First Legal Export from Cuba to U.S.

K Storm
file photo of K Storm

Published Jan 24, 2017 7:46 PM by The Maritime Executive

The first legal exports from Cuba to the U.S. in more than 50 years arrived at Port Everglades in Florida on Tuesday. 

The shipment of two containers, 40-ton, of artisanal charcoal, produced by private worker-owned cooperatives, is legal under a rule change by the former Obama administration which allows the import of some products produced by independent Cuban entrepreneurs.

The hardwood charcoal is likely to be used as fuel in pizza and bread ovens.

The shipment was delivered by Crowley’s container ship K Storm and marks the first truly commercial shipment from a Cuban cooperative to a private U.S. business since the U.S.-Cuba trade embargo was imposed more than 50 years ago.

U.S. President Donald Trump and Secretary of State-nominee Rex Tillerson have indicated that Obama’s executive orders on Cuba will be reviewed.

Crowley’s Cuba Service

Crowley launched its Cuba service in December 2001, becoming the first U.S. carrier to re-enter Cuba in nearly 40 years. The company has maintained a regularly scheduled service ever since, currently operating from Port Everglades.

The opportunity to participate in the trade was made possible by the Trade Sanctions Reform and Export Enhancement Act of 2000, and cooperation of the Cuban government. The act authorized OFAC to license the transport of agricultural commodities, medicine, medical devices or other products directly from the U.S. to Cuba. 

In addition to transporting frozen poultry and a variety of other foodstuffs to the island, Crowley has shipped equipment for major events and projects.