Fresh Del Monte, Port Freeport Sign Lease Agreement to Start Next Year
The global producer and shipper will start to make weekly calls at Port Freeport in 2024.
Terminal operations at Velasco Terminal at Port Freeport. Photo courtesy of Port Freeport.
Port Freeport has announced execution of a lease agreement to commence in 2024 with Fresh Del Monte Produce Inc. (“Del Monte”), one of the world’s leading producers, distributors, and marketers of fresh and fresh-cut fruits and vegetables, with products sold in more than 80 countries around the world. The company also owns Network Shipping, its third-party ocean logistics arms that carries goods between the Americas. Del Monte ships will offer weekly calls to Port Freeport to import bananas, pineapples, and plantains, serving a large portion of the Texas market and beyond.
“Port Freeport Commission expresses thanks to the Del Monte and port teams who have worked diligently in making this partnership materialize. This partnership will create positive economic impacts for our district,” said Port Commissioner Chairman Ravi Singhania. “Del Monte will be a great addition to our community with their commitment to the environment and their goal of working towards a sustainable future.”
Del Monte will relocate its western U.S. Gulf operation to Port Freeport in 2024 after the completion of modifications to Velasco Container Terminal by adding more than 500 refrigerated container (“reefer”) plugs. Del Monte also has marine operations in the following U.S. ports: Port Hueneme, California; Port Manatee, Florida; and Gloucester, Pennsylvania. After the relocation, Port Freeport will be the only U.S. port with the “big three” multinational green fruit importers at the same terminal.
“We look forward to beginning a new relationship with Port Freeport as Del Monte and as Network Shipping,” said Sebastian Montero, vice president of Network Shipping. “Moving our U.S. Gulf service to Port Freeport will enable us to optimize both our trade lane capacity and our logistics and supply chain services that offer Network Shipping’s non-Del Monte cargo customers a 3PL and an end-to-end solution.”
Del Monte will deploy newly constructed fully cellular vessels to Port Freeport. The vessels in the service are designed with a carrying capacity of 634 reefer units. In 2020 and 2021, Del Monte launched six fuel-efficient vessels with the latest emission reduction technology in order to reduce emissions from vessel shipping and achieve the company’s 2030 sustainability goals. Del Monte was one of the first large-scale banana companies to receive SCS Carbon Neutral Certification for banana operations in Costa Rica.
“The recent completion of the 927-foot Berth 8 at Velasco Container Terminal and the new Gate 12 Entrance project being built to provide efficient terminal access will give Del Monte the first-class infrastructure needed to support their vessel and terminal operations and goals,” said Phyllis Saathoff, Port Freeport Executive Director/CEO. “We are excited to welcome Del Monte to Port Freeport and look forward to the commencement of their operations next year.”