Dole Food Company pens 15-year deal with Port of Wilmington -

Dole Food Company pens 15-year deal with Port of Wilmington

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Dole Food Company pens 15-year deal with Port of Wilmington

The recently privatized Dole Food Company has signed a 15-year lease to continue operating at the Port of Wilmington, in a move that is expected will positively impact hundreds of jobs and revenues for the Delaware economy. Delaware River small

Delaware Governor Jack Markell applauded Dole, as the port's largest customer, importing bananas, pineapples and other fruit, while exporting forest products and general cargo.

Dole is also the largest exporter of fruit from key Southern Hemisphere temperate fruit supplier Chile.

"The Port has been a vital hub of commerce in Delaware for nearly a century. Today it remains as important as ever thanks to customers like Dole, which connect our state to the global economy, provide jobs for hard-working Delawareans and ensure a dependable flow of revenue for our economy," Markell said.

Dole Fresh Fruit vice president and general manager of operations Stuart Jablon, highlighted that Dole was the first containerized banana company to import at the port.

"We have been at the Port of Wilmington for more than 30 years and this agreement with the Diamond State Port Corporation (DSPC) reaffirms our commitment to the people of Delaware, the longshoremen, our employees, vendors and customers," Jablon said.

"We are confident that this decision will help maintain Dole's position as a top brand in the very competitive North American fruit market and we look forward to enjoying a long and mutually supportive relationship with the port for many years to come."

A Delaware Economic Development Office release said Dole would lease 37.7 acres of terminal land and about 100,000 square feet of warehouse and office space.

The release added the company made approximately 52 vessel calls annually at the Port of Wilmington. As part of the deal, DSPC has committed to increasing the number of cranes and other upgrades to the Dole leasehold.

"The appropriation of the funding necessary to make these improvements is the result of a joint effort between the Markell administration, state legislators and the Port board," said DSPC chairman Alan Levin, who is also a director of the Delaware Economic Development Office.

"Dole’s shipments are of great value to the Port, and the DSPC is excited at the prospect of continuing this outstanding  relationship well into the future."

The lease also entails two 10-year extention option periods, which if used will extend Dole's operations in the terminal until 2048.

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