Dole Fresh Fruit, a subsidiary of Dole Food Company, announced this week that it will include Port Tampa Bay in a new containerized service between Central America and the US Gulf in late July 2021.
The US Gulf Express will include a weekly direct call at Port Tampa Bay from Puerto Cortes and Puerto Castilla in Honduras, and Puerto Barrios, in Guatemala. In addition to Dole Fresh Fruit discharging bananas and pineapples at Port Tampa Bay, fixed weekly Full Container Load (FCL) containerized cargo service will be offered through Dole’s commercial cargo division, Dole Ocean Cargo Express, LLC, to/from Puerto Cortes, Honduras and to/from Puerto Barrios, Guatemala, with inland service to El Salvador. The new service will be called the Gulf Express Service and Tampa will be part of the new string calling ports in Honduras and Guatemala, and the U.S. ports of Gulfport, Mississippi and Freeport, Texas. Norton Lilly International will continue to represent Dole Ocean Cargo Express for the new service.
The service will operate with two new state-of-the-art vessels. Dole’s ships were built in 2021 to meet strict emission mandates to substantially reduce greenhouse gases and use the latest exhaust scrubbing technology, which reduces Sulphur oxide (SOx) emissions by 52 percent. With the propulsion and power plant engines all certified TIER III compliant, the ships achieve a nearly 66 percent reduction in Nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions per FEU carried.
Port Logistics Refrigerated Services (PLRS) will provide terminal and stevedoring for the service at Port Tampa Bay. The PLRS terminal facility includes a new state-of-the-art 135,000 square foot cold storage warehouse, 148 reefer plugs, and fumigation services, as well as an adjacent berth served by two dedicated mobile harbor cranes.
“Dole Ocean Cargo Express is extremely happy to announce the addition of the Tampa call to our Gulf Express Service,” said John Trummel, a vice president and general manager of Dole Ocean Cargo Express. “It provides another competitive avenue for refrigerated cargo, automobiles, general cargo and other like commodities to get to their markets faster and more competitively.”
“We are delighted to welcome Dole to the Port Tampa Bay family,” said Paul Anderson, the president and CEO of Port Tampa Bay. “This marks a major milestone in our strategic efforts to continue to diversify our cargo mix and expand our container volume, which is now our fastest-growing line of business. In addition, Dole shares Port Tampa Bay’s commitment to sustainability. We are so pleased they will bring two state-of-the-art vessels that reduce emissions and lessen their impact on the environment through our port.”
“We are thrilled to welcome the Dole Corporation. Our cold storage and port terminal operations facility is ideally positioned to serve the Tampa/Orlando I-4 corridor, which is Florida’s largest and fastest-growing market, and reaching well beyond. Our biggest advantage is our quick turnaround on loading and unloading ocean freight and trucks, all located in a favored logistics hub. This is a great achievement for Port Tampa Bay and the City of Tampa and we look forward to a long-term partnership with Dole,” said Dick Corbett of Port Logistics Refrigerated Services.
“Dole is a global leader in the production and delivery of fresh produce. Their decision to expand service to Tampa is another strong testament to the supply chain advantages that Port Tampa Bay can offer,” said Raul Alfonso, the executive VP and Chief Commercial Officer of Port Tampa Bay. “Our customers benefit from our strategic Central Florida location and the cost savings this provides for deliveries throughout the State, as well as taking advantage of attractive northbound backhaul trucking rates to reach markets in the Southeastern U.S. and beyond.”
Dole is the world’s largest producer of bananas and pineapples and an industry leader in packaged salads, fresh vegetables and diversified fruits.