As Port Manatee’s newest non-aggregate customer, Chiquita will begin cargo delivery of their bananas to Port Manatee on a bi-weekly schedule. Previously, Chiquita Bananas arrived at local grocers by truck delivery after cargo delivery to Port Everglades.
During a Port Authority meeting recently, Port Manatee Executive Director Carlos Buqueras announced a new customer to Port Manatee – Chiquita.
After thanking the port authority and port staff for their support and efforts, Buqueras called the accomplishment a “big deal” citing the arrangement with a world-renowned customer, Chiquita Banana.
“These bananas can be delivered directly to your local supermarkets instead of being trucked for hours from other parts of Florida,” Buqueras explained.
The direct import to Port Manatee will not only spare the bananas a several-hour commute by truck for distribution to Manatee supermarkets but the import is also expected to cut back on pollution and fuel consumption previously expended for their highway delivery to the region.
The newly announced arrangement with Chiquita Banana comes after the October 2021 announcement that Port Manatee had reached an extended lease agreement with decades-long customer, Florida-based Del Monte unit in Coral Gables, through at least 2026.
Port Manatee reported a 53.3 percent year-over-year increase in the number of 20-foot-equivalent container units crossing its docks, reaching 135,660 twenty-foot equivalents (TEUs) in the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2021.
Chiquita is already chartering space on Del Monte vessels that are arriving at the port, and Chiquita Banana containers have already begun to move across the docks at Port Manatee.
Port Manatee is a county-owned deepwater seaport located in the eastern Gulf of Mexico at the entrance to Tampa Bay in northern Manatee County, Florida. It is one of Florida’s largest deepwater seaports and also regarded as the closest U.S. deepwater seaport to the Panama Canal. The port handles a variety of bulk, breakbulk, containerized, and heavy-lift project cargoes.
Port Manatee and Del Monte Fresh Produce N.A. have reached an agreement to keep the company’s fruit imports coming into the fast-growing seaport until at least 2026, with options through 2036.
“Continuing our decades-long partnership with Del Monte is good for Del Monte, good for Port Manatee and good for consumers throughout the U.S. Southeast who rely upon the efficient flow of bananas, pineapples, avocados and other much-in-demand fruits through the company’s regional distribution hub at our dynamic seaport,” said Reggie Bellamy, chairman of the Manatee County Port Authority, which approved the latest lease agreement at a meeting in October.
Under the agreement, the Coral Gables, Florida-based Del Monte unit, which has been importing fresh fruit into Port Manatee since 1989, agrees to continue to lease Port Manatee warehouse facilities through at least August 2026, with two extension options of five years each running through August 2036. The agreement is valued at more than $1 million per year.
“Del Monte has enjoyed a strong, mutually beneficial working relationship with Port Manatee for more than 32 years, and we are delighted to sustain this partnership well into the future,” said Denise Tuck, Del Monte’s Port Manatee-based port manager. “Expansion of the seaport’s dockside container yard facilitates our ability to maintain fluid operations bringing in produce from Central America on our fleet of energy-efficient containerships for many years to come.”
Port Manatee is on schedule to complete by yearend expansion of the paved container yard adjoining the seaport’s Berth 12 and 14 docks, more than doubling the facility to 21.9 acres. Meanwhile, Del Monte this year has completed its transition to a fleet of state-of-industry refrigerated containerships featuring fuel-efficient hull design, emissions-reducing scrubber systems, connections to operate onshore power when at berth, and the latest in preventive maintenance technologies.
Del Monte imports represent a significant contributor to the record flow of containerized cargo through Port Manatee, which just reported a 53.3 percent year-over-year increase in the number of 20-foot-equivalent container units crossing its docks, reaching 135,660 TEUs in the fiscal year ended Sept. 30.
The latest addition to Del Monte’s imports into Port Manatee is sustainably cultivated, trademarked Pinkglow pineapples, which join bananas, traditional pineapples, avocados, plantains, melons and mangos in moving across Port Manatee docks and through the company’s Southeast distribution center.
“Port Manatee could not be more thrilled to extend its longstanding collaboration with Del Monte,” said Carlos Buqueras, Port Manatee’s executive director of Manatee County’s dynamic seaport. “Over the past four decades, we have grown together in fulfilling market demands while boosting our region’s economy.”
Located “Where Tampa Bay Meets the Gulf of Mexico,” Port Manatee is the closest U.S. deepwater seaport to the expanded Panama Canal, with 10 40-foot-draft berths serving container, bulk, breakbulk, heavy-lift, project and general cargo customers. The self-sustaining port generates more than $3.9 billion in annual economic impacts while providing for more than 27,000 direct and indirect jobs, all without the benefit of local property tax support.
Containerized cargo business at Port Manatee in Palmetto, FL has rose at a record pace, in part due to fruit imports.
The port posted a 55 percent increase as the fiscal year ended in September, with an all-time high of 88,466 twenty-foot equivalent container units (TEUs). The previous fiscal year saw 57,239 TEUs, which was also a huge increase, at almost a 50 percent increase.
“With container throughput more than doubling over the course of just two years, Port Manatee is increasingly fulfilling regional consumer demands for goods ranging from fresh produce to appliances,” Carlos Buqueras, Port Manatee’s executive director, said in a news release. “As our dockside container yard expansion project advances toward mid-2021 completion, Port Manatee is positioning to continue to efficiently handle rapidly growing cargo volumes.”
The container yard expansion will nearly double the current 10-acre paved area.
The port’s container trade is being driven by growth of World Direct Shipping, which imports produce and other goods from Mexico since 2014, and Fresh Del Monte Produce Co., which has been importing fruit from Latin America for decades through the port.
Priscilla Whisenant Trace, chairwoman of the Manatee County Port Authority, said the port’s latest cargo cargo increases, happened as the port implemented enhanced health and safety measures because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We commend the men and women who are maintaining essential operations at Port Manatee, serving consumers of Southwest Florida and beyond,” she said in the release. “Sustained growth of Port Manatee’s container trade is a testament to success of our diverse strategy, with key infrastructure investments poised to facilitate even greater cargo activity and deliver still more positive socioeconomic impacts throughout our region.”
Port Manatee, Palmetto, FL., has received approval for an $8.3 million project that will nearly double the size of its dockside container yard.
The project, through a construction contract approved by the Manatee County Port Authority on July 28, will add 9.3 acres to the 10-acre paved facility adjoining the port’s berth 12 and 14 docks, according to a news release.
“Expansion of the dockside container yard to encompass 19.3 acres not only will accommodate dynamic demand from such longtime users as Port Manatee-based World Direct Shipping and Del Monte Fresh Produce Co., but also will literally and figuratively pave the way for further global commerce opportunities at our flourishing seaport,” Carlos Buqueras, the port’s executive director, said in the release. “The expansion project is a cornerstone of the two-year, $38 million capital enhancement initiative under way at Port Manatee.”
World Direct Shipping has imported produce and other goods from Mexico since 2014, and Del Monte is in its fourth decade at the facility, importing bananas, pineapples and avocados from Central and South America, according to the release.
The project includes installation of 150 electrical receptacles for plugging in refrigerated cargo containers, bringing the port’s total reefer plugs to 600.
“In these challenging times for our nation, Port Manatee continues to thrive as a vital economic engine for our region and beyond, serving as a preferred gateway for numerous key commodities,” Priscilla Whisenant Trace, chairwoman of the Manatee County Port Authority, said in the release.
A new facility that helps move imported fresh fruit quicker to retailers and foodservice operators has opened at Port Manatee, Palmetto, FL.
The transfer facility, which opened in early April, frees dock space by moving trailers to an area that can park 120 trailers, according to a news release. It optimizes capabilities for expedited cargo movement by freeing up room for up to 300 containers.
“The trailer transfer facility could not be coming online at a more encouraging time,” Carlos Buqueras, Port Manatee’s executive director, said in the release. “The enhanced efficiencies this new installation facilitates already are proving vital in best utilizing port acreage to accelerate shipments of imported fruits and vegetables to consumers.”
The 3.6-acre site cost $916,000. It serves shippers that include Del Monte Fresh Produce, which imports bananas, pineapples and avocados from Central and South America, and World Direct Shipping, which imports numerous perishables from Mexico.
“Strategic investments in infrastructure, such as this newest facility, are essential to Port Manatee’s ability to best serve its users and, moreover, the consumers of our region and beyond,” Priscilla Whisenant Trace, chairwoman of the Manatee County Port Authority said. “This is particularly important amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, as we maintain essential operations while steadfastly focused on safety and health.”
Increased shipments from Mexico with ocean carrier World Direct Shipping is coming to Port Manatee in Central Florida with addition of another weekly stop to the port. At the same time, damage estimates to Florida produce are coming from the state.
World Direct Shipping has announced the increase in service to the port by the company, which was first established in 2014. Ships depart from the north-central part of Veracruz, from Port Tuxpan, in a service starting January 12th.
“We couldn’t be happier with how the initial service has thrived, with our 2 ½-day transit time offering the fastest short-sea connection between Mexico and the U.S. Southeast, Northeast and Midwest for refrigerated produce and other cargos,” said Carlos Diaz, director of Palmetto, Fla.-based World Direct Shipping, in a news release.
The new service complements the other World Direct Shipping arrival at the port, starting from Coatzacoalcos, Diaz said. Tuxpan is the closest commercial port to Mexico City, providing for more opportunities for fruit exports.
The weekly schedules call for Friday departures and Monday arrivals for the new service. Currently, ships leave Coatzacoalcos on Saturday and arrive at Port Manatee on Tuesdays.
Florida vs. Hurricane Irma
While Florida isn’t exactly a mecca for produce loads during the fall and winter, there are going to be less opportunities than ever in the coming months as the state works to recover from the damages resulting from Hurricane Irma.
The early assessment of total damages to agricultural production in the state is $2.5 billion.
Over 420,000 acres of citrus production were hit, according to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
Losses were heaviest in Collier and Hendry counties, which estimated losses at $2,500 an acre for about 94,000 acres. Eleven other counties projected losses of $1,750 per acre for about 254,000 acres, and Polk and Martin counties estimated damages at $1,100 per acre for about 72,000 acres.
Many trees were just a few weeks from harvest when the storm hit.
Along with fruit loss and infrastructure damage, growers are worried over trees dying due to flooding, which is not included in this initial estimate.
Florida citrus sales still hover near $1 billion, despite the downturn in the last decade due to citrus greening disease.
Damage to the other fruit and vegetable crops in Florida, were found on over 163,000 acres.
Because the planting season was just beginning for most vegetables, the crop losses will result in shorter seasons, market distortions and lower yields because of the storm diluting the pesticides that had been applied to fields.
The ports of Manatee and Oakland are having record-setting years, with much of that success coming from produce imports.
Port of Manatee
The Port of Manatee’s container volume already has handled as volume in 10 has it has totaled in a record setting 12-month year..
The Florida-based port has moved 32,907 20-foot-equivalent (TEU) container units since October 1st, surpassing the full-year record of 30,431 TEUs, which was set in the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2010.
A news release from Port Manatee points out the record-setting container volume represents a 47 percent increase over the first 10 months of the preceding fiscal year.
The increase is primarily attributed to Del Monte Fresh Produce N.A. switching from breakbulk shipping to containers for imports of Central American pineapple and bananas, as well as to the success of World Direct’s weekly shipping service which transports refrigerated produce from Mexico.
“We are excited to have already set a new container record for Port Manatee and are further encouraged this favorable trend is anticipated to be sustained for a long time,” Carlos Buqueras, Port Manatee’s executive director, said in the release.
The port’s tonnage also increased in the first 10 months of its fiscal year, topping last fiscal year’s numbers by 17 percent.
Port of Oakland
A record for import cargo in July has been set by The Port of Oakland.
The port handled 84,835 loaded 20-foot import containers in July, which tops the previous record of 84,023 containers set in March 2015.
A press release from the California port shows import volume through the first seven months of the year was also up 3.7 percent over the same time last year.
Looking ahead, Port of Oakland leaders believey they foresee a five-year period of record cargo volume beginning in 2018.
That prediction comes from the recently released Strategic Maritime Roadmap. The roadmap forecasts a record volume of 2.4 million cargo containers in 2018.
The roadmap also predicts greater volumes arriving on larger ships driven by Northern California’s robust freight market along with new distribution and freight transfer centers. The document predicts ships will be 35 percent larger within 15 years.
“We’re serving a thriving area and developing new services for our customers,” Oakland’s maritime director John Driscoll said. “The combination should be positive for everyone who relies on the port for their business or their job.”
There’s been some adjustments in the shipping forecast for some Georgia produce shipments since a March freeze. Also, Port Manatee in Florida is looking to expand business with South America.
An update on Georgia produce shipments has been made after the USDA declare nearly two dozen counties a disaster as a result of a March freeze.
Georgia blueberry shipments will be 75 percent less this season. Loading are taking place and will continue through June. Georgia had originally estimated a total of 80 million pounds for the fresh and processed markets. 2016 blueberry shipments totaled a little over 70 million pounds, with about 45 million pounds going to the fresh market. Georgia’s record year of blueberry production was 96 million pounds total volume in 2014, 58 million pounds of which went to the fresh market.
Georgia peach shipments are starting any day now. While the original estimate for losses from the freeze were in the 40 to 50 percent range, the losses have now improved. Recently some growers was talking peach shipments should be down about 25 to 35 percent. Last year, Georgia shipped 43,000 tons of peaches.
There is good supply, quality and steady shipments of Vidalia onions occurring, averaging about 500 truck loads per week. Vidalia onions were the only Georgia produce crop not affected by that March freeze.
Vidalia onions – grossing about $2000 to Chicago.
Georgia green bean shipments have been underway since the first week of May and should continue through mid-July. Sweet corn is just getting underway, but good volume won’t occur until June and continuing through July Fourth. Georgia squash and zucchini loadings started a couple weeks early this season and will run through June.
Port Manatee, Palmetto, Fla., is planning to expand commercial ties with Colombia and Chile.
“We see significant opportunity for growing trade between our nation and Port Manatee,” Juan C. Barrera, general deputy director for the United States of ProColombia USA, said in a news release. “Both import and export opportunities exist for businesses in Manatee County and beyond, and we look forward to exploring these mutually beneficial possibilities,”
“We are enthused about fortifying the business relationship between Manatee County interests, including our port, and our counterparts in Colombia and are committed to growing such ties,” Carlos Buqueras, executive director of Port Manatee, said in the release.
“We have the largest dock side refrigerated facility in Florida,” Buqueras said. “We have such capacity, it’s a shame not to utilize it.”
A deal with Chile is still in negotiations, Buqueras said.
“It’ll start with test shipments,” he said. “That will give us the opportunity to make corrections or enhance speed to market,”
Produce currently represents 30% of Port Manatee’s import business, according to Buqueras. He said it is too early in negotiations to say how much produce imports would increase because of expanded ties.
Starting this month produce shipping company Del Monte will add container shipping vessels to its Port Manatee itinerary, it was announced recently by the port.
Arrivals of Del Monte container vessels will be “periodically in a controlled growth,” according to the port.
While Del Monte isn’t completely switching to containerized cargo, the company will use container vessels at Port Manatee about every three weeks. Container vessels can hold 350 containers, compared to 96 containers on a breakbulk ship, according to the port.
Breakbulk differs from containerized cargo because loose materials or products are loaded, shipped and unloaded individually. When it comes to container shipping, storage units are used to encase the cargo.
At a recent Manatee County Port Authority meeting, it was revealed the port is considering updating Port Manatee’s crane technology with the increase of containerized cargo.
The Port Authority also approved a recorded easement and installation agreement with Florida Power and Light to install a transformer in the port’s container yard. The transformer will power 124 new refrigerated plugs that are necessary for cold containerized cargo storage.
While the port does seek to boost its container volume in the upcoming year, Port Manatee doesn’t plan to stop accepting breakbulk shipments.
Port officials have expressed the need for the capability to handle both breakbulk and container. While Port Manatee can handle breakbulk, most ports in Florida are not ready to handle breakbulk for fruits and vegetables. Containerization allows the port to reach further because now you don’t have to break the cold chain.
About Port Manatee
Port Manatee is the closest U.S. deep water seaport to the Panama Canal, serving bulk, break bulk, container, heavy lift, project and general cargo customers. The port generates more than $2.3 billion in annual economic impact for the local community, while supporting more than 24,000 jobs, without the benefit of ad-valorem taxes.
PALMETTO, FL — Port Manatee will have Del Monte fruit as a tenant for up to 20 more years.
Del Monte Fresh Produce NA Inc., , has signed a lease extension through Aug. 30, 2021 with Florida’s Port Manatee.
The company has imported fruit through the port since 1989. Under the agreement Del Monte has options for three additional five-year extensions. If all options are exercised, Del Monte will be doing business at Port Manatee until at least 2036.
The lease agreement will continue to pay the port $108,000 a year.
“Extension of Port Manatee’s long-term partnership with Del Monte demonstrates the mutual commitment on the part of our port and a most-valued tenant,” said Betsy Benac, chairwoman of the Manatee County Port Authority, which OK’d the lease extension recently.
“We are very pleased to continue our relationship with Port Manatee,” said Brian Giuliani, Del Monte’s Port Manatee-based port manager. “The cooperation with Port Manatee is exceptional and has been vital to the growth of our business at Port Manatee.”
Since 1989, Del Monte, based in Coral Gables, FL, has moved 8.7 million short tons* of cargo through the port, and the company’s distribution center there has become the company’s second-largest U.S. facility.
One of the North America’s largest marketers and distributors of fresh produce and the world’s No. 1 marketer of fresh pineapple, Del Monte uses refrigerated ships to import bananas and pineapples from Central America weekly.
Export cargo on the Del Monte ships includes liner board that is used for packaging, as well as various third-party containers and project cargo.
Del Monte is one of the world’s leading producers, marketers and distributors of high-quality fresh and fresh-cut fruit and vegetables, as well as a leading producer and distributor of prepared fruit and vegetables, juices, beverages and healthy snacks in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and the countries formerly part of the Soviet Union.
*The short ton is a unit of weight equal to 2,000 pounds (907.18474 kg), that is most commonly used in the United States where it is known simply as the ton.