Inbound flight from Tucuman, Argentina, begins supply chain to Midwest and beyond

MASCOUTAH, ILL., Nov. 9, 2012… MidAmerica St. Louis Airport is preparing to welcome North Bay Produce, Inc.’s, first international air shipments of produce early tomorrow morning, Sat., Nov. 10, 2012. The planned arrival of approximately 40 kilos (88,000 pounds) of berries from Argentina marks the beginning of air cargo movements through MidAmerica on the trade lane between the Americas and Asia.  In its decision to expand to MidAmerica, North Bay Produce recognized the site and operations as a key step in its plans to open the Asian trade lane that is integral to the company’s future growth. With this first shipment, North Bay Produce is demonstrating the ability to accept product directly from South America into the Midwest at MidAmerica.

Ground shipments from around North America have been processed through the North Bay Produce facility at MidAmerica since July.  Those shipments have been by surface and from California, Michigan, Oregon, Washington, northern Canada and Mexico. LAN Cargo will be flying a 767 to support the movement of the product arriving from Argentina on Saturday.

North Bay Produce President Mark Girardin commented on the significance of this flight. “We at North Bay are very excited to finally be receiving our first air shipment of berries following all of the work and planning with U.S. Customs, USDA-Aphis and MidAmerica Airport to bring this dream to fruition,” stated Girardin. “We feel strongly that consumers will be receiving better quality fruit as we reduce the days from harvest to consumer by three to five days.  The freight on board this aircraft is valued at approximately $500,000.”

Mr. Girardin added “North Bay is very thankful for the support that Chairmen Kern, his board and St. Clair County have given this project as we incrementally grow the business one step at a time. In addition we would like to thank Director Cantwell and the team at MidAmerica for their dedication to growth and continued support of our company as we grow the business.”
St. Clair County Board Chairman Mark Kern said, “This is a great step for North Bay Produce in its effort to expand its business. They are a proven company and know that the world needs fresh healthy produce. They can reach those world markets on flights into and out of MidAmerica.”

North Bay Produce’s residency has followed a number of other tenants currently operating at MidAmerica. Boeing Defense Systems operates in a 50,000-square-foot aircraft parts manufacturing building; the Illinois State Police operates an aircraft support group out of the airport, and AVMATS, the longest tenant at MidAmerica, provides fixed-based operations and business jet maintenance. The Illinois Army National Guard also has its 115-person MidAmerica Armory on the west side of the airport. 

On Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012, the airport marked another milestone as Allegiant Airlines began passenger service between MidAmerica Airport and Orlando, Fla.

About MidAmerica St. Louis Airport

MidAmerica St. Louis Airport is located in Mascoutah, Illinois, in the eastern portion of the St. Louis metropolitan area. Major multimodal rail and inland port centers are located within 22 miles of the airport, which also enjoys easy access to five interstate highways via I-64.  With parallel runways of 8,000 and 10,000 feet, the airport can handle simultaneous take-offs and landings in all conditions, minimizing delays.  It has an annual capacity of 200,000 operations. Current tenants include North Bay Produce, Inc., Boeing , and AVMATS, which has been providing alternatives for the support and maintenance of corporate aircraft at MidAmerica for almost a decade. MidAmerica is a Joint Use Airport partnering with Scott AFB, the home to US Transportation Command, a multi service organization, and Air Mobility Command, the USAF’s component command for airlift.  MidAmerica and the 375th Air Mobility Wing operate Scott AFB/MidAmerica St. Louis Airport.  For more information, visit www.flymidamerica.com.

About North Bay Produce, Inc.
North Bay Produce, Inc. is an international, grower-owned, year-round, fresh produce marketing and distribution cooperative, headquartered in Traverse City, Michigan.  The company’s twenty six stockholders are located The United States, Argentina, Chile, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Mexico, Peru and Uruguay.

HISTORY: Wilderness Fresh Produce was established in 1984 as a division of Cherry Central Cooperative, Inc. to market fresh Michigan apples, asparagus and prune plums for several of its members. In order to meet growing retail demand for year-round fresh produce, the company began importing product from Latin America in 1986 to expand its existing supply base. Due to the success of these programs, Wilderness and its Latin American partners formed North Bay Produce, Inc. in 1991. For more information, visit www.northbayproduce.com


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