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Seafood by Air: Guidelines for Shipping Seafood to the U.S.

shipping seafood

Shipping fish perishables by air? Many fisheries and fish packing plants export fresh, frozen and live seafood from Central America, the Caribbean and South America coastal regions. Think farm-raised tilapia from Belize, lobsters from Haiti, or crabmeat from Venezuela and Mexico. Also, tuna and red snapper from Mexico, the Caribbean, Central and South America are among the many varieties commonly exported to the U.S. by air.

Miami International Airport (MIA) is a key U.S. port of entry for these seafood shipments for consumption in the U.S. and beyond. In fact, MIA handled more than one-half of all 318.5 tons of U.S. fish imports in 2014.

CAFTA-DR, the free trade agreement between the U.S., the Dominican Republic and the Central American countries of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, encourages the trade of fish and fish products. Many of these CAFTA-DR countries ship fresh and frozen seafood exports to the U.S. Combined, CAFTA-DR member countries are the sixteenth largest goods trading partner of the U.S. with $53 billion in total (two-way) goods traded during 2015.

Amerijet, a Miami-based all-cargo carrier providing service to and from Mexico, the Caribbean, Central America and South America, provides the following tips on shipping seafood by air.


The shipper must be aware of labeling, documentation and insurance requirements for both the country of origin, the country/region of destination and the air cargo carrier. Because regulations can change often, the best source of up-to-date information is a reliable importer/buyer, freight forwarder or air carrier that handles fish and seafood on a regular basis.

Cold Chain Capabilities

Proper handling prior to shipment plays a critical role in guaranteeing the arrival of the product in good condition. The supplier’s cold chain responsibility begins with proper packing at origin. Packaging procedures should be conducted in a quick and efficient manner to minimize temperature increases.

  • Prechill fresh seafood products prior to packing. Prechilling the container and other packaging material helps to maintain a low temperature during transit by preventing products from absorbing package heat.
  • Keep all fish products under refrigeration until delivery to the air cargo carrier.
  • If you are a supplier shipping temperature-controlled freight internationally, seek a partner or carrier who can ensure the perishable cargo remains at the proper appropriate temperature, during ground handling and also while in storage.

Amerijet and Seafood

Amerijet has over 40 years of experience in managing perishable shipments, offering documentation compliance assistance, cargo insurance, online and EDI booking. Our cold chain management capabilities include food-grade pre-cooling, cooling and freezer facilities for freight storage at all major transit points.

At MIA, Amerijet’s dedicated 210,000-square-foot Exports and 100,000-square-foot Imports air cargo handling facilities feature a custom-built 10,300 square-foot food-grade perishable handling center with multiple pre-cooling systems. Storage space is subdivided into climate-controlled chambers that include refrigerated, frozen and chilled storage to ensure the proper handling of perishables.

In addition to airport-to-airport service, Amerijet also provides LTL and FTL trucking service throughout the U.S. For more information visit https://www.amerijet.com.