We are often asked if we are agents or brokers. Surprisingly, we are neither. Agents and brokers sell on behalf of domestic food manufacturers or importers. Agents and brokers do not take legal possession of the goods. We are merchants, we take legal title of the goods as soon as they are loaded on the vessel at origin.
What does an importer like iTi do for you? Among others:
- We anticipate crop fluctuations due to weather, pest, and other variables and take positions accordingly.
- We finance from the moment the goods are loaded on the vessel and offer most of our customers 30 days payment terms starting only from the moment they pick it up at the warehouse in the USA, thus bridging often more than 60-90 days of financing.
- We arrange transport from Asia and South America to the USA.
- We maintain warehouse inventory throughout the USA.
- We travel continuously throughout the world to meet with farmers and processors allowing us to maintain strong bonds with the people who farm and process the products.
- We liaise with FDA, DEA, and Homeland Security, which in recent years, has added a new level of complexity to importing.
- We are a C-TPAT certified importer. C-TPAT stands for Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism and is a voluntary supply chain security program.
In short, we take the hassle away from our customers. We purchase, ship, insure, import, clear, and warehouse the goods. In January alone, we already have made trips to Ecuador, Indonesia, Thailand, and Malaysia to review crops and meet with local processors.
In addition to the typical tasks of an importer, iTi Tropicals provides some unique services. We have a staff for Quality Control and Scientific Research and we have R&D Technologists on staff to help you with product formulation concepts. We realize that some of the types of fruits we sell are extremely exotic and often, our customers request some assistance with ideas on how to utilize them in products from salad dressing, smoothies, sorbets and ice cream to fruit juice, sauces and soups. We can provide samples, not only of our ingredients, but when needed, samples of applications. We also have the ability to present seminars/demonstrations to educate customers about our products.
We look forward to working with and for you!
Gert van Manen
iTi Tropicals, Inc.