The Diamond State Port Corp. (DSPC) and Chiquita Brands have recently reached an agreement by which Chiquita will continue to use the Port of Wilmington as its mid-Atlantic distribution hub for the next five years. Also, this agreement includes two five-year lease renewal options which will extend Chiquita’s relationship with Wilmington until 2029. With the retention of Chiquita’s business the Port will continue to handle more bananas than any other port in North America.
In 1988, Chiquita consolidated its mid-Atlantic supply chain operations at the Port of Wilmington, now its largest port operation in North America. It leases 28.7 acres at the port and its vessels make approximately 52 port calls annually. Chiquita operates a fully containerized service between Central America and Wilmington discharging bananas, pineapples and other tropical fruit and vegetables, and loading back forest products, used automobiles and general cargo.
“We are extremely pleased that Chiquita has decided to sign a new lease with the port and continue our long and “fruitful” relationship,” said Gene Bailey, executive director of the DSPC. “Chiquita is a most important customer and responsible for hundreds of jobs and the resultant and significant economic impact to our port, state and region. We are grateful to the governor and the General Assembly for the support which has allowed us to make those capital equipment acquisitions and infrastructure improvements needed to retain Chiquita’s business despite a very competitive environment,” Bailey added.
“The Port of Wilmington is an important destination for Chiquita and our customers,” said Mario Pacheco, Chiquita’s senior vice president, global logistics. “We are pleased that we have reached an agreement that will enable us to continue to call Wilmington home for many years to come. Wilmington is a great partner for Chiquita and we look forward to growing our business together in the years ahead.”