Grapes give Portsmouth port a boost

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FIRST there were bananas, and then there were oranges.

Now grapes have arrived in the UK, via Portsmouth International Port’s freight arm, MMD.

The company, which is owned by the City of Portsmouth, has taken delivery of the first in a series of shipments of Chilean grapes, all headed for supermarkets across the UK.

On March 8, 1,100 pallets and 12 containers of grapes left Valparaiso in Chile on board NYKCool’s ship the Ivory Girl.

After navigating up the Chilean coastline the refrigerated reefer crossed through the Panama Canal, before heading to Portsmouth.

The ship reached Portsmouth last week, and staff from MMD unloaded it and turned the vessel around within 24 hours.

The new arrival is the first of eight weekly shipments of grapes from Chile due to dock at Portsmouth International Port.

The service has been made possible by increased investment in new facilities, including the refurbishment of temperature-controlled warehouses.

Martin Putman, port manager, said: ‘It’s always exciting to get a long-distance visitor at the port, especially when it is carrying an important cargo we haven’t handled in bulk at Portsmouth before.

‘This new contract with NYKCool proves that investment in new facilities is allowing us to expand our horizons, taking new business from areas of the world that might not have been possible before.’

The grapes will be temporarily kept in stores four and 11 on Flathouse Quay, which are able to maintain the constant temperature of zero degrees the fruit requires before being distributed around the UK.

The refurbished stores, and a recently opened brand new warehouse, are just one reason MMD Ltd and Portsmouth international Port continue to be the first choice in the UK for leading global fruit growers and shippers.

Companies such as Del Monte and Fyffes have chosen the port because of its specialist facilities, flexible operations and excellent access to the nationwide distribution network.