Chiquita to leave Port of Miami for Port Everglades
By Shannon Pettypiece
One of the world's largest produce companies, Chiquita Brands International, will shut down operations at Port of Miami and move to Port Everglades this fall.
The world's largest banana producer will lease 13.1 acres of port space and 37,044 square feet of office and warehouse space near the Broward County port for 10 years. The deal will generate $14.5 million in port and rental fees for Port Everglades.
After months of negotiations, Broward County commissioners on Tuesday approved the lease.
Chiquita spokesman Michael Mitchell said Tuesday that the Cincinnati company and its shipping arm, Great White Fleet, are moving because:
nA reorganization at the Port of Miami to give priority to cruise and passenger traffic would have moved Chiquita to a less-desirable part of the port.
nPort Everglades has better access to ground transportation.
nChiquita will be able to consolidate two warehouses in Miami and West Palm Beach into one less than a mile from Port Everglades.
He said the company won't cut jobs as a result of the move.
Great White Fleet, which ships the company's produce from Central America, told customers in the spring that increased security at the Port of Miami created shipping delays and added costs that would directly affect customers. Mr. Mitchell said the move is not related.
The Port of Miami was unable to give details on Chiquita's facility at the port, what impact its departure would have or what the port has done to try to retain Chiquita, said spokeswoman Trenae Floyd.
"We are always looking for additional business, whether it is cruise or cargo," said Ms. Floyd.
The Beacon Council, Miami-Dade County's economic-development agency, had several discussions with port officials about Chiquita's pending move, said spokeswoman Novia Lilly.
Chiquita has been in Miami for decades, Mr. Mitchell said. The company also has port operations in Delaware, Texas, Mississippi and California.