Dole won’t be changing its East Coast ports anytime soon.
Dole Food Co. Inc. was seriously considering relocating from the Port of Wilmington to the Port of Paulsboro in New Jersey.
Since January, the Westlake Village, Calif.-based Dole was in negotiations with the South Jersey Port Corporation, which owns the Paulsboro port. It is scheduled to open in late 2015.
In mid-August, however, Dole, the largest tenant at the Wilmington, Del., port, and the Diamond State Port Corp., which owns the port, stated the two reached an agreement in principle to keep Dole using the port for 15 more years.
The agreement is subject to negotiation and approval by both parties’ boards of directors. If approved, it would govern Dole’s use of a 37.5-acre port facility for a 15-year term and would give Dole two options for 10-year lease extensions, according to a news release.
The agreement also includes the port’s capital improvement commitments to meet Dole’s needs, according to the release.
“From a business point of view, it made a lot of sense to stay at the Port of Wilmington,” said Bill Goldfield, Dole’s communications director. “The port has made commitments for capital improvements. We think that’s the right decision because it allows us to continue our level of service our customers have come to expect without any interruption.”
Dole has imported containers of bananas, pineapples and other tropical and vegetables at the port after it relocated from a Baltimore port in 1982.
About 52 vessels call on the port each year.