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Here’s the beef — shipper delivers the goods at last

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A refrigerated container from Ekko Shipping in a warehouse at Hunts Food and Supplies (Photograph by Jonathan Bell)

An under-fire shipping agent whose discount meat deliveries failed to materialise on time has announced that a consignment had arrived on the island.

Kevin Simmons, of Ekko Trading Bermuda in New York, who had faced a barrage of criticism from disappointed customers, earlier took to Facebook in a last-minute plea for patience.

Nelson Hunt, a businessman, said that a refrigerated shipment of meat had just been released by customs officials and delivered to his warehouse at Khyber Pass in Warwick.

Mr Hunt said that the arrangement to use his warehouse was “a one-off thing” to help out Mr Simmons.

He added: “You know how it is getting stuff sent to Bermuda — you have to jump through a lot of hoops.

“The container had to wait.

“I don’t know when it arrived in Bermuda but I know it’s been in Customs a while and they couldn’t get it released.”

Mr Simmons was accused by several customers last week of a failure to follow through after he accepted cash for substantial orders of meat, some close to $350.

Some of the orders dated back to October and customers said that they had become frustrated after Mr Simmons failed to answer calls or e-mails.

Mr Hunt said that he had agreed to accept the shipment and hold it at his Hunt’s Food & Supplies in the hope that people could get their orders before Christmas.

Two of Mr Simmons’ customers were collecting deliveries yesterday when The Royal Gazette called at the warehouse at 4pm.

An associate of Mr Simmons, who said he was working as a volunteer and declined to be identified, said that he was helping customers with their orders.

The man added: “If anyone has saved Christmas, it’s Mr Hunt.

“He has come up with this facility and handled the logistics. We’re here assisting Kevin.”

We have the meat: Delbert Hunt, of Hunt’s Food & Supplies, opens a refrigerated container of meat that arrived just in time for Christmas (Photograph by Jonathan Bell)

Mr Simmons last week blamed problems with suppliers as well as shipping and apologised to customers.

He insisted that the business was legitimate and promised that the shipment would land on the island over the weekend.

Mr Simmons runs East Coast Exports as well as Ekko and both companies deliver to Bermuda.

He wrote on Facebook yesterday: “Our shipment has finally been released from Customs.”

He said that back orders of ham and turkeys would be dealt with first and asked people picking up orders to bring proof of purchase.

Mr Simmons added that a delivery of toys had been “held up at the local courier company for the last eight weeks” but had also been released.

He said: “I do apologise to the Bermuda public for any inconveniences and we will strive to do better in the upcoming New Year.”

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