Representatives from the Port of Philadelphia and shipping company Hamburg Süd, along with the Argentinian ambassador to the United States, gathered at the Packer Avenue Marine Terminal to commemorate the first shipment of Argentinian beef into the United States in 17 years.
“What ultimately this means is jobs, and Argentina needs those jobs,” said Argentinian Ambassador Fernando Oris de Roa. “We are delighted to have the first of hopefully many containers coming here.”
The shipment included several tons of Argentinian lean beef, which is primarily used for grinding into hamburgers and other food products, according to a press release. The beef arrived in Philadelphia on a Hamburg Süd vessel called the M/V Rio Barrow, which departed from Buenos Aires, Argentina before making stops in Brazil and then heading north for the United States.
According to Sean Mahoney, director of marketing for PhilaPort, Argentinian beef was barred from entering the United States for the past 17 years, partly because of USDA protocols that hadn’t been met.
“It just took a number of years to meet the protocol again,” he said. “So we met the USDA protocol as far as safety, and now it’s allowed back into the country.”
Mahoney also said that there was a time when Argentina banned the export of beef in an effort to keep beef prices low for Argentinian consumers, which also contributed to the lack of beef trade between the two countries.
“There’s been layers of issues,” Mahoney said.
The shipment marks the first time Argentinian beef was allowed import into the US since 2001.
Philadelphia is the largest port for imported beef in the United States by volume. PhilaPort and Holt Logistics have supported the efforts of the Argentinian Agricultural Ministry in getting the necessary approvals from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to begin import of bovine meat products. In total, Argentina expects to export about 20,000 tons of beef products into the U.S. every year. This equates to approximately 160 million quarter-pound hamburger patties, or 80 million 8-ounce steaks.