Know your port authority! Authorities are silent partners to the coffee and tea industries. An efficient and professional port infrastructure can help importers and roasters in its vicinity to flourish. Joel Starr and Timothy Castle explore the U.S. and European coffee and tea ports.
Some coffee businesses have taken steps to form alliances at their ports, working together to turn the ports into state-of-the art coffee processing centers. A few key ports provide shipping lines the access they need to deliver coffee and tea year in and year out. We spoke with representatives of the various port authorities, and with the leaders of some of these coffee alliances in order to learn more about each port's role in out morning cups and container deliveries.
Steve Coleman, communications director at The New York & New Jersey Port Authority told us, "We're an importer of coffee beans as well as hundreds of other commodities." Adding that, "We are a landlord/tenant operation. We're not a Port Authority that actually operates the Port. Last year, we handled five million TEU's (a term for a 20-foot containment unit). We service a region here with 80 million consumers and five major port terminals. In 2006, we brought in 14,879 TEU's of coffee, which is 62% of the North Atlantic Volume and 2,968 TEU's of tea, which is 59% of the North Atlantic Volume. Some tenants have formed an alliance know as the Green Coffee Association." The Green Coffee Association of NY/NJ can be reached at +1(212) 201-8883.
Hydi Webb at The Port of Miami in Florida, said, "In the 2006 fiscal year, 35,175 tons of green coffee moved through the Port of Miami. We have 11 companies that move coffee through here; Econo Caribe Consolidators and Colmar Storage are two of the larger firms. Fiscal year 2005 saw the completion of Wharf 6 and a portion of Wharf 7. The two wharves were designed to accommodate post-Panamax vessels, those too large to transit through the Panama Canal. The addition of 1,145 feet to the gantry docks brought the total length of the wharf to approximately 6,120 feet. The combination of an expanded gantry crane area and two new container cranes allows the Port of Miami to continue its aggressive marketing efforts to attract more cargo carriers and pursue new markets. Also completed in 2005 were the resurfacing of POMTOC's (Port of Miami Terminal Operating Co.) container yard and improvements to the drainage system. These enhancements will contribute to greater operating efficiencies and allow the terminal operator to boost the container marshalling capacity by increasing the vertical density in the yard."
Chris Bonita, at The Port of New Orleans, informed us that, "We are the second largest entry point for coffee that is traded on the NYBOT (New York Board of Trade). In 2006 we handled 209,000 short tons (2,000 lbs) of coffee. In addition to the Port facilities, we have Silocaf operated by Pacorini, It's an old grain silo that they've converted to a bulk green coffee-handling center that separates, de-stones and processes the beans before roasting. Folgers is a client of that firm. That facility is actually the largest bulk processing coffee center in the world. In addition to that we have six roasteries in a 20-square-mile area, 14 warehouses and 5.5 million square ft of storage area."
From materials provided by Julia Steinberg of Hafen Hamburg Marketing, we learned that the Port of Hamburg, Germany is Europe's largest for coffee imports and has a central position in world coffee trade. It is the hub for shipments to Scandinavian markets and a gateway to Central and Eastern Europe, Austria and Switzerland. In 2004 the Port of Hamburg handled a total of 1.2 million tons of green coffee (56,000 containers). Import volumes were at 725,684 tons and exports at 486,503 tons. In 2005, volumes changed only slightly or not at all (1.2% plus during the first three quarters compared to the corresponding period in 2004).
Hamburg argues that the attractiveness of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg for various coffee activities results from the long symbiosis between trade, transport and port.
The new plant of NKG Kala Hamburg (the former Kaffee-Lagerei N.H.L. Hinsch & Cons.) opened in Hamburg Wilhelmsburg, Hohe Schaar, recently. Today the Neumann Kaffee Gruppe (NKG) employs around 1,830 people in more than 40 operational enterprises and 25 countries. The Neumann Kaffee Gruppe (NKG) is engaged in cultivation and processing, exports and imports, specialities, services, refinement and consulting. Every seventh cup of coffee in consumer countries has been passed through the hands of NKG.
The new plant is a technologically sophisticated storage and processing center for raw coffee. In the center of a 68 meters tall building is a silo complex with a capacity for up to 35,000 tons of green coffee. Supported by the absorption plant, which extends over 10 floors, green coffee is being processed in a purely natural procedure to the customer's desired taste profiles.
Carlos Dealdecoa, president of Cadeco Industries and president of the Greater Houston Coffee Association, deals with The Port of Houston Authority to maximize coffee-port relations there. He said, "The idea behind the Association was to promote coffee growth in Houston. We joined forces with the port of Houston to show what Houston has to offer in terms of storage processing and distribution capability. Last year, the Port of Houston was the fastest growing exchange port for coffee, and we see continued growth in 2007. Dupuy opened a new warehousing facility in Houston this year. Cadeco operates a bulk silo operation here and we have three exchange warehouses. Certified stocks went up by about 200,000 bags in 2006. Association members and coffee companies in the area include Sarah Lee and Maxwell House, now operated by Maximus Coffee Group, the largest and most integrated coffee manufacturing plant in North America. There are decaffeination plants, soluble manufacturing and processing, roasting, grinding, retail and food service companies here as well. In Dallas we have Mother Parkers, a Canadian roaster and Eximius Coffee, which does roasting and ground packaging. We have Fresh Brew, in Sherman, Texas, Folgers and in Tyler, Texas, Distant Lands, a high quality, specialty coffee roaster. There has always been good roaster representation here and we need a very strong coffee port. The port is strong and delivers well for its coffee clients."
The Port of Oakland, California, oversees the Oakland seaport, Oakland International Airport and 19 miles of waterfront. The Oakland seaport is the fourth busiest container port in the U.S. Hugo De La Roca, traffic manager at The Annex, the largest coffee warehouse in the East Bay said, "Coffee is one of the main imports in Oakland, We go back about 30 years and we have the PCCA (Pacific Coast Coffee Association), which just celebrated their 75th anniversary. All the coffee companies here get together at the PCCA and we go to the Port together and ask for their help when we need things to change. The PCCA has a transportation representive and an overseas trade representive as well as other positions. There are three warehouses here, The Annex stores about a million bags of coffee and there's also East Bay Logistics and Transfreight."
Libby Schaaf, of the Port of Oakland, said that the port has not been doing commodity specific tracking and that more coffee is now going into the Port of San Francisco. The reason being that coffee is subject to a more stringent customs inspection that San Francisco is better equipped for and they have a more favorable policy for free storage on docks. This was unfortunately not verifiable at press time as Peter Dailey, the deputy director of maritime at the Port of San Francisco said, "The Port of San Francisco has no container business and currently has no coffee imports."
From materials provided by Tie Schellekens, of the port's media department, we learned that the Port of Rotterdam is the European market leader; the biggest container port with a yearly through put of 10 million TEU's. The total Port Throughput for 2006 was 378,185,000 metric tons. From their website: "Rotterdam is one of the most important cargo junctions in the world. The central situation of the port allows for short transit times to most destinations all over the world. Rotterdam is directly connected to the North Sea--the most heavily navigated sea in the world--and a European hinterland that comprises about 400 million consumers. Each year, 30,000 seagoing vessels and 130,000 inland navigation vessels call at the port of Rotterdam. The port of Rotterdam covers an area of 40 kms: from the center of the city to the Maasvlakte along the Nieuwe Waterweg canal."
From research provided by Max Marbut at the Financial News and Daily Record and Statistics directly from JAXPORT, a clear picture of the historic Port of Jacksonville (JAXPORT), Florida, was painted.
For nearly 100 years, the Port of Jacksonville has been a center of commerce for the importation, processing, roasting and distribution of coffee. About 41,463 metric tons of coffee beans and coffee products moved through the port in 2006. Kraft Foods and Maxwell House imported more than 30,000 metric tons and over 5,000 TEU's of coffee travel though the Port annually. The plant has enormously efficient processing and packaging capabilities capable of turning a container of green coffee into stacks of vacuum-packed roasted, ground and palletized finished product in a matter of hours. Maxwell House has been roasting coffee at the port for 97 years and has a coffee-processing Silo near the port as well.
A smoothly run port is essential to an efficient and profitable coffee industry. Coffee is a perishable product, especially when it is sitting in a container on a vessel waiting for a berth in the middle of summer. In a business where margins are, at best, slim, it is essential that coffee be imported with as few delays and missteps as possible. Good port facilities management can make all the difference.
Pacific Coast Coffee Association
49 Quail Court, Suite 208,
Walnut Creek, California 94595,
Tel: +1 (925) 944-BEAN (2326)
Port of Hamburg
Hafen Hamburg Marketing e. V.
Tel: +49 (0) 40 37709-112
Port of Houston Authority
president of Cadeco Industries and president of the Greater Houston Coffee Association
Tel: +1 (713) 670-2400
Port of Jacksonville (JAXPORT)
Statistics provided by Corporate
Communications & Public Relations of
Tel: +1 (904) 357-3012
Port of Miami
Tel: +1 (305) 347-4951
Port of New Orleans
Tel: +1 (504) 528-3234
New York & New Jersey Port Authority
Tel: +1 (212) 435-7777
The Port of Oakland
Tel: +1 (510) 627-1100
director of public affairs
Tel: +1(510) 627-1452
Port of Rotterdam
Tel: +31 (0) 10-25211 11
Port of San Francisco
Deputy Director, Maritime
Tel: (415) 274-0517