Del Monte Fresh Produce has signed a five-year extension of its lease with the Port of Hueneme, Calif.
Since its operations at the port began in 1979, Del Monte’s volume there has gone from 100,000 boxes of fresh produce for the regional market to more than 325,000. The company handles fresh bananas, pineapple, honeydew and cantaloupe at the port.
“We’re very happy with the continuation of our presence on the West Coast,” Del Monte port manager Chuck Caulkins said in a news release. “The Port has been a valuable partner in helping us stay competitive in an increasingly regulated business environment.”
The extension applies to a 1995 agreement between Del Monte and the Port of Hueneme. The agreement was announced shortly after the port held its second annual banana festival Sept. 28.
“Del Monte is one of the event’s top banana sponsors supporting the event, contributing $5,000 and providing thousands of bananas,” port chief executive officer and executive director Kristin Decas said in the release.
When Del Monte arrived at the port in 1979, there were no refrigerated facilities and bananas were unloaded box-by-box on an elevated conveyor connected to the ship. Longshoremen put the 40-pound boxes on a staged pallet by the wharf.
In 1988, pre-palletized boxes made it possible to offload directly.
In 1995, the port built a 30,000-square foot refrigerated facility for Del Monte with a capacity of 2,500 pallets. A 56,000-square foot expansion was added in 2005, creating capacity for other fruit varieties.