Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Del Monte, Port of Hueneme Extend Lease

Port of Hueneme and Del Monte officials have agreed to a five-year lease extension that, if completed, would give the food company nearly 40 years of residency at the port.

“The port has been a valuable partner in helping us stay competitive in an increasingly regulated business environment,” Del Monte’s port manager, Chuck Caulkins, said. “This contract modification extending our 1995 agreement includes one more five year extension.”

Del Monte arrived at the port in 1979, back when no refrigerated facilities were on hand and bananas had to be unloaded box-by-box utilizing an elevated conveyor system connecting directly into the side of the ship.

In 1995, the port built for Del Monte a 30,000 square foot refrigerated facility capable of maintaining up to 2,500 pallets of fruit at 57 degrees. In January 2005, the port completed a 56,000 square foot expansion of the original refrigerated facility, which has allowed Del Monte to better accommodate more fresh produce such as pineapple, honeydew melon and cantaloupe.

“Thirty-four years represents a lifetime in the maritime community,” Harbor Board President Jason Hodge said. “We are proud that a world class customer like Del Monte choses the Port of Hueneme for their West Coast operations.”

From a weekly maximum of 100,000 boxes of fresh produce for the regional marketplace in 1979, Del Monte now routinely handles more than 325,000 boxes of fresh bananas, pineapple, honeydews and cantaloupe, according to the company.

“Del Monte is one of our best customers, a strong business partner and a friend to the port and the community,” Port CEO and Executive Director Kristin Decas said during an announcement of the lease extension.