The Food Shippers of America Blog

Dole Expands Shipping Services for Produce

by Staff, on Jan 21, 2024 7:39:14 PM


Produce companies have expanded their container logistics capabilities after pandemic-related supply chain issues presented new challenges and opportunities. Specifically, Dole Food Co. launched a new shipping service through its marine transportation arm (Dole Ocean Cargo Express) to expand transportation options for mangoes, pineapples and other tropical fresh fruits coming from Central America to the United States.

Introducing Mayan Express Service

Dole Ocean Cargo Express recently announced the introduction of the Mayan Express Service between the Northeast United States and Columbia, Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador. The new service will expand ocean network coverage providing an additional alternative to North Central America to and from the Port of Wilmington, DE.

The service will deploy two 1,200 FEU container vessels, Robin-2 & Robin-5, with the following roundtrip voyage rotations:

Wilmington, DE – Saturday/Sunday
Santa Marta, CO – Friday/Saturday
Puerto Castilla, HN – Monday/Tuesday
Wilmington, DE – Saturday/Sunday

The service will be weekly with fixed day of the week arrivals and departures.

Dole Mayan Express Service Lanes

Equipment Types:

  • 40’ Standard and High Cube Reefer (operating and non-operating)
  • 40’ Dry Containers
  • Hazardous Cargo
  • Refrigerated Cargo
  • Autos

The new service began Dec. 22, 2023 ex Santa Marta, Columbia with the Northbound voyage 401 of the Robin-5. The first Southbound departure ex Wilmington, DE was Dec. 31, 2023 also aboard the Robin-5.

Additional Background on Dole Expanded Capabilities

Dole acquired two ships in 2021 at the height of the COVID pandemic challenges, and its cargo service provided a significant revenue boost in the two years following the pandemic. In addition, the fleet has enabled the fruit and vegetable processor to reduce its own supply chain costs and avoid ocean transportation delays experienced in Dole’s food chain.

However, as supply chain issues have improved and shipping costs have declined, there is weaker demand that is weighing on Dole’s bottom line. Decreased commercial cargo activity contributed to earnings declines in the fresh fruit division as reported by the company during its third quarter earnings report. Dole’s new Mayan Express service will provide produce shippers with increased sourcing options and expanded ocean network coverage, according to the announcement.

“Dole is excited to expand our service level into the Northeast, bringing even more fresh tropical fruit to market,” says Nelson Montoya, President of Dole Fresh Fruit North America. “Both existing and future Dole customers can be equally excited at this growth in our service as we continue our journey to make the world a healthier place.”

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