Governor Jack Markell will sign an agreement to keep Chilean fruit coming to the Port of Wilmington through mid-2014.
Chilean fruit coming to the Port of Wilmington generates $2.6 million in tax revenue for the state and the region, and is repsonsible for 650 jobs. That’s part of the reason Governor Markell will head to South America from August 8 through the 12.
During the trip, Markell will meet with leaders of Pacific Seaways, the company shipping fruit to Delaware. “Having an opportunity to extend this agreement with Pacific Seaways is certainly signficant to them, and it’s signficant to us. I believe that the Chilean fruit business specifically accounts for about 600 jobs at the Port of Wilmington,” Markell said. “Anything that we can do to maintain, to build upon and expand that relationship is something that is really important to us.”
Markell, who worked in Chile for about six months when he was in his 20’s, says he’ll also meet with other business and government leaders, in hopes of drumming up more business for the First State.
Markell made the announcement at the Port of Wilmington’s latest addition, rapid-cool chambers designed to slow the ripening process and extend the life of fruit being stored at the port. The four chambers will reduce the temperature of fruit from 40 degrees to between 32 and 34 within 3.5 hours. It’s part of the port’s 800,000 square feet of refrigerated warehouse capacity. That space gives the Port of Wilmington the largest on-terminal refrigerated facility in North America.