Star Cool containers have delivered bananas to U.S. ports, and a new service uses them for Europe-bound fruit. ( Courtesy Chiquita )

Chiquita Brands International, Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., has a new dedicated container service from Central America to Europe for bananas.

The service now operates five full-container vessels for bananas on its way to Vlissingen port in The Netherlands, allowing Chiquita to serve all Northern European destinations with fast transit times, according to a news release.

The investment in the new service uses efficient Star Cool containers, resulting in fresher bananas with a longer shelf life, according to the release. The containers use software that control their atmosphere, reducing CO2 use. Each container is 50% more energy efficient than older models.

Star Cool containers are used to transport Chiquita bananas to ports at Everglades, Fla., Freeport, Texas, Wilmington, Del., Gulfport Miss., and Hueneme, Calif., according to Jamie Postell, Chiquita’s director of sales for North America. Two hundred of the containers were added in the U.S. in January 2018 alone, Postell said.

The new service expands their use to bananas sent to Europe.

The new service to The Netherlands is helping reduce fruit handling at ports and an increased stowage capacity of 12.5%, due to more efficient storage. More bananas can be moved each trip, according to the release.

“Looking back over these past years work with the container fleet upgrade, we can proudly say we have achieved something remarkable,” Carolos Lopez Flores, global president of Chiquita, said in the release. “We’ve saved an unprecedented amount of energy – the equivalent of the CO2 emitted by 3,000 cars per year.”