy role on behalf of the industry, with regulators, nationally, internationally, and at the local level; and is often credited for many “win-win” solutions for the industry in general.

CACC: What is your favorite part of working within the maritime trade industry?

M.B.F: Working with people with an entrepreneurial spirit is definitely my favorite part of the maritime industry. Making things happen, and happen correctly and smoothly is very satisfying.

CACC: What makes the CACC a special and valuable organization to you?

M.B.F: The CACC is a very highly regarded organization in the maritime trade industry in our region and in Chile. It is the perfect platform for bringing together stakeholders who are involved in the Chilean-American trade to work collectively to keep this industry vibrant, adaptable, and growing. I am honored to be a part of the executive team and the Treasurer of the organization.


Many thanks to Miriam for participating in this Spotlight Series!

 

In Memoriam and with Gratitude

Thursday, August 12th, 2021

 

 

It is with great sorrow that we share the sad news about the passing of dear friend and longtime Board Member, Dennis Rochford, President of the Maritime Exchange

Dennis was an active and dedicated member of the Chilean Chamber Board of Directors for many years. He consistently advocated for the promotion of business between the United States and Chile and cultural appreciation between the two nations. Additionally, his steadfast commitment to trade development paralleled our mission and exemplified the vision of our Chamber. Strengthening the diplomatic, investment, and commercial relationship between Chile and the Greater Philadelphia region.

During his time with the Chamber, Dennis was the recipient of our Albert S. Marulli “Lifetime Achievement” Award at the 22nd Annual “Friend of Chile” Awards Luncheon in 2019. This special event honors an individual’s leadership and dedication to promoting the region’s trade relationship with Chile. Dennis’ dedication to his work was incredibly admirable and a blueprint for everyone to follow. His legacy will always be remembered and his passing marks the end of an era for both the Chilean Chamber and the Maritime Exchange.

We are greatly saddened by this tragic loss, and have and will always keep Dennis, his family and friends in our thoughts, offering them our deepest sympathies.

If you would like to read more about Dennis’ life and career, please follow this link. 

 

 

 

Chile at a Glance

Tuesday, August 3rd, 2021

The Chilean & American Chamber of Commerce has faced many challenges this past year. Due to the COVID-19 restrictions that were set forth by the CDC and the City of Philadelphia, we have been unable to host large gatherings, resulting in a loss of our primary source of revenue- event sponsorship and ticket sales. With these restrictions having been lifted, we are now looking to begin having our annual programs once again, starting with our Annual Fresh Fruit Workshop and “Friend of Chile” Awards Luncheon this upcoming Autumn.

Though things have been fairly quiet here at the CACC for the past couple of months, we have not been completely stagnant. A project we have been working on is an original illustrated map of Chile that has been created to compliment our digital directory. The illustrated map features listings from CACC Membership and interesting facts about certain Chilean regions and the country’s main exports.

We would like to thank all of those who contributed and made this special piece of marketing possible. We would not have been able to do it without you.

If you would like to view the illustrated map, follow this link

An Introduction from the CACC’s New Coordinator- Caroline Bullock

Tuesday, July 27th, 2021

Dear CACC Members and Friends,

 

My name is Caroline Bullock and I am the new Coordinator for the Chilean & American Chamber of Commerce. I am a graduate of Boston University’s Class of 2020, with a Bachelor of Science in Communications from the College of Communication, with a focus in Public Relations.

It is my honor to work with all of you and represent Chile in the Greater Philadelphia region. I am excited for all of the great things to come and cannot thank my predecessor, Christina Lisa, more for all of the hard work she has done for the Chamber and the assistance she has given me since beginning here.

I am thrilled to begin this next chapter of my life with the CACC, and have the privilege of working with our Board of Director’s and Membership to expand the Chamber’s network and overall scope of reach. Chile has held a special place in my heart ever since I visited the country several years ago. The people, food, and culture left a lasting impression that has remained with me all these years and is unparalleled to anything I have ever experienced before. It with this true admiration for the country that I will base my work ethic on and all of my relationships with you.

Thank you all and with my best regards,

Caroline Bullock
Coordinator
Chilean & American Chamber of Commerce of Greater Philadelphia

Thank you and Farewell! – A Letter from Executive Director Christina Lista

Wednesday, February 17th, 2021

Dear CACC Members and Friends:

I write to you today with mixed emotions. My last day as Executive Director of the Chilean & American Chamber of Commerce of Greater Philadelphia will be this Friday, February 19th. For more than six years, I have had the privilege of working with the CACC’s dedicated Board of Directors to broaden the Chamber’s scope and to grow our network in Chile and the Greater Philadelphia region. Little did I know, my role as an Intern during the last semester of my senior year at Temple University, assisting with a reception for the President of Chile, would be the entrée to this role. I’m truly grateful for all of the experience you have afforded me.

Highlights include several trips to and extended time in Chile—this business and cultural immersion gave me the drive and confidence to build the CACC into what it is today. Our partnership with Chile a Digital Country (Ch1l3) is one of my proudest achievements. Expanding upon Chile’s bounty of fruit that reaches our shores every winter, Ch1l3 represents Chile’s expert IT service industry. Testament to our growing partnership, we recently signed a historic Memorandum of Understanding with ProChile and the City of Philadelphia. The opening of ProChile’s commercial office in Philadelphia in November 2020, notwithstanding the global pandemic, signals a new chapter of collaboration. A particularly special honor for me was representing Chile in Philadelphia’s diverse international business community. I’ve been lucky to collaborate with regional international chambers of commerce, consulates, the City of Philadelphia Commerce Department, the PA Office of International Business Development, and many other important global leaders in the area.

I could not have accomplished any of this without the CACC’s steadfast Board of Directors and Membership, who have made my time as CACC Executive Director full of learning, laughter, friendship, and success. I’d especially like to express my sincere gratitude to the Executive Board: Bob—thank you for being our fearless leader and always willing to impart your wisdom; Andy—thank you for placing your confidence in me and being generous with your support; and Miriamthank you for being my confidante and a true example of what I hope to accomplish and aspire to become one day.

Despite my departure, the CACC will remain vibrant and engaged. On the agenda is the World Affairs Council of Philadelphia’s “Beyond our Borders: Philadelphia and the World,” a six-month long series of programming aimed at highlighting our region’s robust international connections. The first installment of this series will focus on Chile, including a diverse set of programs to provide the Greater Philadelphia community with a deeper understanding of Chilean culture, politics, cuisine, and its role in the world at large.

I look forward to remaining involved with the CACC through the port industry as well as other areas in my new role as Communications Manager with the Maritime Exchange for the Delaware River and Bay. This is not goodbye, rather heartfelt thanks for your kindness, generosity and support.

With best wishes and sincere gratitude,
signature
Christina Lista
Executive Director
Chilean & American Chamber of Commerce of Greater Philadelphia

Photo from my first trip to Chile in 2017.

Spotlight Series: John Ercolani of J&K Fresh East

Wednesday, February 17th, 2021

SPOTLIGHT SERIES: 

John Ercolani
Vice President of J&K Fresh East, div. of 721 Logistics

John-Ercolani-Photo

CACC: How did you begin your career in the fresh fruit industry? Did you always envision yourself working in this field?

John Ercolani (J.E.): Our family customs brokerage business was first started in 1968. It has been a trade my family has practiced for generations, and one I was able to identify with from an early age. My involvement in the fresh fruit industry came after and for a different reason.

With the focus on trying to understand all the different facets of the industry, I spent most summers as a young adult moving to and from different departments within our family business. I filled in where needed while handling various commodities, both import and export.

After receiving my Business Degree at Rider University and not long after I started working full-time, I was “volunteered” to move to the perishables department and handle fresh fruit. I had to quickly pivot, as handling fresh fruit was very different: the pace, the passion, and the constant pursuit of getting the fruit to market. I thoroughly enjoyed it, anticipated it may be my calling, and jumped in.

From the beginning, I found the interaction of so many industry partners involved in the regulatory and supply chain fascinating. The process enables even the smallest growers from many remote locations, independently or through export companies, to fulfill the many vast government regulations required for export controls to the USA. It was the epitome of free market.

CACC: When was your first visit to Chile and how does J&K Fresh East support Chilean trade?

J.E.: My initial visits to Chile helped me better understand the history and culture of the fresh fruit industry. My first visit was in 2008, prior to US Customs’ announcement of the Importer Security Filing regulation in 2009. In anticipation, I was welcomed by ASOEX to give a presentation to the growers/shippers to prepare for the new rule. The excitement for their fruit was apparent and their desire to establish strong personal relationships was so refreshing. Countless visits to Chile have followed with many dear friendships having been forged since.

For many of the individuals currently at J&K Fresh East, our support of the Chilean trade started at the inception of the trade first arriving in the mid 1970’s in the Port of Philadelphia. Concentrating on the needs of the importers and doing what is best for the fruit has always been our focus.

We have evolved and grown with the ever-changing market. What once was a limited seasonal business is now a year-round program supporting both small family-oriented import marketing companies as well as large multi-national corporations.

I have been on the CACC Board since 2012, following in the footsteps of George Sibley, our Senior Consultant for perishable cargoes. He was a 2005 CACC Friend of Chile Award recipient, so our commitment to the cause is long-standing. We value the special relationship between Chile and the Ports of the Delaware River, and will always strive to make it stronger and mutually beneficial.

CACC: What is your favorite part of working within the maritime trade industry?

J.E.: The complexity of the maritime industry is fascinating. The ebbs and flows of this business, no pun intended, create a fair share of challenging problems that require equally unique and demanding solutions. Solving those problems, creating new solutions and being acknowledged by our clients for going the extra mile is what makes this business so special and rewarding.

The growers, exporters, shipping lines, importers, fumigators, and terminal operations all working together to move perishables so efficiently, within this trade lane, is the true success story of the Chilean trade with the USA. These relationships, as well as those that we share with the government agencies, are the backbone of what we do.

As the industry continues to expand in the Ports of the Delaware River, the acceleration of building new refrigerated warehouses and repackaging lines to facilitate customizing of retail requirements continues to evolve.

CACC: What makes the CACC a special and valuable organization to you?

J.E.: The Chamber has always stayed true to its objective to encourage and improve trade relations between the Republic of Chile and the Ports of the Delaware River. Those achievements have been accomplished through cross-border leadership and the ability to adapt and overcome no matter what the obstacle. Whether it is bringing industry leaders together for the Annual “Friend of Chile” Awards Luncheon or a less formal pre-season planning session, these CACC events are the catalysts that continue to move our port community forward. These efforts continue to shape the success and growing trade between the Republic of Chile and the Ports of the Delaware River.

CACC: Who have been the most influential people that helped shape your career in perishables?

J.E.: Bill Fagan and George Sibley.

Bill’s dedication and work ethic leaves most exhausted just viewing from afar, but for him it is just another Tuesday. Bill is a leader by his example; he has the motor of a diesel engine and has cultivated a work ethic that so many have tried to match. His energy and commitment to the industry is inspiring.

Outside of family, George has had one of the greatest impacts on my life, both professionally and personally. He has been the constant since the start of my career. When I was “volunteered” to handle perishables, George was instrumental in encouraging my love for the work. He encouraged when expectations were met and gave direct, constructive feedback when I needed it. He has been the guiding factor in my career since then. He is complete with every detail and a consummate professional.

I continue to feel extremely fortunate to work alongside these great mentors and friends.

Many thanks to John for participating in this Spotlight Series!

Spotlight Series: Robert Palaima of DRS

Friday, January 22nd, 2021

SPOTLIGHT SERIES: 

Robert Palaima
President of Delaware River Stevedores and President and Chairman of the Chilean & American Chamber of Commerce

CACC: How did you begin your career in the stevedoring industry? Did you always envision yourself working in this field?

Robert Palaima (R.P.): No, not hardly. My academic background had me pointed toward diplomatic service, but life has a way of intervening in surprising ways. As it turns out, few professions have as transnational an outlook as stevedoring; the employment of longshoremen to handle cargo from around the world. I was rewarded with opportunities to travel to just about every continent, and to develop friendships with the best and the brightest in the maritime industry. I always found it intellectually stimulating to get to know a little something about the exigencies involved in the production and transport of so many different commodities from Chilean fruit and Ivorian cocoa to Brazilian pulp, Indonesian plywood, and steel from the Benelux countries. At the same time, there is something satisfying about the whole down to earth waterfront motif, and having the privilege of working with talented DRS managers and ILA union labor. I always advise younger people to keep an open mind about the career choices before them, and not to get too discouraged if their initial plans do not work out.

CACC: How does DRS support Chilean trade?

R.P.: For decades, Chilean fruit was a mainstay seasonal cargo for us. Although we were always engaged in several different commodities and cargo types in Camden, Philadelphia and Wilmington, there is no denying the seminal role that Chilean fresh fruit played in the history of our Port. With upwards of 60% of Chile’s exports in this field flowing to the US via the Delaware River, it was important to be involved. Carriers and ocean transport modes evolve, and while today DRS is not as physically engaged as we once were, we respect the positive impact this trade has on the overall health of the Port and on employment, so we support all efforts to have our region remain on top. It is also important to realize that trade opportunities with Chile exist beyond fruit per se. Minerals and rare earths from Chile represent important cargo opportunities, as well as more consumer-friendly products such as Chilean olive oil, salmon and, of course, wines.

CACC: What is your favorite part of working within the maritime trade industry?

R.P.: As I said before, I really take great pleasure in feeling so connected to the rest of the world. However, this COVID plagued period in particular has given me a new sense of pride in our industry. Despite risks and challenges, the Port did not miss a day in keeping vital supply chains going, and perhaps the public at large needs to better know that. There is no such thing as a remote vessel discharge, or remote warehousing, or rail or truck loading. People have to physically rise to the occasion and answer the bell. When I think of all the seafarers who remained true to their profession despite dangers and almost unconscionable restrictions on their shore leave and repatriation, I feel we owe them a debt of gratitude. I am proud to be associated with the region’s strong cadre of steamship agents, vocal Pilots, and organizations such as Seamen’s Church Institute, who have advocated on their behalf. When I think about the longshoremen, terminal workers and supervisors who have helped keep food the shelves, goods in the stores, and primary commodities for our factories and plants, I am thankful to their families, and grateful for how the Philadelphia Marine Trade Association and the International Longshoremen’s Association have cooperated to keep our port facilities functioning at a high level these past many months. I am also appreciative of all the behind-the-scenes efforts of the Maritime Exchange, PhilaPort, South Jersey Port Corporation and Diamond State to provide support.

CACC: What makes the CACC a special and valuable organization to you?

R.P.: In and of itself, the promotion of good relations between the Republic of Chile, a strong US ally, and our tristate region is important. Beyond the commercial ties, there are important cultural and political ties which bind two new world nations which share democratic and free market values, however they may be imperfectly implemented in either country from time to time. Similar to the Maritime Exchange in orientation, CACC is one of those rare organizations which bind Delaware, New Jersey and Pennsylvania in common purpose. Conversely, it is a vehicle by which Chile can access leadership in three important US states. When I think back to the poisoned grape scare of 1989, CACC played a pivotal role in allaying unfounded fears and helping to stabilize the trade. Speaking of trade, CACC was there to support major free trade agreements in 2004 and 2015. On a human level, I am also gratified by how CACC reacted to help after major earthquakes in Chile in 2010 and 2015. Also, on a very personal level, few public diplomacy events in Philadelphia were more successful than the far-reaching Viva Chile week in 2009. This exposed our region to Chilean arts, music, cuisine, literature, and even Mapuche culture in unprecedented ways. It manifested strong educational and financial ties, and even resulted in Chilean vintners becoming the first from the new world to receive the coveted Thomas Jefferson wine makers award. The person who really made this happen was one of CACC’s Directors, Ben Leavenworth, the highly respected Honorary Consul of Chile in our region. If you indulge me for a minute, what also makes CACC so valuable to me is the chance to work with fruit industry legends like Andy Economou and the tireless Miriam Borja-Fisher, and all of our Board members who contribute so much of their time, brain power, money and goodwill to our cause. I must also say that allowing Christina Lista to grow into such an effective Executive Director of CACC gives me great satisfaction.

CACC: As President and Chairman, what do you hope to see the CACC accomplish in the future?

R.P.: It may be hard to believe, but in 2011 Philadelphia came close to losing Chile’s Consulate. I like to think that the determined action taken by CACC at the time helped to save it. I am very pleased to have recently realized one of my strategic goals. The Ministerio De Relaciones Exteriores had ProChile actually open up a formal office in Philadelphia to help promote trade. This office is headed up by Alexander Philip Grabois, and I look forward to working with him to accomplish our mutual goals. Now with efficacious vaccines being administered, I look forward to a post-pandemic return to more normal times so that we could continue our educational efforts with effective fruit workshops, and with the promotion of Chile’s growing IT industry. I also look forward to the in-person return of two of our most celebrated events – the Taste of Chile Dinner in Wilmington and the Friend of Chile Award Luncheon in Philadelphia. Of course, our advocacy efforts never abate, whether they concern cold chain issues, USDA Marketing Order windows, methyl bromide regulations, or more recently, to protect free trade for one of my favorite fruits – blueberries. It is hard to believe an effort to impair our ability to consume blueberries year-round, but there you have it. Perhaps with an incoming President from Delaware, our region will receive more attention and a sympathetic ear.

Many thanks to Bob for so graciously participating in this week’s Spotlight Series.

Spotlight Series: Ed Fitzgerald of GEODIS

Tuesday, December 8th, 2020

SPOTLIGHT SERIES: 

Ed Fitzgerald
Senior Director, Trade Services, GEODIS USA, Inc. 

Ed-Fitzgerald-Photo

CACC: How did you begin your career in the fresh fruit industry?

Ed Fitzgerald (E.F.): Within a week of starting at Barthco in June of ‘94, I was baptized in the customs broker business by being assigned to handle “fruit entries.” I was an account rep that filed the entry paperwork for customs and FDA clearances on the banana ships that arrived in port each week. The clock would start as soon as we received the ship manifests since the transit time was less than 5 days. Handling the tropical fruit entries prepared me for the upcoming Chilean Season during the winter and spring months. I never envisioned the sheer volume of Chilean fruit that discharges at the multiple terminals along the Delaware River each season. As a broker, our volume is seen as racks of manila file folders with corresponding import customs entry documents consisting of manifests, bills of lading, invoices, packing lists, and permits that are required for the clearance of the fruit.

CACC: Did you always envision yourself working in this field?

E.F.: No, not at first. During my senior year at La Salle University, I interned at US Customs and BATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives).  Before graduation, I had been offered a contract position with US Customs. However, at the time there was a government hiring freeze on full-time employment. A friend of the family mentioned that Barthco dealt with US Customs and was hiring. I had never heard of a customs broker or freight forwarder nor did I know what they did. I was instantly hooked to the fast pace of the business which intertwined transportation, international business, government regulations, and compliance.I was very fortunate to have excellent mentors in George Sibley along with Dennis Colgan, Bill Stevenson, Jack Mallough, Dave Weiss, and Dennis Dougherty at Barthco. They taught me the customs broker business and the intricacies of our customer’s import businesses of fruit, steel, textiles, and forest products. With their support, I was also able to obtain my customs brokerage license.

CACC: How does GEODIS support Chilean trade?

E.F.: For over 40 years, Geodis (Barthco/OHL) has proudly been a longtime partner and service provider for our customers in the Chilean trade. Chilean imports of deciduous fruit have been the principal foundation in the fruit trade industry. The international perishable fruit business has grown to be a year-round business with a full suite of fresh fruit products from Chile and other perishable fruit commodities from around the world. Along with our customers and industry partners, GEODIS has championed and continued to do what is “best for the fruit“–whether that’s finding solutions for logistical challenges or working side by side with government agencies to expedite the flow of cargo. Geodis’ Chilean business vertical has expanded over the years in the United States, and now Geodis has several local offices in Chile which provide freight forwarding and customs brokerage for multiple import and export business sectors including wearing apparel, wine, lumber, paper, and metals.

CACC: What is your favorite part of working within the maritime trade industry and Geodis?

E.F.: There are many things that I love about my career in the maritime trade industry. This is a people and relationship business. The people I work with at Geodis, our customers, industry partners, and government officials are all special relationships that I have had for 25+ years and I hope to continue to have for 25 more years. Besides family and close friends, these relationships are essential as we work long, fast-paced, and at times stressful hours with our colleagues. A few years ago, I had a wonderful experience visiting Chile to meet some of our import customer’s growers and shippers that we have dealt with for countless seasons. I was able to see firsthand the farms and orchards, pack houses, and day-to-day operations  before loading on the Northbound vessels. It’s the people and the relationships developed over time that are important. Secondly, Geodis has provided me the support and opportunity to learn something new every day and to provide solutions to an always-changing business environment. This makes my career very rewarding. I have always said that if you watch the national evening news, there will be something directly affecting our industry in the Delaware Valley or globally—whether it is economical in the price of a barrel of oil; weather-related in tropical or winter storms; or government regulations involving free trade agreements or anti-terrorism and contraband enforcement measures. Every day brings a new experience and learning opportunity which in turn keeps our customers “in the know” as details matter.

CACC: What makes the CACC a special and valuable organization to you?

E.F.: The CACC is a special organization to me as a longtime member and present Board Member. The CACC is a proactive and working chamber that strives to strengthen the Chilean-American relationship between our two countries and the businesses affected on a local basis. The CACC is one of the few chambers in the country that provides our members with a combined multifaceted approach to business, cultural, and government relationships directly with our fellow Chileans.

CACC: What is your favorite Chilean Grape variety?

E.F.: That’s a tricky question! For table grapes, I like them all, but my favorite is  the Crimsons. For wine, Carménère. Both of which pair well with some well-aged cheese… Salud!

Many thanks to Ed for participating in this Spotlight Series!

Spotlight Series: Alexander Grabois of ProChile Philadelphia

Thursday, November 12th, 2020

Alexander Grabois
Trade Representative, ProChile Philadelphia

Photo-APG

CACC: Why is this new Philadelphia commercial office important to ProChile?

Alexander Grabois (A.G.): Greater Philadelphia has long been a key market for Chile and an important trade partner; primarily due to the area being the main port of entry for Chilean fruits for the East Coast. However, in recent years, like Philadelphia, Chile has made important strides and efforts to increase the visibility of trade of value-added products and services. This allows for Chile to continue its mission of promoting exports while also highlighting the diversity, quality and innovative nature of our companies, across all sectors.

In the past, ProChile had been covered remotely, from our Washington DC office, for which being physically present in Philadelphia will make a great difference in providing continuity and support to Philadelphia area companies.

CACC: What are some projects or initiatives you are looking forward to working on in Philadelphia?

A.G.: Among a great list of priorities and plans, it is certainly a top priority to continue our work within the fresh fruit industry and maintain Chile´s presence in the market. ProChile is the primary contact for any trade needs, for which I am looking forward to working directly with everybody on these matters and furthering efforts to benefit the bilateral economic relationship of Chile and Greater Philadelphia.

In November 2019, ProChile was fortunate enough to work on and sign a Memorandum of Understanding with the CACC and the City of Philadelphia, which aims to further strengthen the relationship between Chile and Philadelphia, while also focusing on promoting Philadelphia as a destination for Chilean IT providers. It will be very exciting to continue this work and grow the reach of this agreement so that we can expand and diversify efforts to further promote Greater Philadelphia as a key market for Chile and to promote all that Chile has to offer.

As is the case with most agencies and companies around the world, ProChile has needed to innovate and adapt to the new norm as a result of COVID-19. This has led for our institution to transition to virtual events and initiatives. An example of this is the inaugural version of “ChileConnected, Get Closer to the Source”, a fully virtual B2B matchmaking event that runs from October 19-November 20, with sector specific panels and matchmaking opportunities with Chilean producers of healthy food and beverages, technology and innovation, and creative industries.

CACC: What makes the CACC a valuable partner to you in your role at ProChile?

A.G.: The CACC has been an important ally for our organization, particularly due to their proactivity and constant willingness to work with us and for the greater mission of benefitting relationships between Chile and Greater Philadelphia. We are very excited to continue to work closely with the Chamber and its members in furthering the presence of Chile in the region and building upon the existing partnership and collaboration.

CACC: What is one thing you would like the CACC Network to know about Chile?

A.G.: While Chile has gained positive recognition due to our wines and fruits, I would also like to introduce CACC members and the Greater Philadelphia region to the diversity of what Chile can offer to the US market. Among other products, I can highlight important strides made in the production of food and beverage products that incorporate innovation and technologies, which help meet the sophisticated demands of the US consumers. An example of innovation in the food and beverage sector is NotCo, which produces a line of vegetable-based products, while using an algorithm that can replicate recognizable flavors in healthier formats. Chile has also used innovation and technology as a tool to help solve global issues, a key success case being GenoSur, who provides portable and easy to use COVID-19 tests, and Cornershop, an e-commerce app that allows users to purchase products from a group of affiliated stores and have the products delivered to their doorsteps. All three of the aforementioned companies have been success cases in terms of their US market entry and ability to raise capital in the US; and continually work to expand their presence in the United States. We have so much to offer to consumers and buyers and it is a key aspect of my role to promote these innovative products. I am very much looking forward to speaking and discussing more about Chile and its diverse economy.

Sending our thanks and best wishes to Alexander for his move to Philadelphia!

Spotlight Series: Joe Fox of Philaport

Thursday, November 12th, 2020

Joe Fox, Marketing Manager, PhilaPort 

Joe-Fox-Photo

CACC: How did you start in Chilean produce imports? 

Joe Fox (J.F.): I actually saw a help wanted ad in the newspaper. Starting in the Fall of ’91 at Unifrutti (now Tastyfrutti), I oversaw both the East and West Coast ports as an operations supervisor. This involved managing the terminal port of discharge, fumigation, USDA inspections, quality control, distribution warehousing, and trucking distribution. During this time, I worked with a lot of the growers and agronomists in Chile and learned the technical aspects of the produce business. Back then, CSAV Lines was calling the Tioga Marine Terminal, and working with them also taught me about the ocean transport side of fruit imports.

CACC: What did your work at Hamburg Sud teach you about trade with Chile? 

J.F.: When I started there in ’97, the company was still known as Columbus Line. I worked for Victor Federici, Steve George, and John Dolan, who all taught me a lot about the container liner industry. I was there as the business was switching from breakbulk to containers. It was a time of real growth for the West Coast of South America trades. I got to meet many of the importers; people I shared space with on the docks. Working with them on logistics issues, we became close personally and professionally.

CACC: As a PhilaPort Marketing Manager, how do you effect trade between the Port and Chile?

J.F.: My experience from these previous jobs, plus my network of contacts, allow me to support Chile’s trade with Philadelphia. Here in the Marketing Department, we communicate regularly with Chilean growers, US importers, and the ocean carriers. We provide information to everyone in the supply chain, including the freight forwarders, warehouse companies and truckers. We give them market overviews, presentations, statistics, marketing materials, advice, and contacts. We recently spoke with agriculture officials from the Chilean Embassy in Washington, DC about the latest trade developments in Chile and Philadelphia. We maintain our relationships with the growers during PMA and other produce industry events. Over the years I have come to really care about Chile and its people, so it is good to help build bridges between the two cultures.

CACC: How does the CACC support your work, and the mission of PhilaPort?

J.F.: The mission of the Chamber fits well with one of our main goals at the Port:  to grow trade between Chile and Philadelphia. CACC brings all the key players together to network and knowledge share. The Chamber is an important voice of the industry as we fight protectionism and communicate with regulators. It lets us know important trends in the trade. And it holds some wonderful events so everyone can get to know each other. PhilaPort is investing a lot of money in infrastructure, and that will help grow trade with Chile, so this is an exciting time for the Chile – Philadelphia relationship. The Chamber is an essential element of that relationship.

The Delaware River is already dominant for Chilean produce imports.  Going forward, I would also like to work with the Chamber to grow our trade in forest products, seafood, metals, and more.

Thank you to Joe and PhilaPort Marketing for participating in this edition of the CACC Spotlight Series!