The Story of Unwavering Commitment
“Amerijet,” begins Patricia Malebranche, “has always been unwavering in supporting Port-au-Prince. Always.”
Patricia would know. As the Export and Customer Service Manager of our General Sales Agent (GSA) Mesdhasa, she has first-hand knowledge of our history on the island nation with a population of a little over 11 million. (For comparison, the entire Miami metropolitan area numbers 6.1 million.)
“Amerijet continuously served Haiti through multiple natural disasters. Amerijet served Haiti through COVID and was, in fact, responsible for the transport of much of the vaccines.”
Amerijet’s first flight to PAP was on March 25, 1993. Today, the market is served biweekly with a B757 and a DC-8, although the schedule will be transitioning to two B757s offering 15 pallet positions and belly space of capacity in the fall.
As with many of Amerijet’s Caribbean markets, air cargo is the primary means of rapid connection to the United States mainland for perishable goods and shipments that must urgently be delivered. Freight going into Haiti include general cargo, oversized machinery, perishable food, medicines and raw materials and components supporting Haiti’s large garment manufacturing industry. A member country of the Caribbean Basin Initiative, garments manufactured in Haiti enter the United States for a reduced rate of duty based on the originating components and labor, an important selling point for companies seeking both speed to market and competitive pricing.
In addition to those garments, other exports rounding out our flights are a mix of general cargo, perishable agricultural commodities like mangoes, as well as fish and lobsters
The advantage air cargo offers shippers is the speed of customs clearance in Port-au-Prince. Most arriving commodities can be cleared the same or the next day. Patricia is a licensed customs broker and Mehdhasa can offer companies a single solution to both clear goods upon arrival and deliver them throughout Haiti.
“Working with Haitian Customs, we explained the importance of keeping high-value perishable goods moving,” Patricia says. This conversation led to the establishment of one of the first pre-clearance programs for perishable food and medicine in Haiti. This means immediately after arrival and unloading, cargo can be delivered.
Amerijet’s operating hours are 8am – 4pm, Monday through Friday, aligning with the hours of Haitian customs officers who work in the facility. Even though exports are generally not accepted on weekends, special accommodations can be made for commodities transported to the airport from factories out of town.
The Haitian community is very close-knit, and everyone knows everyone. A third-generation logistics professional whose grandfather started in ocean freight and whose father is in air freight, Patricia jokes that there aren’t many people that they don’t know, even if they’re new to the market.
Shippers in Haiti use Amerijet for a number of reasons. One of the two weekly flights is dedicated exclusively to Port-au-Prince. The timing of the flights allows perishable exports from Haiti to arrive in Miami for quick processing by U.S. authorities including CBP, FDA and USDA.
“Our customers know us, and we know our customers. We continuously communicate with our customers to remind them of peak shipping seasons, such as back-to-school shopping, Christmas, and carnival allowing them to book early and confirm the shipments,” Patricia reinforces. “By maintaining these close relationships year-round, Amerijet is the first name that comes to mind when it comes time for them to ship something by air. We’re grateful for the trust and we work hard every day to maintain their business, and we know that Amerijet continues to be humbled by the fierce loyalty of our Haitian customer base.”