Logistics is always complicated. But when you’re located on an island, there are extra layers of complexity that need consideration to prevent delays and mistakes. If you’ve worked with Merchants Export before, you probably know that we are the Caribbean’s premier food distributor. We have warehouses on St Thomas, St Croix and Anguilla in addition to our 100,000 s.f. distribution facility in Florida. In this article we will focus on the services we provide from our Florida location to islands other than the Caribbean islands where we have warehouses. We offer a full spectrum of distribution and logistics services to help hotels, supermarkets, and resorts receive everything they need as quickly and efficiently as possible.
The shipping and food distribution industries are full of jargon and technical terms. Here is a quick breakdown of the services we offer at Merchants Export, what they mean, and how they can help your foodservice business.
Direct Ship Services
Because we have been in business for 50+ years and we have strong partnerships with the vendor community, Merchants can supply all your needs from our 100,000 s.f. facility which houses thousands of frozen, chill and dry products. Want something we don’t stock? No problem! Our team of procurement specialists can get that product for you. We receive, load and ship all containers fifty-two weeks a year.
FCL, LCL, and Freight Consolidation
However, if direct ship services do not meet your needs, there are several ways to get products from your existing food suppliers to your warehouse or business by utilizing our FCL or Full Container Load services. You order the products, they are delivered to our Florida warehouse and we ship them to you.
But you may not need an entire container of products. That’s when we utilize LCL shipments or Less than Container Load. In an LCL shipment, the freight takes up less than the full capacity of the shipping container. Instead of shipping half-empty containers, LCL shipments are often combined in a practice called Freight Consolidation. Freight consolidation is where we combine multiple shipments for various customers into a single shipping container before importing them to a specified location.
Most times, shipments that reach our warehouses are unloaded into our temperature-controlled storage facilities, where they’re kept briefly until it’s time to ship them to their final destination. Merchants also has cross-dock capabilities. This is when we unload product from one shipping container or truck and load it directly onto another container for shipping to its final destination. The items aren’t put away or held in storage but instead are kept in the dock area for mere hours.
The food products that leave the Port Palm Beach warehouse for any of our Caribbean locations are a national export. These items require careful documentation to stay compliant with USDA, FDA, Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), Phytosanitary, and USDC regulations. In addition, each island the product is shipped to may have their own specific documentation according to their country’s laws and regulations.
At Merchants Export, we have a documentation specialist on staff. They confirm the safety and origin of our products, as well as minimize paperwork delays. We will make sure your products’ paperwork is organized and up to date, so the import goes smoothly.
Our 100,000 sq. ft. facility located at the Port of Palm Beach is where we consolidate shipments for distribution to our island warehouses, direct ships, LCL’s, and FCL’s. With 60,000 sq. ft. of refrigerated and frozen space and 40,000 sq. ft. of dry storage, we can keep your products fresh and preserved until they’re ready to ship to either one of our Caribbean warehouses or to your warehouse, resort, or supermarket. In addition, need to rent food storage space in the South Florida area? Call us for a quote.
If you’re unsure which services you need at your restaurant, hotel, or supermarket, just let us know. Our team of experts represents over 100 years of experience in logistics and procurement. We’ll be able to help you with shipments, logistics, storage, or anything else you need, just as we’ve done for over 50 years!