(March 9, 12:40 p.m.) Port Everglades has established and expanded its ability to receive shipments directly from Brazil at its Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., port, a move that could bring more fresh produce in from South American countries.

In mid-February, a South American shipping service began offering routes directly from Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Valparaiso, Chile-based Compania SudAmericana de Vapores S.A. (Transatlantic Chilean Line), and Libra, its Brazilian shipping line, are working with four other shipping services to offer direct shipping.

The service’s east coast Brazil locations give them more access to exporters from many key South American countries for fresh produce, including Chile, Peru and Argentina, said Carlos Buqueras, director of business development for Port Everglades.

“Any of the services that often bring product from Chile, Peru Argentina or Brazil, they all market their services to produce distributors and try to carry refrigerated containers,” Buqueras said. “Produce and refrigerated containers are very profitable to a steamship because they pay more than a regular box.”

Buqueras said Port Everglades’ location is especially strategic for produce distributors because of the cruise ship business.

“There are more than 4 million cruise passengers per year, between here and Miami, and they feed you extremely well on a cruise ship,” Buqueras said. “They need fruits and vegetables like there’s no tomorrow.”

Two months ago, Buqueras said, Miami-based Bringer Corp.’s Bringer Lines opened a direct service between Port Everglades and Manaus, Brazil. That service will focus on mechanical parts delivery, he said.