Chiquita Returns to the Port of Gulfport
Chiquita Brands International returns to Gulfport after operating in New Orleans for the past two years. News 25’s Kendra Turley gives us an inside look at the arrival and expansion of the company’s return to the Port of Gulfport.
Employees watched proudly from ashore as the produce distributor Chiquita made its official return to Gulfport. The fruit company departed in 2014 for the Port of New Orleans after operating in Gulfport for 40 years. Port of Gulfport CEO Jonathan Daniels said, “We understood that there was a business decision that had to be made but we also never lost sight of the fact that we wanted them back. The door was always open.”
The new lease provides Chiquita the opportunity to operate at the Port of Gulfport through 2056. Chiquita Director of Operations Joop in ‘t Veen said, “I think that we have a very efficient operation here, good people here and we’re really looking forward to it.”
The company returned to its previous location in the north harbor and expanded operations into another terminal. “We’ve always had containers on site. A couple containers here, a couple of containers there and as well, they maintained their distribution and riping facility in North Gulfport,” said Daniels.
Chiquita’s arrival means the return of more than 80,000 longshoremen hours and many administrative positions in the City of Gulfport.
Officials say the return of the popular brand is not only a huge accomplishment for the port, but for the entire state of Mississippi. “When you look at our business development activities during the past few years, we’ve seen significant diversification. We’re in the oil and gas industry, the sub-sea component industry, we have manufacturing and production on site,” said Daniels.
Chiquita will sail into the port once a week as it did before. “We are happy to be back here with Gulfport. We fully rely on this port. I think this is a very good partner for our future. I think we did the right move to come back here. It’s just a great day,” said Joop in ‘t Veen.