Chiquita Brands (NYSE:CQB) and the Diamond State Port Corporation (DSPC) reached an agreement recently by which Chiquita will continue to use the Port of Wilmington DE as its mid-Atlantic distribution hub for the next five years.
This agreement includes two five-year lease renewal options that 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 about 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.”
“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.”
Chiquita Brands is an international marketer and distributor of food products—from bananas, blends of green salads, other fruits, to healthy snacking products. The company markets its products under the Chiquita and Fresh Express brands and other related trademarks.
With annual revenues of more than $3 billion, Chiquita employs around 20,000 people and has operations in about 70 nations. For more information, access www.chiquita.com/.
Founded in 1923, the Port of Wilmington is a full-service mid-Atlantic seaport at the confluence of the Christina and Delaware rivers serving more than 200 million North American consumers. Operating one of the largest on-dock cold storage complexes in North America, the port is owned and operated by the DSPC, a corporation of the state of Delaware.