Wilmington port reaches tentative agreement to keep Dole

The Dole Food Company will continue importing its bananas, pineapples, and other fresh fruit to the Port of Wilmington, at least for the next 15 years.

After a bid from the new port at Paulsboro, N.J., had the potential to take Dole out of Delaware, the parties have reached an agreement to keep the company’s business at Wilmington’s port, where it’s been since 1982.

The agreement, announced Tuesday, is still subject to final negotiations and the approval of Dole’s and the Diamond State Port Corporation’s boards. The agreement governs Dole’s use of the port and includes commitments for capital improvements the port needs to make to meet Dole’s needs. It also gives Dole two options for 10-year extensions.

“Dole is a big part of our port family,” Gene Bailey, the DSPC’s executive director, said in a news release. “We are grateful for the support of the governor and the General Assembly, which has allowed us to make the capital improvements we need to make to keep Dole and remain competitive with ports on the Delaware River and throughout the region.”

Currently, Dole is the port’s largest customer, leasing 37.5 acres at the port and making approximately 52 vessel calls every year.

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