Chiquita considers move from Gulfport

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News,Business,Mississippi

GULFPORT, Miss. (AP) — Chiquita Brands International is scheduled to let state port officials know by Friday whether the company plans to leave Gulfport.

Chiquita, which is merging with Irish fruit company Fyffe's, has a lease at the port that expires in July.

Three tenants, including Chiquita, employ a majority of the longshoremen who work at the port. Chiquita also employs tugs and ship pilots to escort its vessel, the Eurus London, through the ship channel during a weekly port call.

On Monday, Mario Pacheco, Chiquita senior vice president of global logistics, told The Sun Herald (http://bit.ly/1lrCE0J) the company is not "contemplating altering other port calls within our North American service profile at this time."

Pacheco confirmed he wrote a letter to Chiquita customers in April in which he said Gulfport and other nearby ports are being evaluated for "efficiency and effectiveness" as part of an investment in fleet modernization, along with expansion and updating of its hub at Puerto Barrios, Guatemala.

"If we are required to change our port call, we can assure you that any changes will be required to enhance our service, efficiency and value to our customers," Pacheco said in the letter.

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Information from: The Sun Herald, http://www.sunherald.com

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